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FM20: Ajax Amsterdam - Life after Frenkie & Matthijs


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Ajax Amsterdam

History

Amsterdamsche Football Club Ajax, also AFC Ajax or Ajax Amsterdam, is a Dutch professional football club based in Amsterdam. Historically, Ajax (named after the legendary Greek hero) is the most successful club in the Netherlands, with 33 Eredivisie titles and 18 KNVB Cups. Along with PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord, it is one of the country's "big three" clubs who have dominated Dutch football (and who are the only three clubs that have never been relegated from the top division.

Ajax is historically one of the most successful clubs in the world; according to the IFFHS, Ajax were the seventh-most successful European club of the 20th century. The club is one of the five teams that has earned the right to keep the European Cup and to wear a multiple-winner badge; they won consecutively in 1971–1973. In 1972, they completed the continental treble by winning the Eredivisie, KNVB Cup, and the European Cup. Ajax's last international trophies were the 1995 Intercontinental Cup and the 1995 Champions League, where they defeated Milan in the final; they lost the 1996 Champions League final on penalties to Juventus.

Ajax is also one of three teams to win the continental treble and the Intercontinental Cup in the same season/calendar year; This was achieved in the 1971–72 season. Ajax, Juventus, Bayern Munich, and Chelsea are the four clubs to have won all three major UEFA club competitions. They have also won the Intercontinental Cup twice, the 1991–92 UEFA Cup, as well as the Karl Rappan Cup, a predecessor of the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 1962. Ajax plays at the Amsterdam Arena, which opened in 1996. They previously played at De Meer Stadion and the Amsterdam Olympic Stadium (for international matches).

 

Honours

National

Eredivisie: 34

1917–18, 1918–19, 1930–31, 1931–32, 1933–34, 1936–37, 1938–39, 1946–47, 1956–57, 1959–60, 1965–66, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1969–70, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1976–77, 1978–79, 1979–80, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1984–85, 1989–90, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96, 1997–98, 2001–02, 2003–04, 2010–11, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2018-2019.

KNVB Cup: 19

1916–17, 1942–43, 1960–61, 1966–67, 1969–70, 1970–71, 1971–72, 1978–79, 1982–83, 1985–86, 1986–87, 1992–93, 1997–98, 1998–99, 2001–02, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2009–10, 2018-2019.

Johan Cruijff Shield: 9

1993, 1994, 1995, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2013, 2019

International

Intercontinental Cup: 2

1972, 1995

European Cup / Champions League: 4

1970-71, 1971-72, 1972-73, 1994-95

European Cup Winners' Cup: 1

1986-87

UEFA Cup: 1

1991-92

UEFA Super Cup: 2

1974, 1995

Rangers First Centenary 1872–1972: 1

1972

Karl Rappan Cup: 1

1962

 

Facilities

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Johan Cruijff ArenA

In 1996, Ajax moved to a new home ground in the southeast of the city known as the Johan Cruijff ArenA, leaving behind the legendary De Meer. The new stadium was built at a cost of 134M euros and is currently capable of seating approximately 55,000 people. The ArenA has a retractable roof and set a trend for other modern stadiums built in Europe in the following years. In the Netherlands, the ArenA has earned a reputation for its terrible grass pitch caused by the retractable roof that, even when open, takes away too much sunlight and fresh air. During the 2008–2009 season ground staff introduced an artificial lighting system that has finally reduced this problem considerably and is now though to have one of the best pitches in the Netherlands.

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De Toekomst

Ajax’s training grounds and the Jong Ajax stadium are known as De Toekomst. The stadium has a capacity of around 2100; the main stand is called the Bobby Haarms stand, unsurprisingly after legendary old club icon Bobby Haarms.

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Departures

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As Ajax more or less serves as a stepping stone to bigger competitions and clubs, it’s no wonder to see a few high level departures. This year, the alumni include:

Matthijs de Ligt

After another stellar season, captain and wonderkid Matthijs de Ligt left Ajax at age 19 for Juventus, for a reported 75M euros.

Frenkie de Jong

Midfield prodigy Frenkie de Jong announced his summer departure from Ajax to Barcelona almost a year ago. His transfer was worth a total of 86M euros, which included various clauses, making him the most expensive player from the Eredivisie.

Lasse Schöne

The modern Ajax legend, our Danish central midfielder Lasse Schöne, joined Genoa for a reported 1,5M euros. He wanted one more adventure before hanging up his boots, which he found in Italy. His personality and free kicks will be sorely missed.

Kasper Dolberg

Danish dynamite striker Kasper Dolberg left the club after one stunning season (2016/2017) and two mediocre seasons (2017/2018 and 2018/2019). Although never performing outright bad, fans might feel Dolberg never duly delivered on his promise which he showed in the successful 2016/2017 Europa League campaign. He left the club to join French outfit OGC Nice for a reported 20,5M euros.

Daley Sinkgraven

Daley Sinkgraven, former Heerenveen talent who joined Ajax in 2015, could never deliver on his promise, mainly due to injuries, which kept him sidelined for the majority of his career at Ajax. Having been retrained from midfielder or attacker to left back, Sinkgraven joined Peter Bosz’s Leverkusen outfit for a reported 5M euros.

 

 

Team analysis

Goalkeepers

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In this year’s database, you have a good depth in the goalkeepers department. Andre Onana is your undisputed #1 between the sticks. He’s the current best keeper in the Eredivisie and good enough for the Champions League. With Bruno Varela, you have a decent backup, albeit one without much room for improvement. There are quite some talented young goalies at Ajax, with your most notable talents being new signee Kjell Scherpen and Ajax Academy youngster Calvin Raatsie. However, it might be worth it to sign a better goalkeeper. Although Onana’s good, it doesn’t look like he will become a top 5 / top 10 goalkeeper of the world.

Defenders

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With the departure of Matthijs de Ligt, you will miss your future star center back and captain. In his stead, Edson Alvarez looks a good replacement but lacks the absolute star potential of de Ligt, with Joel Veltman as reliable alternative option. With Blind and Martinez, you have two left footed central defenders who could feature for your side. With Kik Pierie and Perr Schuurs, you have two good young backups who could develop into great first team players.

You have two good right backs with Noussair Mazraoui and Sergino Dest, one for now and one for the future, although you could absolutely getting away with starting with either of them. At left back, Nicolas Tagliafico is your undisputed #1. The squad lacks some depth at left back, with some promising youngsters in Jong Ajax or U19, but no one to immediately fill in the Champions League. You could do with a better back-up for left back.

Midfield

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Frenkie and Lasse will be missed, but there still is some talent left. You do miss a great DMC if you want to play a formation which features DMC(‘s). At MC, you have Eiting, Marin and van de Beek, with the latter also able to play as AMC. Eiting isn’t good enough for the Champions League, which leaves just Marin and van de Beek as MC’s. With Ryan Gravenberch you have a great talent coming through. You could absolutely do with getting a good MC to supplement Marin and van de Beek though.

Attack

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Ajax still has a lot of attacking power. With Ziyech, Promes and Neres, you have three players for the AML, AMC and AMR positions. Van de Beek, as mentioned, can also play well as AMC, giving you various options for that position. Labyad is a decent back-up, but ultimately surplus to requirements. Tadic could be your first striker, but can also play on the flanks. In Huntelaar you have an aging striker, but still effective as a back-up. Including a few promising youngsters, such as Lang, Traore, Bandé and Kühn, you probably have enough depth in your squad for now.

Edited by Chef Raekwon
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Squad evaluation

Goalkeepers

24 André Onana

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André Onana is a young Cameroon goalkeeper starting his fourth full season at Ajax as number one goalie. Before joining Ajax in 2015, he was part of Barcelona’s La Masia youth setup. With his 23 years, Onana is still a very young goalkeeper though slowly becoming a household name across Europe, based on his excellent performances in Ajax’s standout 2016/2017 and 2018/2019 European campaigns. Agile, blessed with amazing reflexes and the ability to distribute the ball effectively, Onana is on the verge of becoming one of Europe’s most desirable targets between the sticks. Onana has been capped for the Cameroon team since 2016.

