Champions League exit leaves Ajax vulnerable to departures
Ajax were dumped out of the Champions League on Tuesday night and that could see a few key men depart in January.
The Dutch giants reached the semi-finals of Europe’s elite tournament last season but this year they will have to settle for Europa League action for the second half of the campaign after a 1-0 loss at home to Valencia, coupled with Chelsea’s win over Lille, saw them finish third in Group H.
Ajax did lose Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt to Barcelona and Juventus respectively over the summer but managed to keep a few other stars, and they could now be targets for other clubs with no Champions League football on offer in Amsterdam.
Donny van de Beek
Midfielder Donny van de Beek was heavily tipped to exit during the previous transfer window but Ajax managed to keep hold.
The Netherlands international has enjoyed a productive season so far with seven goals in 18 games in all competitions and there may well be interest in the New Year.
The 22-year-old was linked with the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United over the summer. The two heavyweights are still on the hunt for midfield additions, and both Real and United could look to use Ajax’s European elimination to their advantages in the winter window.
Keeper Andre Onana came through the youth academy at Barcelona before heading to the Netherlands and has made no secret of his desire to return to Camp Nou one day.
The Catalan giants don’t particularly need to sign a shot-stopper in January though, and if Onana is to depart for the La Liga champions it could still be at the end of the campaign rather than in the mid-season window.
Brazil international forward David Neres has six goals in 20 games so far this season and was linked with Juventus over the summer. The 22-year-old, who spent time in the Ajax youth set-up before graduating to the senior side, could be back on the Italian champions’ radar going into the winter window now Ajax are out of the Champions League.
Hakim Ziyech nearly made the move to Sevilla in the summer but opted to stick with Ajax, deciding the Spanish side didn’t represent a step forward in his career. The 26-year-old may have a few more options in January and Premier League trio Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea have all been linked recently.