Ajax’s summer took another step in how the squad will be reshaped ahead of next season’s campaign and if English great Charles Dickens were asked to sum up the latest dealings, he may well choose the title, A Tale of Two Transfers. On the one hand we have the very protracted saga of the outgoing Matthijs de Ligt, who has eventually put pen to paper on a deal with Italian giants Juventus said to be worth close to £70million; and on the other hand we have the rather more subdued announcement that Dusan Tadic has extended his contract with the Sons of the Gods.
Both are significant in terms of exactly how Ajax coach Erik ten Hag goes about his pre-season planning from here on in. To deal with De Light’s departure first we can see that despite losing a seriously talented 19-year-old defender, the Ajax chief can count on a chunk of transfer kitty cash to boost his squad whenever he feels the need to do so. To dwell any longer on an outgoing player, other than to wish him well alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Aaron Ramsey and Paulo Dybala of course, would certainly be redundant. For fans of the Amsterdam giants, at least. And this is why, arguably, the fact that Serbian attacking midfield ace Tadic, who is aged 30, has agreed on a contract extension is more significant.
The former Southampton star switched from the Premier League to the Eredivisie in June of last year and did so initially on a deal that would have seen him ply his trade with the Sons of the Gods until 2022 but he has renegotiated his contract with an extension of an extra year (plus he will then stay at the club in a coaching capacity). He has hit the back of the net in Ajax colours an astonishing 36 times in the 50 games he has played and when you have a goals-to-ratio record such as that, it isn’t difficult to see why Ajax wanted to tie him down to a longer stay.
So, you may ask, why is Tadic remaining at the club on a longer contract more important than De Ligt’s exit with the club coffers getting such a massive boost? Well, it can’t be argued that the latter’s protracted affair hasn’t been more newsworthy, because, let’s face it, it has. But, quite simply, the importance is in the intention. Tadic wants to stay at Ajax and fight the cause with all the effort, guile and instinct that he possesses. Sometimes, as fans and certainly as a manager, that is all you are asking for. So, that is a simple conclusion — but anything other than simple in the minds of those who doubt Ajax will win the title once more next season.