Football Features

This combined XI of ex-Ajax players is worth nearly 10x more than the current side

By Squawka News

Published: 17:07, 24 April 2019 | Updated: 22:25, 28 November 2022

Ajax’s journey to the Champions League semi-finals is summoning memories of the club’s glory days.

Erik Ten Hag’s team is full of youthful energy and huge potential. But sadly, even if they pull off an incredible trophy win in Europe, many of the current players are likely to move on. Frenkie de Jong has already sealed a summer move to Barelona, while Matthijs de Ligt is also expected to join one of the continent’s superpowers before the start of next season.

This has been the way of things for some time at Ajax. The club’s star players are often swiped away by clubs with more spending power.

Below we’ve compiled an XI made up of the best active players Ajax have sold in recent years to demonstrate just how good their line-up would be if those stars stayed put. In a way, however, the current crop are proving what incredible youth development, an ambitious manager and a sense of togetherness can accomplish.

Remarkably, the total career value of the Ajax XI that started against Juventus in the Champions quarter-final second is just £52.43m. In contrast, the total career value of XI we’ve compiled below is £430.67m, according to transfermarkt – that’s approximately 8.2 times more than the team that beat Juventus.

Goalkeeper – Jasper Cillessen

Current club: Barcelona
Age: 30
Ajax appearances: 143
Sold for: £11.7 million (to Barcelona, 2016)

Cillessen spent five years at Ajax following his move from NEC, helping the club to win three league titles.

The Dutchman joined Barcelona in 2016 but has so far found his opportunities limited for the Catalan club, playing second fiddle to Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Centre-back – Davinson Sanchez

Current club: Tottenham Hotspur
Age: 22
Ajax appearances: 45
Sold for: £42 million (to Tottenham, 2017)

The Colombia international joined Ajax from Atletico Nacional in 2016, with his excellent performances for the Dutch club seeing him attract much interest from elsewhere.

It was Tottenham who eventually won the race for his signature and Sanchez enjoyed an immense inaugural campaign in the Premier League, as Spurs secured Champions League football for this season.

Centre-back – Toby Alderweireld

Current club: Tottenham Hotspur
Age: 30
Ajax appearances: 186
Sold for: £6.3 million (to Atletico Madrid, 2013)

A graduate of Ajax’s renowned academy, Alderweireld won three league titles in Holland before joining Atletico Madrid in 2013.

The Belgian subsequently joined Southampton on loan prior to securing a permanent switch to Tottenham. When fit, he is one of the Premier League’s standout defenders and is currently the subject of transfer speculation because of a £25m release clause in his Spurs contract.

Centre-back – Jan Vertonghen

Current club: Tottenham Hotspur
Age: 32
Ajax appearances: 220
Sold for: £11.25 million (to Tottenham, 2012)

Like Alderweireld, Vertonghen spent time at Ajax’s academy prior to breaking into the first-team.

Vertonghen joined Tottenham in 2012 and has made over 250 appearances for the club.

Last summer, he also helped guide Belgium to a third-place finish in the 2018 World Cup – their best ever performance at the tournament.

Left wing-back – Kenny Tete

Current club: Lyon
Age: 23
Ajax appearances: 55
Sold for: £2.7 million (to Lyon, 2017)

Kenny Tete  made a strong start to life at Lyon after moving to Ligue 1 in the summer of 2017.

The 23-year-old Netherlands international struggled for game-time in his final season at Ajax before seeking a new challenge, and he managed 31 appearances across all competitions for Lyon as the club finished last season third in Ligue 1.

He has been in and out of the team this term, but there are still high hopes for Tete at Lyon.

Right wing-back – Gregory van der Wiel

Current club: Without a club
Age: 31
Ajax appearances: 187
Sold for: £5.3 million (to PSG, 2012)

Sneaking in as a result of Daley Blind’s return to Ajax, it’s safe to say that Van der Wiel didn’t quite hit the heights expected of him.

That being said, he still managed 132 appearances over four seasons at PSG, securing four Ligue 1 titles in the process.

Van der Wiel also helped his last side, Toronto FC, to the CONCACAF Champions League final, eventually losing out to Mexican side Guadalajara. He was released in March this year following an altercation with Toronto coach Greg Vanney.

Central-midfield – Davy Klaassen

Current club: Werder Bremen
Age: 26
Ajax appearances: 181
Sold for: £24.3 million (to Everton, 2017)

A long-time servant at the Ajax academy, Klaassen won three Eredivisie titles with the club and was also part of the side that reached the final of the Europa League in 2017. He also scored 13 league goals from midfield and assisted another nine.

Klaassen’s good form earned him a move to Everton last summer, though he struggled immensely during his inaugural Premier League season, starting just three matches. This lead to a £12 million switch to Bundesliga side Werder Bremen.

Central-midfield – Wesley Sneijder

Current club: Al-Gharafa
Age: 34
Ajax appearances: 180
Sold for: £24.3 million (to Real Madrid, 2007)

One of the most renowned graduates of Ajax’s academy, Sneijder spent five seasons in the first-team at the club before joining Real Madrid.

Spells with Inter Milan and Galatasaray followed before he joined Nice last summer, though he only made five appearances in five months for the French outfit before joining Qatari club Al-Gharafa in January. Sneijder has been capped by the Netherlands on over 100 occasions.

He is not the force he once was but it was impossible to leave out Netherlands’ star of the 2010 World Cup.

Central-midfield – Christian Eriksen

Current club: Tottenham Hotspur
Age: 27
Ajax appearances: 162
Sold for: £12.15 million (to Tottenham, 2013)

Regarded as an extremely talented player with an incredibly bright future during his Ajax days, Eriksen won four league titles with the club and produced some excellent performances.

A move to Tottenham followed in 2013 and the Dane has been especially impressive over the last two seasons.

Striker – Luis Suarez

Current club: Barcelona
Age: 32
Ajax appearances: 159
Sold for: £23.85 million (to Liverpool, 2011)

Suarez joined Ajax from Groningen in 2007 and built up his reputation with his consistent goalscoring displays.

After joining Liverpool in 2011 the Uruguayan signed for Barcelona in 2014 and won the treble that season. He now has three – almost four – La Liga titles to his name, four Copa del Rey trophies, and tasted Champions League glory in his debut season.

Striker – Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Current club: LA Galaxy
Age: 37
Ajax appearances: 110
Sold for: £14.4 million (to Juventus, 2004)

Having started his senior career in his native Sweden with Malmo, Ibrahimovic joined Ajax in 2001 and went on to help the club win the league on two occasions.

Ibrahimovic subsequently played for some of the world’s biggest clubs, including Juventus, AC Milan, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United. The Swede now plies his trade in the MLS with LA Galaxy.

Honourable mentions: Arkadiusz Milik, Riechedly Bazoer, Ryan Babel, Justin Kluivert