André Onana in FM20

In FM20, Onana is a quality goalkeeper, in particular in the Eredivisie. He’s also good enough for the Champions League and, considering his relatively young age, can still continue to develop. He doesn’t look like a future European top club goalkeeper, but definitely keep a hold of him as long as you can.

1 Bruno Varela

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Bruno Varela is the most popular Ajax player (both with fans as by the players) to not yet have played a minute of an official first team game. This dubious honor is fully deserved based on his exuberant performances after games (especially in Europe) and winning the domestic championship. The Portuguese keeper joined Ajax on a loan from Benfica in the winter transfer period of the 2018/2019 season to replace Kostas Lamprou as second goalkeeper. Probably based on his training performances (though fans whisper also because of his personality in the dressing room) his loan was extended to the end of the 2019/2020 season and includes an option to buy.

Bruno Varela in FM20

In FM20, Varela’s a decent back-up for a season, but nothing more. He can improve a bit, but hopefully either Kotarski or Scherpen are good enough after a season to assume backup goalkeeper duties. I’d advise to return Varela to Benfica after your first season.

33 Dominik Kotarski

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The Croatian goalkeeper Dominik Kotarski is been part of Ajax since the 2018/2019 season after his transfer from Dinamo Zagreb. In the 2018/2019 season, Kotarski played his games for Jong Ajax in the Jupiler League, developing reasonably well. In the current 2019/2020 season, Kotarski is splitting is playing time for Jong Ajax with new signee Kjell Scherpen.

Dominik Kotarski in FM20

In FM20, Kotarski is a decent talent who might become good enough to one day become your back-up goalkeeper. He might not be the most enticing prospect, but it’s not bad to keep him on and see how he develops for a season or two.

35 Kjell Scherpen

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Kjell Scherpen is the only Dutch goalkeeper currently part of the first team. Scherpen is a new signing, joining Ajax from Emmen for an undisclosed fee which at any rate broke Emmen’s record for highest outgoing transfer ever. Scherpen’s transfer was surrounded by mild controversy based on statements from his past, in which he professed his love for Feyenoord. Although some fans made it clear Scherpen would not be welcome, he joined the club nonetheless, where’s he’s going to try and break through to the first team.

Kjell Scherpen in FM20

In FM20, Scherpen looks like a good goalkeeping talent. He’s currently good enough to be your third goalie, so you could give him some game time in the Cup, or maybe when facing an easy opponent in the Eredivisie. It looks like he has good potential and might one day become a successor to Onana.

Defenders

2 Perr Schuurs

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Perr Schuurs has started his second season in Amsterdam after he joined Ajax from Fortuna Sittard in 2018/2019. Last season, he mainly played his games for Jong Ajax as a central defender. Schuurs is known for is elegant style, accurate passing and his goalscoring ability, both from headers as well as long and free kicks. In the past year, Schuurs has been working hard on his physique, gaining 6 kilos of muscle mass which was distinctly visible in the early games of the season. This year Schuurs will get some chances in the first team, although competition for the spot of right central defender is fierce, with Joël Veltman and Edson Alvarez also in contention.

Perr Schuurs in FM20

In FM20, Perr Schuurs is a decent back-up who can play in Cup and easy Eredivisie games. He has the potential to one day become a good first team player, so it’s definitely worth it to keep him and develop him as you see fit.

3 Joël Veltman

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Ajax FM-veterans are already acquainted with Joël Veltman, who’s come up through the Ajax youth system and has been part of the first team since 2012. The current Netherlands international is able to play as a central defender as well as a (defensive) right back. Through the years he has faced competition from a plethora of great players (Davinson Sanchez and Matthijs de Ligt as central defenders; Noussair Mazraoui and Sergino Dest as right backs) but he has always managed to endure. In the current 2019/2020 season, Veltman is currently the starting right central defender. Veltman has been vocal in his ambition to one day play for a foreign club and was reportedly close to signing to West Ham in the summer. With a contract expiring in 2021, there is some doubt as to whether Veltman will remain an Ajax player in the not too distant future.

Joël Veltman in FM20

In FM20, Veltman is a good choice as your starting right central defender or back-up right back. Especially defensively, Veltman offers something Mazraoui and Dest don’t currently possess. His personality is very suitable for the development of young talent, so I recommend extending his contract and keeping him at Ajax.

4 Edson Alvarez

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The Mexican Edson Alvarez is one Ajax’s marquee signings in the past transfer window, joining the club from América for a reported 15M euros. Alvarez is a versatile player, able to play as a central defender, right back and central midfielder. In the current season, he’s often deployed as a holding midfielder, though pundits think he has more a future as a central defender. His jersey number 4, which he inherited from de Ligt, would also indicate this as a distinct possibility. Although still only 22, Alvarez is a current international with almost 30 caps to his name. Fans are looking forward to see how he develops and if he’s able to fill the huge void left behind by Matthijs de Ligt.

Edson Alvarez in FM20

In FM20, Alvarez is a good contender for the right central defender spot, alongside Joël Veltman. Alvarez’s calling card is his potential, as he has a bright future ahead of him. One part of his game that will need development, especially is you aim to play Alvarez in defense, is his strength. At 9, it’s currently on the low side for a central defender.

5 Kik Pierie

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Dutch-American Kik Pierie is a new signing, joining Ajax from Heerenveen for a reported 4M euros. The 19-year old left footed central or left defender already has a wealth of Eredivisie experience under his belt, playing two full seasons in Friesland before his transfer to Ajax. At Ajax, Pierie is nominally a part of the first team, though in practice he plays his games for Jong Ajax. His development path might closely mirror that of Schuurs, which means he’s going to be in contention for the first team from 2020 and onwards.

Kik Pierie in FM20

In FM20, Pierie is a good left footed central defender or left back. I’m not entirely sure yet how to develop Pierie: he looks like a good prospect for both positions. It might depend on other talents coming through on both positions, though I’m tempted to develop Pierie as a ball playing central defender. He can become a first team starter, so it’s absolutely worth it to let Pierie play Cup and easy Eredivisie games.

12 Noussair Mazraoui

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One of the more surprising names on the team sheet last season was that of Noussair Mazraoui. Mazraoui, a Dutch born Moroccan international since 2018, was part of the legendary 1997-born generation at Ajax, alongside names such as Donny van der Beek, Abdelhak Nouri, Frenkie de Jong, Vaclav Cerny, Phillippe Sandler and others. Never the biggest talent of his generation, his pure grit and determination, coupled with a strong personal development during his years as an amateur player for Jong Ajax, meant he had his true breakthrough season in the stellar 2018/2019 season. Mazraoui is a versatile player who feels at home as an offensive right back or holding midfielder.

Noussair Mazraoui in FM20

In FM20, Mazraoui has a very balanced profile. He can play in various positions, but I think he plays best as a right back. He’s currently a better option than Dest so Mazraoui should be your starter at the start of the game. With his stats, he’s already suited for the Champions League and there’s some potential left to be unlocked, which make him an enticing player to develop.

17 Daley Blind

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Daley Blind, son of famous former Ajax captain Danny Blind, is ready for this second season in his third spell at Ajax. Joining the club from Manchester United in 2018/2019 for a reported 16M + 4,5M bonuses, Blind could become Ajax’s record signing ever. Last season, Blind formed a brilliant back pair with Matthijs de Ligt, in which his intelligence in positioning, showcased by his ability to forward press further up the field coupled with his accurate passing and technical prowess proved as a foil to de Ligts physical dominance. Without de Ligt, Blind’s below average aerial presence and pace coupled with average strength are becoming more apparent, though he’s still with ease one of the best players of there Eredivisie. Blind is a very versatile player, also able to play as a central or holding midfielder and left back. For the Dutch national team, Blind’s currently a starter in the latter position.

Daley Blind in FM20

In FM20, I’d argue Blind is a bit underrated, but still one of the best players in the squad. Blind looks vulnerable defensively and might best be played as a DMC, which leaves you without a choice left central defender. I’m personally going to play him as a ball playing left DC, even though he won’t excel there like he does in real life.

