Arsenal should put their Ajax links to good use


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has strong ties to Dutch champions Ajax via a number of former players.

Gunners legend Dennis Bergkamp resides over the assistant manager position under the leadership of the Dutch ace’s former national teammate Frank de Boer as manager.

Arsenal favourite Marc Overmars is another former Netherlands international occupying a key role at the Amsterdam Arena – the former Barcelona midfielder is Ajax’s director of football.

Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger still has yet to spend any money on transfers this summer as we approach the final days of the transfer window this weekend. Arsenal are still desperately short of options in key areas of their squad – Wenger will likely require the services of a goalkeeper, a defender, a midfielder and a striker.

Wenger has brought in some of the Gunners most favoured personnel from Holland in his 17-year reign in North London – the likes of Overmars, Giovanni van Bronkhorst, Robin van Persie

Presently some of Ajax’s best players are linked with English clubs – Arsenal along with Liverpool ad Tottenham have been linked with highly rated defender Toby Alderweireld, their primary playmaker Christian Eriksen, and attacker Viktor Fischer.

Whilst Ajax and manager De Boer will be reluctant to sell off their best players to any club, domestic or foreign, I would imagine the club’s strong relationship with Arsenal and with Wenger could prove to be pivotal should the Gunners make their interest in an Ajax player known.

Presently, North London rivals Tottenham are ‘in talks’ with Eriksen who could sign for Spurs even as write this piece. However, with Arsenal’s Champions League qualification now confirmed as of Tuesday night’s 2—victory over Fenerbahce, any player weighing up his options could likely be swayed to choose the Emirates over White Hart Lane.

Arsenal desperately require defensive reinforcement with injuries to captain and former Ajax favourite Thomas Vermaelen, leaving only Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker as Wenger’s options at centre-back.

With those three fit, it would be cumbersome to convince a world-class senior international to join a club where he may find his status as understudy on the bench a little compromising but at 24 years of age, Alderweireld would be the ideal age and quality to challenge his Belgium teammate Vermaelen for a starting role.

Meanwhile, 19-year-old attacking midfielder Viktor Fischer could be the ideal candidate to reinforce Wenger’s options on the left flank – after selling Gervinho to Roma, youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain suffered an injury that will keep him sidelined for at least three months and Lukas Podolski’s hamstring tear on Tuesday rules him out for at least three weeks.

Fischer scored 10 goals and made 5 assists in the Eredivisie last term and has already notched up a goal and an assist this term so far. Meanwhile, Arsenal are linked with the likes of Yohan Cabaye and Mesut Ozil – if the Gunners want another playmaker to offer competition and respite for Santi Cazorla, they could do a lot worse than 24-year-old Siem de Jong.

The Dutch maestro functions in conjunction with Eriksen in midfield for Ajax and managed 12 goals and 8 assists in the league alone last term and, for a goalkeeper, how about Kenneth Vermeer? At 27, he’s the perfect age to act as a mentor for Wojceich Szczesny, he’s a full international and will be looking to rival Swansea’s Michel Vorm for his place at next year’s World Cup with Netherlands.

Arsenal and Wenger have struggled to land their top targets this summer – some would attribute that in large part to their boastful approach to their finances back in June but I would imagine their relations with, for example, Liverpool, Newcastle, and Real Madrid have soured somewhat.

If Arsenal really want to sign some top players who are hopeful of moves to the Premier League, they ought to consider Ajax as their best bet and if they’re smart they’ll put their strong links with the club’s top personnel to good use before it’s too late.

image: © pupismyname

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