Ajax managed to earn the spotlights in European football after their outstanding season in the 2018/2019 campaign. That year, the knocked out Real Madrid through an exhibition at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium and the Juventus led by Cristiano Ronaldo, through a brilliant football that put Erik ten Hag on the list of the big fishes of the country just like Frenkie de Jong or Matthijs de Ligt, two of the main stars of that squad.
But we must take into account the history of this club, European champions three times and factory of legends such as Johan Cruyff, Marco Van Basten, Frank Rijkaard o Edwin van der Sar. What is currently going on with Ajax?
The truth is that the current situation inside the club could certainly be better. They have not qualified for the Champion League and have decided to fire John Heitinga for next season. Furthermore, club’s CEO Edwin van der Sar has quit.
However, their academy and scouting work keep making the difference, as Ajax still have very talented players in their squad.
There have already been interesting players recently in this team, such as Antony, Gravenberch or Lisandro Martínez, but all of them have left. However, there are still several players that will make an impact. The first of them is Jurrien Timber, a central defender that is not too tall but who is great at playing the ball from backwards and very fast.
As old school football fans tend to say, “a central defender must all in all defend and the rest is secondary”, and Jurrien is a great defender. His main default is that sometimes he lacks of strength in 50/50 and air balls, but he has tremendous conditions.
Another player with a great future ahead of him is Dutchman midfielder Kenneth Taylor, a very technical player and very talented to build the plays and shoot with his left foot. At the age of 21, he has been the natural replacement for Gravenberch in the team.
Mohamed Kudus is one of the most outstanding prospects of this team, who is acting as a right winger, but can also perform as a ‘playmaker’.
The 22 years old Ghanaian is a very completed player, has a powerful change of speed, a great playing read and the ability to score consistently. He is likely to leave this summer, as the Eredivisie might be too low for his level.
Apart from these three players, who are the most outstanding ones from the squad, Ajax have once again completed a great scouting work and show they have added several promising players.
One of them is Fancisco Conceicçao, a short winger but very talented at dribbling. He has not been given too much playing time in the first team up to this point, but he has great potential and this kind of players are not easy to find.
Another player that we must keep an eye on is Mika Godts, a 17 years old Belgian that has shown an outstanding level in the few minutes he has played so far. Godts is a very associative player and also good at dribbling to overcome his mark.
It is obvious that Edson Álvarez, Steven Bergwin and Dusan Tadić are the stars of this team, but in this article we are focusing on potential prospects. Furthermore, the exit of the Mexican to Borussia de Dortmund seems set to take place.
Another good news at Amsterdam is the rise of promising academy players, as the young central defender Hato, the polyvalent Youri Regeer or the full backs Youri Baas and Devine Rensch, who is currently the one that has played the most with the first team so far.
The club is not going through a great momentum at all and they are in search of a new captain for their program, but there are still difference maker players that are coming out of the Johan Cruyff Arena and so they are likely to to return to compete in the top European competition in the short term.
That is why we must pay attention to the development from these players, as many of them are expected to be important shortly.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.
Main image: @AFCAjax.