21 Lisandro Martinez

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Lisandro Martinez is one of the new signings in defense for Ajax, joining the club from Defensa y Justicia for a reported 7M euros. The signing of this Argentinian has been touted as potentially one of the best deals of the past transfer window by various sources, based on his current and potential ability and is relatively low cost. And with reason, because Martinez has been a first team starter since the start of the season. Martinez looks like a versatile player, being able to play as a central and left defender, as well as a holding midfielder. Martinez is blessed with a rare combination of technical ability and true (defensive) grit. As such, Martinez looks like one of the most exciting players in the current squad and with his relatively young age (21), he could become a real force in the coming years.

Lisandro Martinez in FM20

Lisandro Martinez is your best defensive talent in FM20, from the looks of it. He has a very balanced player profile, with good defensive and offensive stats. I’d like to play him as a DL, but his mediocre crossing and off the ball don’t make him the best option, so I’m not yet totally sure what to do with him. You could opt to play Martinez instantly, as he’s already good enough to be a first team starter.

28 Sergino Dest

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Sergino Dest, like Kik Pierie, is another Dutch-American prospect in the first team. Although born in Almere, Dest has opted for an international career with Team USA, for whom he played his first game in 2019. The 18-year old Dest has been part of the Ajax youth setup since 2012 and is currently experiencing his breakthrough season, often starting in the right back position. Dest is a truly versatile player, as he’s able to play everywhere on the right and left flanks, though he looks more comfortable on the right. Although it’s too early to predict his true potential, it’s going to be interesting to follow his development.

Sergino Dest in FM20

In FM20, Dest has a bit of an uneven player profile. While he offers a lot on the attack, his defensive stats leave something to be desired. While you can easily play him in Cup and easy Eredivisie games without many repercussions, you can also opt for Dest over Mazraoui any time you want a more offensive right back. Dest has a lot of potential, so he will almost definitely become your future first team starter in the not-too-near, not-too-far future.

31 Nicolas Tagliafico

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Nicolas ‘Nico’ Tagliafico, the Argentinian born left back, has left his mark on Ajax since joining the club in the winter transfer period of 2017/2018. Debuting for Ajax against arch rivals Feyenoord, Tagliafico made an instant impact with his defensive prowess and attacking runs down the left flank. A leader on the pitch, Tagliafico has been named Argentinian (vice) captain on multiple occasions. Although he has a contract binding him to Ajax for the years to come and has expressed his love for Ajax and Amsterdam, it’s not unexpected bigger clubs might attempt a transfer.

Nicolas Tagliafico in FM20

It seems Tagliafico’s player profile hasn’t changed much compared to FM19, which means he’s still by far your best option on left back. He’s defensively superior, but also blessed with decent to good offensive stats, which make him one of the best players in your team. One of the first names on your team sheet!

Edited by Chef Raekwon
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Midfielders

6 Donny van de Beek

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Donny van de Beek was one of Ajax’s eye-catching talents of the 2018/2019 Champions League campaign. Van de Beek’s heart bleeds red and white, joining the club at a young age and coming up through the youth system alongside names such as Nouri, Mazraoui, Cerny and de Jong. Van de Beek is a decently versatile player, able to play on all three central midfield positions but feeling most at home as a ‘number 10’, an attacking midfielder making deep runs and penetrating the opponents box as a striker drops back to allow him the space to excel. Van de Beek has phenomenal stamina and a great work rate, allowing him to press opponents even when the clock starts creeping up to minute 90. These qualities have almost lead Van de Beek to Real Madrid in a deal worth a reported 50M euros, but Ajax fans sure are happy to see him play for the club for at least one more season. Van de Beek is a current Dutch international, having first been capped in 2017.

Donny van de Beek in FM20

In FM20, van de Beek is a good first team player. He excels as a box-to-box midfielder, but he can also be deployed in a more attacking fashion. His work rate coupled with his stamina make him a good pressing player when on the defensive, his technical stats ensure he’s no slouch when on the ball. Van de Beek has the potential ability to be one of the best players at the club in the near future.

8 Carel Eiting

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Long time Ajax fans and FM players are sure to be familiar with Carel Eiting. Just like Van de Beek, Eiting has been playing for Ajax since almost forever. Unlike Van de Beek, Eiting has had problems leaving his mark on the first team, debuting in 2016 but has since played only 21 first team games, due to heavy competition and injuries. With the departure of De Jong and Schöne, there are bound to be first team chances for Eiting in the current season, however, due to another injury he has so far been unable to capitalize upon this situation. Eiting is most comfortable as a defensive or holding midfielder with excellent distribution skills. His physicals leave something to be desired which mark his weak spot and as such, it is unclear if Eiting will ever become a first team starter for the club.

Carel Eiting in FM20

In FM20, Eiting is a decent back-up, but lacks the true potential to one day become an undisputed first team starter. There’s definitely some potential ability left unlocked, so it might be worth it to develop Carel, but chances are other talents will soon be better options, leaving Eiting as the player holding the short straw.

15 Siem de Jong

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Siem de Jong is a familiar name to those familiar with Ajax. De Jong is most notable for his goals which secured Ajax’s first Eredivisie win in seven years in 2011. After spells with Newcastle, PSV & Sydney FC and years of injuries, de Jong is currently back in the Ajax first team. A natural AMC but also proficient as a MC or ST, de Jong is facing severe competition which means he’s not getting a lot of game time. As his contract is up for renewal in 2020, chances are this might be his final Ajax season.

Siem de Jong in FM20

In FM20, de Jong is surplus to requirements. He’s not a natural MC, where competition is not as fierce as it used to be, and at AMC he lacks the ability to make a difference. Combined with a less-than-stellar personality, de Jong adds nothing to the current team. Sell him to free up the wage budget.

18 Razvan Marin

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Razvan Marin is another new name in Amsterdam, joining Ajax from Standard for a reported 12,5M euros. Last season, Marin played his first game in Amsterdam, as a player of Standard during their unsuccessful attempt to reach the Champions League group phase. Marin is a midfielder, able to play as a DMC, MC or AMC but feeling most at home as an MC. Marin has been a player of the Romanian national team since his debut in 2016, resulting in 17 caps to date.

Razvan Marin in FM20

In FM20, Marin is a good central midfielder, not yet at his best, but good enough to feature in the Champions League. He has a balanced player profile with barely a weakness, but he might lack the offensive skills (such as dribbling and first touch) to stand out in the crowd. As he represents a decent transfer value, it might not be the worst idea to play him for a season and then move him on.

26 Jurgen Ekkelenkamp

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Jurgen Ekkelenkamp is the first player born in the new millennium to player for the Ajax first team. Grizzled Ajax veterans are already familiar with Ekkelenkamp, as he has been part of the Ajax Academy since 2013. Originally a central defender, Ekkelenkamp started playing as a(n) (attacking) central midfielder, a position he currently considers his natural. Ekkelenkamp is a clever player, good at making runs in the oppositions box, choosing position and then pouncing. Ekkelenkamp gained national notoriety in the 2018/2019 Champions League campaign by fouling Christiano Ronaldo in the final minutes of the Juventus game and subsequently receiving a yellow card, netting him the nickname ‘Tackelenkamp’ among others.

Jurgen Ekkelenkamp in FM20

In FM20, Ekkelenkamp has an almost ideal distribution of his attributes to make him a good shadow striker. If only he had a bit better physical stats, he could become a real force, but his acceleration, pace, agility and strength are just on the low side. Other technical stats, such as technique and passing are on the low side for him to establish himself as a playmaker. Ekkelenkamp does have decent to good potential, so there might be some room to work with.

27 Noa Lang

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One of the more controversial members of the squad, Noa Lang is a youngster who has suffered from the current success and depth of Ajax’s first team. Undoubtely, a player with Lang’s skills would’ve played a lot more games for the first team in the not-too-distant past. However, because Ajax is particularly stacked in offense, Lang is often relegated to playing for Jong Ajax, where he often excels. Lang's controversy stems from his early move from arch rivals Feyenoord to Ajax and his personality, which reportedly isn’t the easiest to work with. Technically gifted, there are little doubt around his quality on the pitch. It is very possible to see Lang break through in the next season or two, either for Ajax or presumably another Eredivisie side.

Noa Lang in FM20

In FM20, Lang looks like a decent talent that one day could become a first team starter, but will likely be caught up by better talents. Lang’s unlucky Gravenberch and Ünüvar are players playing in almost the exact same positions as he does. That said, Lang has decent offensive stats and if his mentality develops well, he might become a very good Eredivisie player, or maybe even better.

