I have bad news for the Ajax supporters. Not only will Ajax not become national champion this year, they won’t become it next year either, and even about the year after that I have serious doubts. Why?
Ajax is the textbook example of a company that leans back smugly after a flourishing period, loses sight of the competition, lets its best people leave and settles for weak replacements. This to the astonishment of everyone who loves Ajax, such as the famous former celebrities. Marco van Basten mentioned in Rondo, Ziggo’s talk show, the purchasing policy “incredible”. He saw defenders, such as Wijndal, Bassey and Sanchez, “who do not want the ball”. Rafael van der Vaart was also “very disappointed”.
Especially poor Bassey, a diligent boy with limited abilities, is the target of scorn after he failed against the stronger Feyenoord: he seemed to prefer playing Feyenoord players over Ajax players and once tripped over his own legs so clumsily that it became a favorite video on the internet has become.
Ajax spent more than a hundred million euros in the summer of 2022 on players who were very disappointing. It was purchased in a period of power vacuum following the forced departure of director Marc Overmars. What then took place in shady practices at Ajax recently became exemplary in NRC described by Steven Verseput and Joris Kooiman. A controversial football agent, also manager of coach Ten Hag and player Tadic, arranged the transfers on his own. He himself will not be any worse off financially.
It could happen that 10 million was counted down for the mediocre Wijndal, 23 million for Bassey and 31 million for the heavily overestimated, because much too volatile Bergwijn, the most expensive purchase ever from Ajax. These players signed contracts for five years, which means that Ajax cannot get rid of them easily. With their million-dollar salaries, they continue to weigh heavily on the budget and can only be sold for much smaller amounts.
In short, Ajax will have to continue for years with most bad buys for financial reasons alone. Hence my assumption that it will not stop with this one bad season. This Ajax has too many weak spots to be able to play top football – no line is convincing. The only stars are usually Alvarez and Kudus, and they will leave next summer.
For example, one completely failed transfer summer could destroy the near future of Ajax. Who was technically responsible for it? It started with Marc Overmars, who meant a lot to Ajax, but became too proud of his own genitals and could therefore no longer be maintained. Then came the kind of chaos in which ambitious lightweights seize power.
One of them was the temporary technical manager Gerry Hamstra, who for a long time thought that coach Alfred Schreuder and his staff delivered “a great performance”. This week, only this week, Hamstra himself was pushed aside after Schreuder. Edwin van der Sar, general manager, may stay. “I think he is very firmly in his saddle,” said Piet Eringa, the new president of Ajax.
It seems to me mainly a new windfall for Feyenoord.
A version of this article also appeared in the newspaper of March 22, 2023