They have fought six preseason matches so far, and have won every single game. Yesterday they fought the only preseason match played in their home stadium Amsterdam ArenA against Celtic. The result was 4-0 while Ajax showed brilliant performance without the services of some influential players like Van der Wiel, Boerrigter, Sulejmani and Janssen.
Ajax has not been very active in the summer transfer market. They eventually sold former captain Jan Vertonghen to Tottenham, and some players also left the club (including Bulykin, Aissati, and my favorite player Lodeiro...). They have acquired three players so far; Lasse Shorne from NEC, Illan Boccara from PSG and Tobias Sana from IFK Goteborg. Heerenveen's Narsingh was their target, but he decided to go to PSV instead. AZ midfielder Adam Maher has told that he would take into consideration a move from AZ if Ajax showed a genuine interest. But this is not going to happen since there are too many attacking midfielders now, though it is obvious he is one of the most talented young players in Holland.
Ajax is going to play two matches against Premier League clubs. Here's a selection of players for their training camp in England.
Mickey van der Hart
Gregory van der WielToby Alderweireld
Ricardo van Rhijn
Joël VeltmanStefano DenswilMitchell Dijks
Siem de Jong
Davy KlaassenLasse Schöne
Strikers / Wingers:
Almost nobody is guaranteed a spot in the starting line-up, with some exceptions of captain Siem de Jong, goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer and playmaker Cristian Eriksen. Siem de Jong will play either as attacking midfielder or striker. Anita and Janssen will compete for holding midfielder spot, though I guess coach de Boer will choose Anita over Janssen considering Anita's performance last season. Eriksen's partner can be De Jong, Schone or Jansssen, while this season will be very important season for Serero and Klaassen, who will spend their second season at Ajax's top team, if they want to become a top-rated player (strictly speaking, this is going to be Klaassen's first season at the top team after graduating from the youth, though he has already made appearances for both the Eredivisie and the Champions League). Eyong Enoh and Mats Rits are also the ones at the first team though they are not participating in the training camp in England.
Toby Alderweireld will probably start. His partner will be either Blind or Denswil, if Van der Wiel leaves the club (then Van Rijn will be the right back). If Boilessen will be the first choice for the left back position if he is 100% fit, but Koppers and Dijks can also be options. In particular, Dijks has been showing good performance during these preseason matches.
If there's no injury concern, and if everybody stays at the club, you can easily choose one striker and two wingers; Sigthorsson in the spits (striker), with Sulejmani on the right and Boerrigter on the left. But this is uncertain because all of these three players had awful injury problems last season. Ebecilio and Ozbiliz can be reliable substitutions. Currently, it seems that Viktor Fiscer is also a candidate for the left wing. He can play as offensive midfielder, but he played as winger and won the man of the match at the friendly against Celtic There is no doubt that he will become a major player in Europe if everything goes well. Furthermore, Ajax has recently announced that they have reached an agreement with IFK Goteborg on the transfer of Tobias Sana. I've heard he is a good winger, though I've never watched him play. Probably Ajax will take another one or two players in the transfer market, while Sulejmani could leave the club this summer (I know this is just hype, but I've heard Arsenal is interested in signing him...)
|Danish allstars at Ajax!|
Janssen has even said that Ajax is not a title favorite due to the lack of experienced players. But Ajax is not the only one feeling anxiety about the next season. Luuk de Jong and Ola John have left Twente for their respective next steps. AZ's Rasmus Elm is about to leave the club for CSKA Moscow (where Japanese superstar Keisuke Honda is playing). PSV is doing good business in the market, having won the race for Narsingh and getting back Van Bommel, but whether they can really be a great team after that disastrous 2011-12 season remains to be seen.
So my guess is that the Eredivisie is going to be a roller-coaster season again. I hope Ajax wins their 32nd league title, but I also hope I can see the appearances of many young, talented players in the league as a whole.