29 Ryan Gravenberch

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Ryan Gravenberch for years has been touted as one of the hottest prospects of the Ajax Academy. With his 16 years and 130 days, Gravenberch became the youngest ever player to have his debut for Ajax, in a league game against PSV in 2018, edging out icon Clarence Seedorf after more than 20 years. Gravenberch is a central midfielder with good physicals and technical ability. He has opted to remain loyal to Ajax, even though practically all European top clubs were vying for his signature. Occasionally getting first team games, Gravenberch is more often seen playing for Jong Ajax, where he has been playing very well, especially in the current (2019/2020) season.

Ryan Gravenberch in FM20

In FM20, it will come to the surprise of absolutely no one that Gravenberch is one of the best Dutch talents in the game. At age 17, he’s already good enough for the Eredivisie and his potential ensures him a bright future. Gravenberch might be best suited as an MC, but you can develop him as an AMC as well. At any rate, an absolute first team hero of the future.

Offense

19 Zakaria Labyad

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Zakaria Labyad is a Dutch-Moroccan player who opted to play for the Moroccan national team (since 2012). Originally a PSV lad, after various domestic and international clubs he was signed last season from FC Utrecht for a reported 7M euros. Due to the tremendous development of players such as Neres and Ziyech and the acquisition of Tadic and Promes, Labyad has been a squad player since his arrival.

Zakaria Labyad in FM20

In FM20, Labyad is a very good back-up player with a lot of coverage, as you can play him virtually anywhere with decent results. If you feel comfortable with your other offensive players and talents, it might be best to sell or loan Labyad, as he will never become a true first team starter for your Ajax side and his personality offers too little to keep him for mentoring purposes.

22 Hakim Ziyech

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Hakim Ziyech is becoming a household name in Europe, with his scintillating performances and goals in the Champions League. Arguably the best and most important Ajax player in the 2019/2020 season, Ziyech’s technical ability combined with his vision and work rate make him a fan favourite. This has not always been the case, as just two seasons ago, as physical altercations between Ziyech and various fans took place after a league game. Luckily for Ajax and its fans, Ziyech was faithful to Ajax, which allows us all to enjoy his performances week in week out. Ziyech often plays on the right wing drifting inside or from a central attacking midfielder position. The Dutch born Moroccan international has played 32 games for his country since 2015.

Hakim Ziyech in FM20

In FM20, Ziyech’s your best player. He can play at his best if you play him as an inside forward, playing from the right wing. You can also field him in a more central position, but his poor defensive stats don’t make him a great central midfielder. Which is no problem, because Ziyech offers so much more offensively that he will be of great worth for years, or until you decide to sell him.

7 David Neres

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David Neres is a forward for Ajax and the Brazilian national team. Neres feels most comfortable on the right wing, but is also able to play on the left and centrally. With his pace and technique (in particular his dribbles), Neres is often very dangerous against opposition with a lot of space behind the back line. Various clubs have been linked with Neres in the past year, most notably Atletico Madrid, PSG and Guangzhou Evergrande, the latter club willing to spend 43M euros on him in the winter transfer period of the 2018/2019 season. Neres instead opted to stay at Ajax, where he played an important role in the successful Champions League campaign last season. With the transfer of Quincy Promes, competition for one of the four forward positions is fierce and Neres has looked a casualty of that competition in the current season, but in form, Neres is deadly and a first team starter.

David Neres in FM20

In FM20, David Neres is another good right wing option. His dribbling skills are mouth-watering so there’s always something to look forward to when you see him play. That said, though there’s enough potential to see him become as good as Ziyech, he might be better off sold eventually, especially if you look to bring in young talent such as Stengs or Chong to replace him.

9 Klaas-Jan Huntelaar

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Dutch veteran striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is by far the oldest player in the first team, but still important because he continues to offer something special to the team: a guarantee for goals. The 36 year old pure old school number 9 has never been the fastest player on the pitch, but his knack for always being in the right spot combined with his finishing skill still make him deadly anno 2019. Huntelaar is not a first team starter, but can still do a job if called upon, while also being important in the dressing room. It is reported Huntelaar still just loves the game a lot, which makes it hard to predict how many years he still has in him.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in FM20

In FM20, Huntelaar is still a quintessential poacher. With 18 finishing, 16 composure, 17 off the ball and 18 concentration, Huntelaar can still do a job for you against any opposition, though his physicals show his advanced age. Keep him on and send him off gracefully into retirement.

10 Dusan Tadic

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Dusan Tadic joined Ajax from Southampton last season and was able to instantly impact the club. Tadic became the Eredivisie joint top scorer in the 2018/2019 season and was able to impress the world particularly in the Champions League, playing the game of a lifetime in the 1-4 win against Real Madrid in the knockout phase. Tadic has impressed fans and colleagues with his work ethic and love for the club, signing a new contract which binds him to the club even after his active playing career and becoming our new captain after the departure of Matthijs de Ligt. On the pitch, Tadic prefers to play from the left wing, central attacking midfield or striker position. In particular as a striker he impressed, having a great working relationship with both Donny van der Beek and Hakim Ziyech. Dusan Tadic is a current Serbian international, having been capped 62 times while scoring 15 goals for his country.

Dusan Tadic in FM20

In FM20, Tadic is a very versatile player who is best played on the left flank, but can also demolish oppositions when playing as a striker. His stats ensure Tadic being a goalscoring threat, while also being able to link up with his teammates through immaculate passing ability. Tadic is one of your top 3 players at the club and should be cultivated until he shows signs of regression, after which his professional personality might offer something for mentoring young players.

11 Quincy Promes

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One of the marquee signings of the 2019/2020 season, Quincy Promes joined Ajax from Sevilla for a reported 15-17M euros. Promes is currently enjoying his second spell with the club, after having played for the Ajax youth teams before being sent away in 2008. Promes is a current Dutch international, being capped 40 times and scoring 7 times. Promes is a forward, able to play on all four advanced positions but feeling most at home as a left or right attacking midfielder. Promes is known for is pace combined with goalscoring potential, which he showed to devastating effect playing for Spartak Moscow. At Ajax, Promes is definitely a force to reckon with and will be a first team player for your side, regardless of your tactically choices.

Quincy Promes in FM20

In FM20, Promes is a very good left inside forward, offering pace, determination and flair alongside excellent goalscoring capabilities. Promes will probably be a key player for the first few seasons, after which you can gracefully introduce Ünüvar to the team to take over duties on the left wing.

23 Lassina Traore

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Lassina Traore is a young striker from Burkina Faso, who joined Ajax in the winter of 2018/2019 from Ajax Cape Town. A cousin of former Ajax and Chelsea player Bertrand Traore, he also plays up front though is normally considered a pure striker as opposed to an attacking midfielder. Traore is currently the league top scorer for Jong Ajax, scoring 11 goals in 12 appearances in the Keuken Kampioen Divisie. He has already debuted for the first team last season and expectations are hopeful. Quick, strong, agile and very focused on scoring goals are key characteristics which make Traore a very exciting striker prospect for Ajax. Despite his young age and his relatively little playing experience, Traore has already been capped for the Burkina Faso national team, scoring 3 goals in 6 games.

Lassina Traore in FM20

In FM20, Traore is physical top rated specimen, with good technical capabilities that would make him a real threat, if it weren’t for his almost all god-awful mental stats. Traore has the potential ability to become a top striker for your side, but needs a lot of work to become the real force he’s promised to be.

32 Hassane Bande

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Hassane Bande might be one of the most unlucky players to ever play for Ajax. His transfer from KV Mechelen (for a reported 8,5M euros) was announced before the transfer market of the 2018/2019 season was open. In his second pre-season friendly game for Ajax, he was badly injured with a broken leg and torn ankle ligaments. It took almost 15 months before Bande was able to play his first minutes for Jong Ajax (21 October 2019, to be exact) and as such is primarily focused on regaining his fitness. Expectations are low for the former Belgian talent of the year and hopefully Bande’s able to recover his budding career. 

