Every time a transfer window rears its head Dutch giants Ajax, along with their other Eredivisie contemporaries, brace themselves for an influx of bids on their brightest talents.
Last summer in Amsterdam they waved goodbye to Gregory van der Wiel, Jan Vertonghen and Vurnon Anita; the year before it was Maarten Stekelenburg and Demy de Zeeuw and in the windows previous to that the likes of Luis Suarez, Thomas Vermaelen and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar have all departed the club.
This summer will be no different. The likes of Christian Eriksen, Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Kenneth Vermeer have all been linked with an exit this summer but one player who definitely seem to be on the exit trail is Belgian international Toby Alderweireld.
Even the manager at Ajax, Fran de Boer, seems nonplussed about his future as it becomes increasingly evident he is looking to continue his footballing adventure elsewhere:
"If Toby would leave, then we have with Joel Veltman and [Mike] Van der Hoorn two good players who could take over that position."
Interest in the player has been reported from all over with Roma, Napoli, Tottenham and in particular Liverpool all said to be pursuing the talented and versatile defender; but the most recent team to crop up in the interested pile is not so illustrious (with all the greatest of respect).
Norwich City have reportedly been in touch with Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars about a potential deal for the player. Seeing an outfit like The Canaries getting named in person by the player’s agent should give similar clubs hope of pulling off a transfer coup themselves.
Which brings me to Fulham.
Martin Jol knows Alderweireld. In fact he knows him very well.
It was the Fulham boss who first gave Alderweireld a place in the Ajax starting XI on a regular basis after Vermaelen left for Arsenal and he formed a formidable defensive partnership with Tottenham’s Vertonghen.
So should Jol be chasing the player?
He has already used his Ajax connections on several occasions which saw the likes of Urby Emanuelson and Eyong Enoh arrive in January. This summer he has done the same; snapping up Maarten Stekelenburg from AS Roma.
So, in theory, if Fulham could negotiate a price with Ajax they might just have the upper hand in his pursuit.
The issue? The Cottagers might not need him.
Bar the other issue of price-tag the fact remains that Jol has already made two excellent signings in the centre-back area ahead of next season.
Firstly, securing a new deal for captain Brede Hangeland and secondly; persuading Fernando Amorebieta to come to Craven Cottage ahead of other big clubs chasing his signature this summer.
But in some cases a players talent is potentially so important to the team that when he comes available you have to snap him up anyway; regardless of need.
Alderweireld is that sort of signing and given his dexterity across the back-line he is the perfect player to bring in and supplement those already at the club.
Do you think Jol should use his rapport to get the Belgian defender?
image: © Ruud Schobbers