Based in Amsterdam, AFC Ajax, who incidentally draw their name from the legendary Greek hero of the same name, are the most successful club in the Netherlands, having won the Eredivisie a record 34 times, accompanied by 19 KNVB Cups, which is the Dutch domestic cup competition
Founded on 18th March 1900, they are also among the most successful European clubs of the 20th century.
The Lancers’ 120 years of success has been built upon a renowned youth academy, that has produced some legends of the game, including Johan Cruyff, who revolutionized the sport with his total football philosophy.
Most recently, talented youngsters such as Donny Van de Beek, Matthijs de Ligt graduated from Ajax’s youth academy, and have made a name for themselves in world football.
However, the downside of having such an excellent record of producing footballing gems is that the Dutch giants are constantly forced to sell their best players to European elites.
Ajax reached the semi-finals of the 2018-19 Champions League, but many of their prominent players were sold for huge profits. This, in turn, helps the club to keep the cycle going, and they’ve continued to produce talented players year after year.
But what if they never sold their star players? What if Ajax could have held on to their gems of the recent past?
Keeping that in mind, in this article, we will take a look at how Ajax could have lined up if they didn’t sell their star players:
Jasper Cillessen (Goalkeeper)
Currently on the books of Valencia, the Dutch goalkeeper played for the Amsterdam-based club from 2011-2016, before leaving to join Barcelona.
In total, Jasper Cillessen made 143 appearances for Ajax, winning four major honours along the road.
Toby Alderweireld (Right-back)
Before their reunion at Tottenham, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen formed Ajax’s formidable centre-back partnership once upon a time.
Alderweireld plied his trade at the Johan Cryuff Arena from 2008 to 2013, amassing 186 appearances, whilst helping the team win five major honours.
Matthijs de Ligt (Centre-back)
At the age of 19, a young Matthijs de Ligt lead Ajax to the 2018-19 Champions League semi-finals, which surely speaks volumes about his talent as a centre-back.
The Dutchman racked up 117 appearances between 2016-2019, before sealing a blockbuster move to Juventus ahead of this season.
Jan Vertonghen (Centre-back)
Before establishing himself as a firm fan favourite in north London with Spurs, Jan Vertonghen was a crucial player for Ajax, for six seasons between 2006 and 2012.
Within that period, the Belgian defender played 220 games for the Lancers, helping the club to four major titles.
Maxwell won titles with every club that he played for including, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan, and Barcelona. But before that, the Brazilian full-back polished his skills at Ajax from 2001-2006.
Until his retirement, the veteran defender had won numerous trophies, including four major titles with the Eredivisie giants.
Frenkie de Jong (Central midfielder)
The 23-year-old was a key cog of the Ajax team that reached the Champions League semi-finals last season, and he was rewarded for his stellar performances by a move to Barcelona.
Frenkie de Jong represented the Lancers from 2015-19, amassing a total of 89 appearances for the senior team. Since then, he has had moderate success with the Blaugrana in his debut season.
Christian Eriksen (Central midfielder)
A truly world-class midfielder, Christian Eriksen honed his craft at the Johan Cryuff Arena between 2010-2013, before earning a move to Tottenham.
Eriksen would go on to make a big name for himself in the Premier League before leaving to join Inter Milan in the month of January earlier this year.
Hakim Ziyech (Central midfielder)
The Moroccan international recently sealed a big-money move to Chelsea, on the back of his stunning exploits with the Eredivisie giants.
Hakim Ziyech signed with the Dutch club in 2016, and made 165 appearances for them, playing a key role for the first team in recent years.
Luis Suarez (Forward)
Before coming into the spotlight with Liverpool, Luis Saurez used to ply his trade for Ajax between 2007-2011, thereby playing 159 games for the Lancers.
He would subsequently, go on to star for the Reds, before earning a move to Barcelona in 2014, where he remains till date.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Forward)
Signed from Swedish club Malmo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived at the Johan Cryuff Arena in 2001, and in only a span of three years, the world started to take note of his incredible talents.
Little did anyone know that he would go on to become a true legend of the sport. Having represented the likes of Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain in his stellar career, Ibrahimovic is currently in his second spell with AC Milan.
Wesley Sneijder (Forward)
After progressing through the youth ranks of Ajax, Wesley Sneijder made his first-team debut in 2002 and continued to star for the club before moving to Real Madrid five seasons later.
Having amassed 180 appearances for his boyhood club, the Dutchman also represented Inter Milan and Galatasaray in his prolific career, before announcing his retirement last year.
Here’s how Ajax could have lined up if they didn’t sell their best players:
All stats courtesy: Transfermarkt.co.in
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