Hassane Bande in FM20

In FM20, Bande is good talent, offering pace and decent technical ability for your right wing. As there are currently better options out wide (Ziyech and Neres come to mind alongside various other young (Dutch) talents you can snap up), Bande might be surplus to requirements. You can opt to loan him to other sides to help his development, as he probably won’t develop much more in the Jupiler League.

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Jong Ajax prospects

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Jurriën Timber

Half of the Timber twins, Jurriën is a right footed defensive player, feeling most comfortable as a right back. Alongside his brother Quinten, Timber joined Ajax years ago after playing for the Feyenoord Academy up until 2014. In 2019/2020, Timber plays for Jong Ajax where he looks to leave his mark and qualify for a chance in the first team.

Quinten Timber

Everything but his playing position can be copied from his brother Jurriën’s profile. Quinten feels more at home at the center of the pitch and can play as a midfielder and defender.

Kenneth Taylor

Kenneth Taylor is an exciting central midfield prospect, who plays for both the Dutch national team U17 and Jong Ajax. Taylor plays for the Ajax Academy since 2010. Taylor is renowned for his passing and playmaking ability. Taylor is best deployed as a central or defensive midfielder, feeling most at home as a playmaker.

Juan Castillo

Juan Castillo is a loanee from Chelsea and is currently enjoying his second spell for Ajax, as he used to play for Ajax until 2016. Castillo is a decently versatile player, able to play everywhere on the left flank but feeling most at home as a left back. Ajax has negotiated an option to buy Castillo so it’s worth it to develop Castillo towards your first team.

Victor Jensen

Danish born Victor Jensen is young attacking midfielder comfortable with both feet. He was signed from FC Kopenhavn in 2017 for a reported 3,5M euros. At Ajax, Jensen plays his games for the Jong Ajax outfit and waiting patiently for his chance.

Brian Brobbey

Brian Brobbey is a very young and very strong striker. Brobbey joined the Ajax Academy in 2010 and currently plays for Jong Ajax, after being part of the U19’s last season. Brobbey’s main asset, as noted, is his physique, though his technical ability is not too shabby either.

Nicolas Kühn

Nicolas Kühn is a German youth international and was awarded the award ‘Best U19 German player’ in august of 2019. Kühn joined Ajax from RB Leipzig in 2018 and has mainly played his games for U19 and since 2019/2020 Jong Ajax. Kühn can play on both wings, but feels most comfortable on the right wing.

 

Ajax U19 prospects

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Sontje Hansen

Sontje Hansen is a young attacking prospect of the U19 squad. Hansen can play on the wings and as a striker, but drifting from a central position is where he’s at his best. Hansen is a technically gifted and physically good prospect who’s absolutely worth to keep your eye on.

Calvin Raatsie

Calvin Raatsie is the Ajax and Dutch U17 goalkeeper. Raatsie joined Ajax in 2012 and as such has played for the club since he was 10. He’s definitely one of the bigger Dutch talents between the sticks and with proper guidance could become a real gem.

Devyne Rensch

Devyne Rensch is a young central defender who’s been part of the Ajax Academy since 2016. Rensch is considered one of the bigger talents of his generation and is no doubt looking forward to develop into a first team starter.

Anass Salah-Eddine

Anass Salah-Eddine is a technically gifted left back who’s been part of the Ajax Academy since 2018, when he joined the club from AZ. Salah-Eddine has looked impressive last season and one of the better left back prospects in the Netherlands.

Naci Ünüvar

Naci Ünüvar is one of the biggest talents of his generation, worldwide. The Turkic-Dutch attacking midfielder or left inside forward has been dazzling fans and opponents alike with his skill since 2011, when he joined the Ajax Academy. When seeing him play even from such an early age, it’s no exaggeration to say it was instantly clear Ünüvar was a special talent. It’s also why many FM-fans were looking forward to this year’s iteration, as FM20 is the first edition including Ünüvar. Although it’s still a bit too early to tell, Ünüvar could be the next big thing exploding from the Ajax Academy.

Kian Fitz-Jim

Kian Fitz-Jim is a young central midfielder who joined Ajax this year from AZ. Fitz-Jim is gifted technically and it’s safe to say AZ feels the blow of losing out on a player of his caliber. Fitz-Jim currently plays his games for Ajax U17 and Dutch national youth teams.

Rio Hillen

Just like Fitz-Jim, Rio Hillen also joined Ajax from AZ this year. Hillen is a young central defender, comfortable on the ball and solid defensively with good potential. Like Fitz-Jim, Hillen also plays for Ajax U17 and the Dutch national team.

Christian Rasmussen

In the 2019/2020 season, Christian Rasmussen was appointed to be Ajax annual Danish player buy. Rasmussen is a pacey winger who’s currently looking good in the U17 team and as such has also already played a few games for the U19 side. It’s still a bit early to say how well Rasmussen will do, but the raw potential looks to be present.

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Potential new signings (AKA let’s raid AZ)

Although the current Ajax squad has enough talent to win the Eredivisie, there are various opportunities to continue to grow the club. As we’ve already seen in the team analysis, you could do with a new goalkeeper, left back, defensive central midfielder(s) and central midfielder, although with Ajax’s transfer budget of 75M euros, you can pretty much buy whoever you like. This section is divided in domestic players, foreign talent and Ajax alumni who could potentially be re-signed to the club.

Domestic players

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There’s a lot of talent currently walking around in the Netherlands, and you could choose to capitalize on this. Most of this talent can be found at AZ, who have done a tremendous job cultivating various great players. Let’s dive in:

Calvin Stengs – AZ Alkmaar

Seasoned FM-players are undoubtedly familiar with Calvin Stengs. This young Dutch right wing attacker has been captivating fans in the Netherlands for close to a year now, resulting in his first selection for the Dutch National Team in November 2019. Stengs definitely has the potential to become your first choice right attacking midfielder, so keep him in mind.

Myron Boadu – AZ Alkmaar

Myron Boadu is another familiar name for FM-veterans. This 18-year old Dutch striker has been banging in goals for AZ left and right this season, resulting in his first selection for the Dutch National Team in November 2019. Boadu has good physicals and good goalscoring potential, which means he could become your undoubted number 9. AZ probably won’t let him go for cheap, so you might break the bank to get him to play for you.

Teun Koopmeiners – AZ Alkmaar

Teun Koopmeiners is a good young central midfielder, quite all-round so able to play as a holding midfielder or a central playmaker. It looks like he has enough potential to become a great addition to your team, right now, but also in the future. Like his teammates Stengs and Boadu, AZ probably won’t let him go easily, but he might be worth it.

Owen Wijndal – AZ Alkmaar

Remember how we talked about more coverage at the left back? Owen Wijndal would offer additional squad depth coupled with possibly future proofing your defense, as he’s the current AZ left back with the potential to become the first choice Dutch National Team left back in the future. Wijndal is still young and probably won’t feature much for the first two seasons behind Tagliafico, but it’s looking like he might be a great deal considering Ajax’s current setup. Again, Wijndal won’t be cheap, but would probably cost less than his formerly mentioned three teammates.

Jasper Schendelaar – AZ Alkmaar

Final AZ talent, I promise. Jasper Schendelaar was already a promising goalkeeper in FM19, which he continues to be in 2020. You can reasonably expect to get Schendelaar for around 10M. It’s up to you to consider if he could be worth it. For that price, you would get a goalkeeper that could potentially become Dutch National Team material.

Thomas Buitink – Vitesse

Thomas Buitink is the first non-AZ player to feature in this list. Buitink is a tremendously talented striker, in FM20 able to become a top striker and possibly National Team material. His biggest feature is the fact that he’s not as ridiculously valued by Vitesse compared to his AZ counterparts, while not being much worse, both in current as in potential ability. You could reliably get Buitink for around 10M in the first season.

Mohamed Ihattaren – PSV

Mohamed Inhattaren is possibly the current biggest Dutch talent, both in real life as in FM20. This 17 year old attacking midfielder already has stellar stats which make him a real option for your first team, his potential ensures fun for the coming 10 years. The one problem: PSV probably won’t let him go easily. You could attempt a move right at the start of the game, but I know I’m going to be focusing on getting him to force a move himself and me sweeping up the pieces. Please don’t tell the PSV board though.

