Former Ajax star Wesley Sneijder has admitted that it will be “almost impossible” for the club to keep hold of their most talented players this summer.
The Dutch outfit face Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday in the Champions League semi-final second leg, with the hosts taking a 1-0 lead from the first leg.
Can Ajax keep hold of their stars? Five things you need to know…
- Ajax have a history of selling some of their best players to ‘bigger’ clubs in Europe including Sneijder himself who joined Real Madrid in 2007.
- Wonderkid Frenkie De Jong has already agreed on a deal to join Barcelona for €75 million at the end of this season.
- 18-year-old centre-back Matthijs De Ligt has been linked with moves to the Catalan giants and Bayern Munich.
- Ajax’s goalscorer in the Champions League semi-final first leg Donny van de Beek has been linked with a move to Real Madrid.
- And Sneijder admits the club will struggle to keep hold of their stars this summer, a problem which has plagued Ajax in the past.
Ahead of the Champions League second leg at the Johan Cruyff Arena, former Ajax playmaker Sneijder admitted that despite the club’s success in Europe this season, they have and always will struggle to retain their best players due to the allure of bigger clubs.
When asked on BT Sport’s coverage of the match whether Wednesday night’s semi-final is bittersweet due to the potential dismantling of the squad this summer, Sneijder said: “Yeah, 100%.
“That has always been the problem with Ajax. If they have a good season, the players will leave.
“But Ajax have also shown that they are good in the transfer market as well. They have some talents but none like what they have in the first team this season.
“I hope that they can continue for a long time together but it’s almost impossible.”
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From Ajax to Champions League glory
A man who knows a thing or two about leaving Ajax, Sneijder is one of many former stars who departed Holland to compete with some of the world’s biggest clubs.
Making 180 appearances and 58 goals in all competitions for Ajax between 2002 and 2007 – winning the Eredivisie, two KNVB Cups and the Johan Cruyff Shield – Sneijder left Ajax to join Real Madrid where he won one La Liga title in his two seasons in Spain.
Arguably his most successful spell came when he left Madrid for Serie A giants Inter Milan, where he made 116 appearances – scoring 22 goals – helping the side win the treble in 2010, winning Serie A, Coppa Italia and the Champions League.
Sneijder took that winning mentality to Turkey where he enjoyed success with Galatasaray before joining Qatar Stars League team Al-Gharafa SC via a short spell in France for Nice.