Ajax face up to ace defender Tagliafico switching to Chelsea or Barca

Ajax ace Nico Tagliafico is once again the subject of speculation surrounding his future at the Johan Cruijff ArenA. And while head coach Erik Ten Hag contemplates losing yet another key player from the Sons of the Gods, Chelsea boss Frank Lampard will be rubbing his hands with glee at the potential of recruiting a second player from the Amsterdam giants.

The Blues aren’t the only suitors, however. None other than Lionel Messi has gone on record to ask the board of directors at Barcelona to snap up his fellow countryman — but Chelsea, too, are said to be in the race.

One way or another, it isn’t great news for Ajax — the prospect of losing another talented player looms large. The summer could define Ten Hag’s transfer priorities as he looks to shape his squad ahead of next season’s campaign.

Ten Hag and his squad are currently in a mini-lockdown because of the coronavirus as Ajax and the rest of the Dutch nation await news of when football might return to the Eredivisie as the Covid-19 pandemic sweeps the globe.

The Premier League side have already lured Morocco winger Hakim Ziyech to Stamford Bridge in a deal worth in the region of around £38million. Now they are set to test the resolve of Ajax with a £25million bid for the Argentinian left-back, who is aged 27.

Tagliafico, who has earned 25 international caps for Argentina, delighted Ajax fans last summer when he confirmed his commitment to the cause for another season. At the time he said:

“I want to tell you that I will stay for one more season. Hopefully it will be a great year. Like it is this year.”

But with a contract that runs out in 2022 a year down the line, it may well suit both Tagliafico and Ajax to make the move. Arsenal were originally said to be keen on the services of the defender but the Gunners went out and splashed £25million last summer on Glasgow Celtic left-back Kieren Tierney.

Chelsea have more need for a defender on the left-hand side — with coach Lampard said to be ready to ease aside Cesar Azpilicueta from the berth. Tagliafico caught the eye of many a head coach when he starred in the amazing run in the Champions League last season. His talent alerted clubs then and that interest hasn’t waned seemingly.

Meanwhile, Ajax have confirmed that they have put on hold the celebrations that they had planned to mark the club’s 120th birthday. With the restrictions on gatherings imposed in light of the coronavirus issues, chief executive officer Edwin van Der Sar confirmed on the club’s official website that the plans were on ice.