Donyell Malen – PSV

The one that got away. Donyell Malen is a pacey striker who left Ajax for Arsenal before joining PSV, the club where he’s currently having his breakthrough season. Malen is everything you could want in a striker, young, fast, good goalscoring stats and bags of potential. As with Ihattaren, don’t expect to get Malen quickly or for cheap, but do keep an eye on him.

Javairo Dilrosun – Herta BSC

Another talent who left Ajax at a young age is Javairo Dilrosun. After a few years at Chelsea, Dilrosun is currently playing in Germany and has already debuted for the Dutch National Team. This quick left winger is interested in a move to Ajax and for a potential fee of around 16M euros, you don’t have to break the bank to sign Dilrosun for Ajax. If you’re looking for a more traditional winger, take a closer look at Dilrosun.

Tahith Chong – Manchester United

Tahith Chong left Feyenoord for Manchester United, the club where he debuted in the past season. Chong is veritable speed merchant as a right attacking midfielder, with good technical stats. Although it’s unlikely you can get Chong right away, his contract at Manchester is up after the season, so keep him in mind.

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Foreign talent

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As always, FM is packed with great talents that could help the club forward. I’ve selected some choice talents who have been linked with a move to Ajax in real life or are from nations traditionally scouted by Ajax. I’m also very interested to learn about other talents that would make sense at Ajax.

Dominik Szoboszlai – RB Salzburg

Dominik Szoboszlai is an established current Hungarian midfielder who plays for RB Salzburg. Especially since you lack some squad depth, Szoboszlai could be the missing link for your squad.

Dani Olmo – Dinamo Zagreb

Dani Olmo was heavily linked with Ajax during the final month of the past transfer window, but the transfer was never realized. It was reported Dinamo Zagreb wanted around 30M for the Spanish playmaker, which would be a real gamble for Ajax. In FM20, Olmo has spectacular stats and great potential, and can be bought right at the start of the game. You would give yourself another great option for the AMC position, which could allow you to move van de Beek back to MC, presenting you more options in the MC position.

Antonio Marin – Dinamo Zagreb

Antonio Marin was a great buy in FM19, which doesn’t look to have changed for FM20. Marin is a left attacking midfield prospect and can be bought rather cheaply (around 5M in my beta save), although this has prompted other European top clubs to also field bids for the young Croatian. If you can get him, it looks like money well spent.

Sander Berge – KRC Genk

Sander Berge already is a very established player, playing with Genk in the Champions League and Belgian league. The young Norwegian could provide your Ajax side with a great DMC or MC option, which would absolutely augment your possibilities and coverage. It looks like Berge isn’t impossible to get either, although he will hardly be free.

Lovro Majer – Dinamo Zagreb

Another young Croatian player! Lovro Majer was a good talent in FM19 as well, and looks to be as good or better in FM20. Majer is a central or attacking midfielder that can be bought for cheap (5M in my beta save). There might be better players out there, but Majer seems to be a good alternative if other targets are deemed impossible.

Adam Hlozek – Sparta Prague

Adam Hlozek is currently being linked with Ajax and could join the club in 2020. The young Czech striker has good stats in FM20 and could be a real option for your U19 side. He’s interested in a move so definitely check him out!

Antony – Sao Paolo

Antony was first linked with Ajax at the tail end of 2018, but the move never materialized. Antony is a great Brazilian talent for the AMR position and looks like a good replacement for David Neres, should you sell him. Readers beware: Anthony is not going to be cheap!

Riqui Puig – Barcelona

Riqui Puig is an established talent and seems to be valued at Barcelona, but can never really count on much playing time. With Arthur, Busquets, de Jong, Rakitic, Vidal and Alena all vying for the same coveted midfield spots, Puig might be the player holding the short straw. In real life, Puig was linked to Ajax in a potential loan move, but who knows, maybe you can move him more permanently?

 

Ajax alumni

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As mentioned before, it’s no secret Ajax has alumni playing in the top of Europe. As they get older, it might make sense to sign them for your squad, either as a backup with a good personality (for fostering your young talent) or just outright as a first team starter. These names aren’t unconventional but no less interesting:

Jan Vertonghen – Tottenham Spurs

Jan Vertonghen, Tottenham’s left or central defender, is aging and as his contract is up at the end of the season, could be a very real option for your future side. Vertonghen can definitely offer something to your current first team, though his wages might be a bit too expensive after one season.

Toby Alderweireld – Tottenham Spurs

Another former Ajax lad, Toby Alderweiereld offers a balanced defensive profile, with good stopping as well as building skills. Like Vertonghen, Alderweireld’s contract is up in 2020, so you might attempt to lure him to the Amsterdam ArenA. That said, like Vertonghen, Toby’s on high wages so it might be a bit too expensive to add him to your squad.

Luis Suarez – Barcelona

Luis Suarez needs no introduction. As one of the world’s global superstars, Suarez would be an ideal forward for your Ajax team. However, since he’s at 550k per week, it’s going to be rather difficult to persuade Suarez to come and play for Ajax. That said, with his perfectionist personality, he would not only add playing skill to your team, but also mentoring opportunities.

Davinson Sanchez – Tottenham Spurs

Tottenham have had a subscription to Ajax players in the past few years. The most recent example being Davinson Sanchez, the Colombian central defender who joined Tottenham after spending only a single year in Amsterdam. Sanchez is a very imposing player, with all-round good defensive stats, but never being good enough to replace Alderweireld or Vertonghen as a central defender. As such, you can try to entice him to go back to Ajax. This will not be easy, as Sanchez is on 65k per week for the foreseeable future.

Christian Eriksen – Tottenham Spurs

Another world class Ajax alum, Christian Eriksen is perhaps one of the very best central attacking midfielders in the world today. Eriksen couples technical ability with a third lung, being able to run the entire game, putting the pressure on the opponent while having enough gas in the tank to be a decisive playmaker when in possession of the ball. With only one year to go at Tottenham, Eriksen’s future is still unknown. Competition will probably be fierce and it seems unlikely Eriksen will favor a return at the Amsterdam ArenA, but you can always try. At age 27, Eriksen is still young enough to make a move to another club and still be able to come back to Ajax in a later stage.

Lasse Schöne – Genoa

If you are like me, you’re still feeling a bit hungover from Lasse Schöne’s departure from Ajax. A veritable modern day Ajax legend, Schöne joined Ajax on a free transfer from N.E.C. in 2012. Winning a few trophies along the way and being part of the squads which reached the Europa League final in 2017 and the Champions League semi final last year, Schöne surpassed all expectations. He became the foreign Ajax player with the most games played for Ajax. Schöne will be remembered for his personality and his beautiful goals, including his free kicks and long range screamers. In FM20, Schöne is already 33 years old, but his technical and mental stats are as good as ever. I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely looking to bring Schöne back as a back-up player as soon as he’s interested!

Viktor Fischer – FC Kopenhavn

Viktor Fischer was set to become the next big thing at Ajax. Sadly, in football as it is in life, things don’t always work out the way they are meant to be. Instead of ending up at Real Madrid or, apparently, Tottenham, Fischer had some nasty injuries before playing for Middlesbrough and Mainz before returning to his native Denmark, where’s he’s currently playing (well) for FC Kopenhavn, alongside former Ajax teammate Nicolai Boilesen (who I don’t ever want to see in an Ajax jersey again). In Kopenhavn, it seems he found his fortunes again, playing well and scoring goals as the left attacking forward we know him to be. In FM20, Fischer is 25 years old and set for a return in Amsterdam. His attributes are pretty well rounded, which make him a good inside forward with goal scoring threat and good work rate, which favors pressing sides. If you’re looking for a familiar face and a left forward, look no further than Viktor Fischer.

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Hi all,

 

New year, new Ajax topic. I'll be adding player profile screenshots over the next few days. I've used the official Ajax player screenshots, but not too happy with how they look. Might replace them later, might not.

 

Hopefully you like this post. If you have anything to add, please let me know. Have fun playing your Ajax saves this year guys!

 

- Chef Raekwon

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Can you do a Ajax formation and tactical play philosophy or point me in the right direction? Great depth of info on the above.  unfortunately i lost Veltman in Jan as he wasnt going to sign a new deal and Eiltling to a Chinese club as he wanted to speak to them.

