Who is the former Ajax star shining bright for Georgia at Euro 2024?

One of the feel-good stories of Euro2024 has been Georgia qualifying for the knockout stages on their tournament debut.


Georgia STUN Portugal for the biggest win in their history! 🤯 It’s utterly incredible scenes in Gelsenkirchen. It’s what dreams are made of. #EURO2024 #OptusSport

♬ original sound – Optus Sport

The Crusaders recorded a stunning 2-0 victory over Portugal on Wednesday night in gameweek 3 of the competition to seal their last-16 spot.

A key player with an Ajax connection

One of Georgia’s star performers at Euro2024 has been former Ajax forward Georges Mikautadze. The 23-year-old has scored three goals in as many appearances at the European Championships and is the competition’s top goalscorer.

He has thrived for his team on the international stage. His respectable goalscoring record of 13 goals in 28 appearances for Georgia is a testament to his talent.

Not only has he scored three goals in Germany this summer, but he also provided an assist for Napoli’s Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s early opener, which got the ball rolling for Georgia’s win against the Selecao.

A look at Mikautadze’s career so far

Despite playing for the Georgia national team, Mikautadze was born in Lyon, France, where he has played for much of his career. He had spells at FC Gerland, Saint-Priest, in his youth career before settling at Metz’s academy in 2016.

He featured heavily for Metz B before being promoted to the first-team in 2019. However, he wasn’t quite ready to be feature for Metz’s first team regularly.

The youngster then spent two years on loan at Belgian second-tier club Seraing, where he found his goalscoring touch, scoring 25 goals in 42 appearances over his temporary spell with the club.

In season 2022/23, Mikautadze caught the attention of many clubs, including Ajax, after scoring 23 goals in 37 appearances in Ligue 2 on his return to the Metz first team.

His goals not only helped Metz to promotion to Ligue One but also earned the forward the Ligue 2 Player of the Year award for the season 2022/23.

Earned a big move to Ajax

In the summer of 2023, Ajax swooped to sign the forward in a deal that was worth a reported fee of €16 million, potentially rising to €19 million with add-ons.

The forward signed a five-year deal with the Amsterdammers and followed in the footsteps of compatriots Georgi Kinkladze and, most notably, Shot Arveladze in playing for the club from the Netherlands capital.

Mikautadze looked like the typical Ajax signing. He was a talented young player who was picked up for a fee that wasn’t massive.

More often than not, these players would shine and then be sold on for a profit, which is how the Dutch giants have been successful both on and off the pitch in recent decades.

Unfortunately for the forward and Ajax, his move to Amsterdam didn’t quite work out. He failed to settle at the club and made just nine appearances in all competitions in the first half of the season, failing to score for the Dutch giants.

A move back to Metz

After struggling to settle at the Amsterdam club, Mikautadze re-joined former club Metz in the January 2024 transfer window. He was initially on a season-long loan deal, but the French club could make the move permanent for a reported fee in the region of €13 million.

At first, it seemed that the move had failed to help Mikautadze rediscover his goalscoring touch, as the forward didn’t score in his first five matches for Metz.

However, things turned around for Mikautadze as he scored ten goals in the next ten games for the French club. He ended the season with a highly respectable 14 goals in 22 appearances in all competitions for Metz.

Unfortunately, his goals were not enough to save his team from relegation back to the French second tier. They suffered defeat in a play-off against Saint-Etienne to return to Ligue 2 after just one season back in the top-flight.

However, unsurprisingly, considering his goal contribution in the second half of the season, Metz decided to make Mikautadze’s move permanent.

The forward’s goals in season 2022/23 had inspired his team to win promotion. In an ideal world, after being a hero for his national team, he would be looking to fire home the goals that help Metz quickly return to the top flight.

However, Mikautadze’s form at the French club at the end of last season and his displays for Georgia at Euro2024 have reportedly led to interest from the likes of Ligue One clubs Monaco, Lyon and Lens.

Metz may benefit financially from a quick sale, and the forward could be in line for a relatively big move for a second straight summer.

A case of what could have been

The case of Georges Mikautadze may have been the right man signing for a club at the wrong time. In truth, the 2023/24 season was a nightmare one in the Dutch capital.

The team experienced their worst campaign in decades. It wasn’t exactly the right environment where a relatively young forward could thrive.

For whatever reason, the move didn’t work out for the Georgian international. However, his form towards the end of last season and during the summer has illustrated his talent.

If he keeps shining on both the international stage this summer and the domestic front, everybody connected with Ajax will be left to wonder what might have been had he stayed at the club for longer.

Was Georges Mikautadze given enough time to prove himself at Ajax?