Ajax had a great season last year. They became champions after a very exciting season with 4 posssible contenders for the title. PSV, Feyenoord and Vitesse also have had some good papers at some stage in the competition. In the first part of the competition Ajax seems a bit unstable but the second part of the competition was very impressive. In the second part of the completion they only lost away against Vitesse(3-2). But after that loss Ajax kept winning, apart from some dodgy draws against smaller opponents. In fact Ajax did this also with very impressive football.
Last season a few players stood out. Tobias Sana, began the competition with some outstanding performances, but later on he was left out of the squad cause he was run-down. Kenneth Vermeer became a stable keeper and developed himself in to the first choice keeper of the Dutch national team. Daley Blind finally showed his real skills as many doubted him. His attacking abilities were never doubted but he was always very weak in defence. He became stronger and worked on his lack of defensive skills. Daley Blind rewarded himself with the Title of Ajax’s player of the year and also became Oranjes first left-back. Christian Eriksen had an average season, but at the end he reached his ability. Viktor Fischer finally made his breakthrough and scored some great goals and showed that he is a great player. Siem de Jong was very constant and was very important with his goals in absence of striker Sigthorsson. Striker Danny Hoesen showed in the games that he played that he is one to watch, he showed some great skills and also made some nice goals.
Cause of the hold off of transfers going out Ajax only get 2 real signings. Most striking name is surely Bojan Krkic. Bojan was always one of Barcelona’s greatest talents and described by some as ‘the new Messi’. Cause he not wanted to stay in the shadow of Messi he decided a couple of years ago to move to Italy. He first signed for AS Roma for 12 millon euro’s (Barcelona had a 13 million buy-back clausule) in sight of coach Luis Enrique, also a Barcelonian. Luis Enrique was fired by Roma and Bojan decided to join AC Milan in last season. He only made 19 apearances in a disappointing season. Barcelona still decided to buy Bojan back from Roma, but Bojan wanted more playing time. PSV and Feyenoord were also interested, but the strong friendship Bojan have with Johan Cruyff and the similar culture and style of play from Ajax made him decide to join Ajax. Ajax surely has a player now with the potential to be worldclass. Because Bojan already made his debut in 2006, you will almost forget that Bojan is still only 22 years old.
Other signing is Mike van der Hoorn, a central defender who came from FC Utrecht. Last season he was one of the strongholders from FC Utrecht, but was most striking cause some big mistakes he made. Because of his strong season, Netherlands U21 coach Cor Pot decided him to put him in the squad for the EURO U21 Championship in Israel, which he won’t wanted to be reminded off. He got some playing time in the game against Spain which Oranje lost with their B-team and vd Hoorn was not impressive. In the semi-final against Italy he replaced injured Stefan de Vrij but he made a big mistake in Italy’s goal. Van der Hoorn realized him this self also and was in tears after the game. Van der Hoorn is signed cause of Alderweireld might be leaving.
Ryan Babel, has decided to cash in Turkey. He needed this cause he decided last year to buy himself out of his contract with TSG Hoffenheim. Was last year mostly injured, but if he played a welcome addition.
Miralem Sulejmani: Ajax biggest signing ever (16 million) never paid back his transfer fee. He shined some times but never was the player Ajax had seen at Heerenveen. Last year he did not play anymore cause of injuries and de Boer thought he was not good enough. Benfica still thinks he can be the player he once was, and a great chance Benfica will be right. At Ajax he was used as a right winger. He glanced at Heerenveen as an striker with a free role.
Isaac Cuenca; Cuenca did not played much games due to injuries but showed that he is a good player. He also said that Ajax is a great club and that he thinks about returning in the future.
Captain Siem de Jong was linked with several clubs, but decided last week that he will stay at Ajax this season. Christian Eriksen, is linked with several clubs among Liverpool, Barcelona and Bayer Leverkusen. Leverkusen was very concrete but Eriksed refused them as he thinks Leverkuses ‘is not a bigger club than Ajax’. Expectation is Eriksen only will leave if a top 10 European club will sign him.
Toby Alderweireld wants to leave this season. Norwich City had a deal with Ajax, but Alderweireld refused the offer as he thinks he can play for a bigger club.
Ajax had a great pre-season which they crowned with a victory in the Johan Cruyff Schaal in extra time over cupwinners AZ Alkmaar.
Striking is that Ajax played at the last stage of pre-season two games at the same day. They devided the squad so all players could gain some match experience at the same times and everyone is recovered at the same time.
Ajax had a great performance against Werder Bremen which you can see the highlights in the Youtube video below. Second half Ajax played with a B-team.
Johan Cruyff Schaal (Dutch Super Cup)
In the first half Ajax was in control and very threatening with Bojan Krkic. HT score 0-0.In the second half Ajax was more sloppy and AZ scored 2 goals, after that Ajax made a comeback after a own goal and a shot from distance from Alderweireld. In extra time Siem de Jong scored the winner with a header.
Ajax will play in a 4-3-3 formation. The style of play can be compared to Barcelona's, althought Ajax shoots more from distance.
Most used subs:
Hoesen for Sigthorsson
Andersen for Fischer/Krkic
Poulsen for Schone
Van Rhijn (hamstring, 2-7 days), Boerrigter (ancle, 5-14 days)
Notes: Ajax Reserve team will join the Jupiler league, the second level in Holland. Jong Ajax can use players from the first team, unless they have made 15 appereances or more in the first team.
Ajax wants to add the fourth title in a row. Also Ajax have spoken out the ambition to get to 1/16 finals in the Champions League.