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20 minutes ago, quee said:

Any idea why it is spelled as ArenA?

I might be wrong but since it is publicly owned, it could very well be A for Amsterdam. The fact that Ajax also starts with the same letter is a plus.

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16 hours ago, Arsenal71 said:

Can you do a Ajax formation and tactical play philosophy or point me in the right direction? Great depth of info on the above.  unfortunately i lost Veltman in Jan as he wasnt going to sign a new deal and Eiltling to a Chinese club as he wanted to speak to them.

Basically, if you want to stay true to the Ajax philosophy, there are three distinct systems to choose from, combined with a few non-optional philosophical 'rules':

4-3-3

This is the classic, or traditional, version of Ajax's system. Basically at least one ball playing defender, full backs if you play with wingers, wing backs if you play with inside forwards, one defensive midfielder (either a deep lying playmaker, half back or defensive midfielder), two MC's (possibly box-to-box combined with a more creative role), AML and AMR's (winger if you want the classical '70s style, inside forwards if you want a more modern playstyle) and a ST (complete forward might be best).

3-4-3

This is the most unorthodox formation out of the three posted. An excellent tactical breakdown and adoption for FM can be found here: 

 

4-2-3-1

This is a more modern (Ten Hag) take on the Ajax philosophy which brought Ajax CL success last season. Basically play gegenpressing, sweeper keeper, wing backs, ball playing defenders (or at least one), two central midfielders (one deep lying playmaker, one mezalla I think (the role which links vertical lines of play), inside fowards (AML and AMR), an AMC (I think just a plain attacking midfielder but you could also go for shadow striker) and a ST (either a complete forward or a deep lying forward when playing a shadow striker). I think the difference up front is made by either playing Ziyech or Van de Beek as AMC. If Ziyech, you want a more creative role to get the most out of him. If Van de Beek, then an AMC with overlapping runs deep into the oppositions box makes sense, in which case you want a ST who drops back to make space.

Philosophy

I think your playing philosophy under all circumstances should be:

* Attacking football. You'll want to move the ball up the field as quickly as possible. Always look for vertical space rather than horizontal, unless the ball is moved further up the pitch by triangles.

* Pressing football. If you lose the ball, win it back asap. You want to press as high up the pitch as possible, force the opposition to make a mistake and then pounce.

* Move your defenders high up the pitch to allow for high pressing. Also don't be scared to have your defenders step out of their defensive positions to break up attacks one line further forward.

* Outscore your opponent. It's okay to concede, it happens when you play a high defensive line with a lot of space behind your defenders. Just make sure to always score one more goal than your opponent.

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34 minutes ago, Pablo Sanchez said:

Haaland should be number one target

Two things about Haaland:

I don't think he fits Ajax particularly well. He has relatively low technique which makes him at the very least an a-typical Ajax striker.

Also, he doesn't want to join Ajax at the start of the game, even though his transfer fee (around 20-25M) is very reasonable.

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31 minutes ago, Chef Raekwon said:

Two things about Haaland:

I don't think he fits Ajax particularly well. He has relatively low technique which makes him at the very least an a-typical Ajax striker.

Also, he doesn't want to join Ajax at the start of the game, even though his transfer fee (around 20-25M) is very reasonable.

Agree and disagree at the same time, if you think of Huntelaar, he isn't the most gifted technical player and he is not the only example of strikers passed through Ajax. Think of Kanu also in the 1995-96 UCL winning team.

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Not played FM since 2018, but thought I'd get it this year. Started on the beta with Ajax, just thought I'd just give a small update after the first transfer window.

 

Didn't sell anyone of note, and brought in 

Thuler for £10M from Flamengo, Thomas Buitink for £14M, Juan Cruz Komar for £4.2M from Tallares (Board seemed pleased with the price), Dominik Szoboszlai for £13M (settled in really well), Lucas Robertone for £4.2M (again board were pleased), and Fredrik Andre Bjorkan from Bodo/Glimt for £1.3M.

Results:

Super Cup:-

Ajax 4-0 PSV (Promes x2, Ziyech, Buitink)

Eredivise:-

Currently sat 3 points clear at the top of the Eredivisie

Ajax 0-0 FC Twente

FC Utrecht 0-2 Ajax [Ziyech, Szoboszlai]

Ajax 2-0 VVV-Venlo [Szoboszlai, Schafer OG]

Vitesse 1-2 Ajax [Linssen - Mazraoui, Gravenberch)

Feyenoord 1-2 Ajax [Toornstra - Tadic, Promes]

Champions League Qual:-

Ludogorets 0-2 Ajax [Ziyech, Marin]

Ajax 1-0 Ludogorets [Labyad]

 Ajax 4-3 Dundalk [Ziyech, Gravenberch, De Beek x2 - Kelly, Benson, Hoban]

 Dundalk 0-1 Ajax [Ziyech]

 I was on a lovely run without conceding in all competitions until bloody Dundalk went and ruined it by putting 3 past us.

We have drawn Bayern Munich, Valencia and Lokomotiv Moscow in Group B, Tricky group but could possibly snatch 2nd with a bit of good fortune.

As for a standout performer for me so far has to be Ziyech, without his goals we'd not be in the best of places. Gravenberch has surprised me too with some great performances.

So far Tadic has been a huge disappointment for me, hoping he picks up some kind of form. Also forgot to mention Talles Magno will join in July 2020, and Matias Arezo will join in January 2021.

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11 hours ago, Chef Raekwon said:

Two things about Haaland:

I don't think he fits Ajax particularly well. He has relatively low technique which makes him at the very least an a-typical Ajax striker.

Also, he doesn't want to join Ajax at the start of the game, even though his transfer fee (around 20-25M) is very reasonable.

He can join in Jan

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Decided to try an Ajax save for the first time and only got Buitnik in so far and trying to sell de jong. Going with a 442 with wingers and looking forward to the save and see how it progresses.

lots of good young talent in the club and will send the scouts out to find some more.

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Started my own save game last night, as I always wait for the full game and editor to arrive. Made some improvements to the DB (wages, set PA's, fiddled a bit with positions, redistributed some player attributes, added favourite staff etc.) and started a new save. Started as Ajax and Holland manager, really want to play with Frenkie, Matthijs, Gini, Virgil and Memphis. Have only played a few (in-game) days, but so far did the following:

  • Made Juan Castillo's loan move permanent.
  • Am currently scouting a lot of Dutch prospects, as I want this save to focus on the development of the Eredivisie and Dutch football in general. 
  • Fired some staff members and hired a few more (hard to find good staff this year!)
  • Set individual training assignments for all players.
  • Created my own tactics this year, inspired by Ten Hag's formation in the past two years.
  • Sold van Leer for 1,7M to Köln.
  • Attempting to sell S. de Jong, Thetani, Solomons, van Bladeren and ter Heide before they either have their contracts terminated or leave on free transfers.

The first iteration of my tactics are as follows:

  • Gegenpress; narrow shape and highest possible defensive line and line of engagement. Overlapping flanks but playing the ball through the middle as often as possible.
  • Sweeper Keeper (attack) (Onana) to support my high defensive line. Quick distribution to my playmakers, preferably short kicks.
  • Wing Backs (attack) (Tagliafico and Mazraoui) who, as said, overlap on the flanks. I think I'm opting for whipped crosses for the time being. 
  • Ball playing defender (stopper) (Blind) to push up higher up the pitch. Not sure about this one, but I feel Blind has been consistently and aggresively pushing up the pitch to follow false nines or attack attacking midfielders.
  • Ball playing defender (defend) (Veltman or Alvarez) with regular duties.
  • Deep Lying Playmaker (MC) (support) (Probably Marin) to help transition from defense to attack.
  • Deep Lying Playmaker (MC) (defend) (Not sure yet) to play a bit more in a holding role and act as a relief passing option for forwards.
  • Inside Forwards (attack) (Probably Promes and Ziyech) who can cut inside and score.
  • Shadow Striker (attack) (Van de Beek) to push up the opponents box and score goals.
  • Deep Lying Forward (support) (Tadic) to drop deep to make room for my IF's and SS. 

First friendlies have been good (beat Jong Ajax, Bolton Wanderers and IJsselmeervogels with ease), so I'm excited to see if it carries over into competitive play. 

Edited by Chef Raekwon
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7 hours ago, Chef Raekwon said:

Started my own save game last night, as I always wait for the full game and editor to arrive. Made some improvements to the DB (wages, set PA's, fiddled a bit with positions, redistributed some player attributes, added favourite staff etc.) and started a new save. Started as Ajax and Holland manager, really want to play with Frenkie, Matthijs, Gini, Virgil and Memphis. Have only played a few (in-game) days, but so far did the following:

  • Made Juan Castillo's loan move permanent.
  • Am currently scouting a lot of Dutch prospects, as I want this save to focus on the development of the Eredivisie and Dutch football in general. 
  • Fired some staff members and hired a few more (hard to find good staff this year!)
  • Set individual training assignments for all players.
  • Created my own tactics this year, inspired by Ten Hag's formation in the past two years.
  • Sold van Leer for 1,7M to Köln.
  • Attempting to sell S. de Jong, Thetani, Solomons, van Bladeren and ter Heide before they either have their contracts terminated or leave on free transfers.

The first iteration of my tactics are as follows:

  • Gegenpress; narrow shape and highest possible defensive line and line of engagement. Overlapping flanks but playing the ball through the middle as often as possible.
  • Sweeper Keeper (attack) (Onana) to support my high defensive line. Quick distribution to my playmakers, preferably short kicks.
  • Wing Backs (attack) (Tagliafico and Mazraoui) who, as said, overlap on the flanks. I think I'm opting for whipped crosses for the time being. 
  • Ball playing defender (stopper) (Blind) to push up higher up the pitch. Not sure about this one, but I feel Blind has been consistently and aggresively pushing up the pitch to follow false nines or attack attacking midfielders.
  • Ball playing defender (defend) (Veltman or Alvarez) with regular duties.
  • Deep Lying Playmaker (MC) (support) (Probably Marin) to help transition from defense to attack.
  • Deep Lying Playmaker (MC) (defend) (Not sure yet) to play a bit more in a holding role and act as a relief passing option for forwards.
  • Inside Forwards (attack) (Probably Promes and Ziyech) who can cut inside and score.
  • Shadow Striker (attack) (Van de Beek) to push up the opponents box and score goals.
  • Deep Lying Forward (support) (Tadic) to drop deep to make room for my IF's and SS. 

First friendlies have been good (beat Jong Ajax, Bolton Wanderers and IJsselmeervogels with ease), so I'm excited to see if it carries over into competitive play. 

Hello Chef,

Can you show us what PA's you set? Also, can you show us the staff's you hired? As you said, this year it's very hard to find good staff.

Thanks

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9 hours ago, gpassosbh said:

Hello Chef,

Can you show us what PA's you set? Also, can you show us the staff's you hired? As you said, this year it's very hard to find good staff.

Thanks

The list is too long to manually copy and because I wasn't part of the Dutch research team this year, I don't want to step on any toes there. As said, I kept PA's (95%) within the limits of their original range (so -7 is 110 to 140, I'm assigning a PA somewhere in that range. Two notable exceptions were Noa Lang and Carel Eiting. I gave Lang a slightly higher PA and Eiting a slightly higher CA (and shuffled some attributes around to mold him to player I think he is in real life).

As for staff, I hired Dennis Bergkamp (assistant manager U19 after I fired the former assistant), Pedro Jaro (gk coach), Michael Lindeman (fitness coach) and Fabio Micarelli (coach). 

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16 hours ago, Chef Raekwon said:

The list is too long to manually copy and because I wasn't part of the Dutch research team this year, I don't want to step on any toes there. As said, I kept PA's (95%) within the limits of their original range (so -7 is 110 to 140, I'm assigning a PA somewhere in that range. Two notable exceptions were Noa Lang and Carel Eiting. I gave Lang a slightly higher PA and Eiting a slightly higher CA (and shuffled some attributes around to mold him to player I think he is in real life).

As for staff, I hired Dennis Bergkamp (assistant manager U19 after I fired the former assistant), Pedro Jaro (gk coach), Michael Lindeman (fitness coach) and Fabio Micarelli (coach). 

Thanks Chef.

How your tactic doing so far? Have you used the Gegenpress presets to start? 

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  • 1 month later...
On 02/01/2020 at 16:31, gpassosbh said:

People are no longer excited about a save with Ajax?

I'm considering starting one this week! Is anyone else managing them at the minute?

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The opening post and potential signings inspired me to start a save as AZ Alkmaar :D

Playing a formation suggested in the opening  posts too, trying to get a 3-6-1 formation going.  It's more of a 3-1-4-1-1 and it's great to watch.  Still 2 games remaining of the first season and Ajax are already champions, we are already guaranteed 2nd place above PSV though.  Actually signed Naci Unuvar from Ajax too who looks a great prospect.

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  • 1 month later...
1 hour ago, Irn Rvd said:

What tactic did you end up using?

I've created a 3-4-3 with a libero (Blind), wingbacks and two wide attackers. Its still a WIP but its coming along OK so far. Unbeaten, but after that 7-0 win, the league game against PSV finished 1-0 to us. 

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2 hours ago, Gary_Parker said:

I've created a 3-4-3 with a libero (Blind), wingbacks and two wide attackers. Its still a WIP but its coming along OK so far. Unbeaten, but after that 7-0 win, the league game against PSV finished 1-0 to us. 

nice! Hope it turns out great.

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15 hours ago, Gary_Parker said:

Thanks

It looks like this now, few tweaks made to the instructions

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Any PI's? I will test this in my second tactic slot. 

Does your RMD get space in behind with the higher line of engagement and prevent GK short dist?

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18 minutes ago, Irn Rvd said:

Any PI's? I will test this in my second tactic slot. 

Does your RMD get space in behind with the higher line of engagement and prevent GK short dist?

no PI's so far no. 

He gets decent space, but i'm considering changing his role to an IW and the forward to an F9 perhaps. Trying to maximise the space I have given i've pushed people up. Still tweaking :lol:

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9 minutes ago, Gary_Parker said:

no PI's so far no. 

He gets decent space, but i'm considering changing his role to an IW and the forward to an F9 perhaps. Trying to maximise the space I have given i've pushed people up. Still tweaking :lol:

I can imagine ajax will be playing against 11 players camped in the box for most of the season lolol

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27 minutes ago, Irn Rvd said:

I can imagine ajax will be playing against 11 players camped in the box for most of the season lolol

I think so too, but we don't give them space to exploit either and have enough players in good areas to be able to stretch the play and win the ball back high up, we're doing OK so far anyway,

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Currently setting up my Ajax save. The update really motivated me to give Ajax another go. My save with them on fm19 was really enjoyable. Finally I can play with Tadic, Ziyech, Neres, Gravenberch, Schuurs, Brobbey etc. again. So many great youngsters.

Dest and Naci look fantastic

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17E9F7902368AA910263366C3B68501B9A15AD6D

Whilst the previous 3-4-3 formation was winning games, I just wasn't able to get the Libero operating how I wanted him, pushing into midfield and playing some good key passes. So i've reverted to the above.

My best player so far

9AF4B431B5735D3E742C886981AF1472B3BDB02A

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  • 1 month later...

Anyone playing with Ajax on the winter update? I'm looking to start with them. Anyone has recommendations for a central defender and a defensive midfielder?

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2 hours ago, wouterb said:

Anyone playing with Ajax on the winter update? I'm looking to start with them. Anyone has recommendations for a central defender and a defensive midfielder?

With Alvarez and Martinez you don't need a central defender, but in your youth teams you can mould a few. Julius Dicksen, Schuurs, Rensch and Kasanwirjo are all capable, though their PA is a bit variable. Defensive midfielder, depending on the role you want them to play, some of these lads have DM as a position too. Youri Regeer and Kenneth Taylor fit that mould as well. 

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5 hours ago, wouterb said:

Anyone playing with Ajax on the winter update? I'm looking to start with them. Anyone has recommendations for a central defender and a defensive midfielder?

van Drongelen at Hamburg is a class CB

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  • 3 weeks later...
23 minutes ago, Gary_Parker said:

D01508E0F0EB2C1837693DB219C8E0C50F9FA604

Conceded my first goal in late November away at NAC. