Ajax are once again on course to top the Eredivisie table come the end of the season — but that doesn’t’ mean that the Dutch giants will get it their own way when it comes to keeping their star players.
A clutch of clubs is circling around the Sons of Gods hoping to cherry-pick the hottest talent within Erik ten Hag’s outfit and with the purse strings unable to stretch as far as some of the Euro powerhouses waiting in the wings, it is very much a fact of life that Ajax have had to get used to players’ heads being turned by big wages elsewhere.
Chief among these stars are, of course, gifted playmaker Hakim Ziyech — and it seems new Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta is a huge fan of the Moroccan ace and he could be the former Manchester City No.2’s first purchase since taking over at the helm at the Emirates Stadium.
Ajax are bracing themselves for the bid and have reportedly told the midfielder he can leave if suitors will stump up the £43million price tag slapped on the talented talisman. Arsenal’s North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur are, according to several national daily newspapers in England, also keen on recruiting the player.
One fly in the ointment regards a move to the Gunners in the Premier League is the form of reinvigorated Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil. His displays since Arteta took charge may convince the Spanish coach that he can use more wisely transfer funds in other areas, at the back for instance.
Another ace who looks to be on his way out of Ajax is midfielder Donny van de Beek, who is said to be of interest to struggling Manchester United. Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is said to be weighing up a January move for the schemer to boost his options as United bid to get back on track after a poor campaign to date.
Ajax may yield to the old Trafford giants’ pursuit of Holland ace Van de Beek, who is aged 22, after failing to qualify for the Champions’ League group stages. It is felt within the club that they can win the title without these two key players and with the money that they manage to bring in they can start plotting their path ahead of next season.
In terms of players coming in to the club, reports doing the rounds suggest that former Liverpool and Fulham attacker Ryan Babel could be joining but that Premier League outfit Newcastle are also keen on bringing in the player to the Magpies.
Babel, who is aged 33, is considered to be too good for life in the Turkish domestic league and that he still has bundles of talent and good physicality to be able to help the cause as Ajax look to see off the only realistic challenger to their title claim, coming in the shape of second-placed AZ Alkmaar.