Tottenham vs Ajax: How the Dutch side could have looked if they hadn’t sold Christian Eriksen, Frenkie De Jong, Luis Suarez and other players
A look through Ajax’s former players brings up a who’s who of football stars.
Christian Eriksen, Luis Suarez and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are just three names that jump out.
The Dutch giants have a top reputation for producing their own players and the evidence is there for all to see with many of Europe’s biggest sides either having, or had, a former Ajax player in their team.
Spurs have managed to sign four, with Jan Vertonghen, Eriksen, Toby Alderweireld, and Davinson Sanchez on their books.
But how would the side from Amsterdam look now if hey hadn’t sold their best players over the years? talkSPORT.com takes a look.
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Goalkeeper – Jasper Cillessen
After signing from NEC Nijmegen in 2011, the shot-stopper was eventually a first-team regular for three years in Amsterdam.
Blessed with ability on the ball, as well as with his hands, it was almost inevitable he walked the well-trodden path to Barcelona in 2016.
At Camp Nou he is second choice behind Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but gets plenty of action in cup matches and remains the Netherlands’ no.1.
Right-back – Kenny Tete
Frustrated by a lack of opportunities at Ajax, the full-back swapped the Netherlands for France when he joined Lyon in 2017.
He’s battling ex-Manchester United star Rafael and Leo Dubois for the role under Bruno Genesio but is the Dutch international side’s no.2 at the moment, although Hans Hateboer is pushing him hard.
Centre-back – Jan Vertonghen
Vertonghen was a firm fan favourite at Ajax, and has been adored by the Spurs faithful since arriving in 2012.
‘Super Jan’ has been in the Premier League for seven seasons now and has established himself as one of the best defenders in England.
Centre-back – Toby Alderweireld
Like Vertonghen, Alderweireld has proved to be a revelation for both Ajax and Spurs.
The Belgian duo have established a solid partnership in north London after doing the same in Amsterdam. Alderweireld and Vertonghen were immovable at the back where, in the 2009/10 season, Ajax conceded just four goals at home.
Alderweireld, 30, arrived in north London via Atletico Madrid and a loan spell at Southampton.
Left-back – Filipe Luis
You may not know it, but the Brazilian spent one season in Amsterdam playing a sum total of ZERO games for the club in the 2004/05 season.
He only got on the pitch for the club’s reserves but the ex-Chelsea star, who has had an impressive career in Spain with Atletico Madrid, credits Ajax with helping to develop his game.
Central midfield – Christian Eriksen
One of the bargains of the recent Premier League era.
The imperious playmaker made his name at Ajax, but he’s taken his game to the next level since arriving in north London for just £13million back in 2013.
The midfielder, who is out of contract in less than 18 months, is one of the club’s most influential players.
Central midfield – Frenkie de Jong
He may not have left just yet but the Dutch starlet has already sealed a £65.3m move to Barcelona, with the 21-year-old set to depart the Johan Cruyff Arena this summer.
De Jong is one of the most highly-regarded youngsters in the world, with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain both expressing an interest in signing him before the Catalan giants got a deal over the line.
The fee could rise to as high as £74m for De Jong.
Central midfield – Wesley Sneijder
Sneijder is now in the final chapter of his career over in Qatar, but what a career he has had, winning
Five years at Ajax, where he came through the academy in 2002, was followed by two years at Real Madrid. Sneijder was also on Galatasaray’s books as well as at Inter where he won the treble in 2010, which included the Champions League.
Striker – Luis Suarez
Now one of the greatest strikers in the world, he scored 111 goals in 159 appearances for Ajax before his big move to Liverpool in 2011.
The Uruguayan was adored by the Anfield faithful scoring 82 goals in 133 games for the Premier League giants before moving to Spain.
To date, Suarez has found the net on 176 occasions in just 244 matches in all competitions for Barcelona. Not bad Luis, not bad…
Striker – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
When Ajax signed Ibrahimovic from Malmo in 2001, they can’t have envisaged what an incredible player he was going to become.
Ibrahimovic, now 37 and on LA Galaxy’s books, has played for some of the best clubs in Europe after leaving Ajax in 2004.
He’s taken in spells with Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, and PSG – scoring goals galore for each of them – while winning plenty of titles along the way.
The veteran striker proved a big hit with Manchester United during his brief, but productive spell at the club during Jose Mourinho’s tenure.
Striker – Arkadiusz Milik
The Polish striker spent just two seasons in Amsterdam, one on loan and one during his brief permanent spell, but he certainly made his mark.
In all competitions he scored 47 goals in 75 appearances before Napoli came knocking in 2016 with a €35million deal being agreed.
He’s had hard luck with injuries recently, but this season Milik has struck 17 goals in 31 Serie A games under Carlo Ancelotti.
Source: SportsLatest TS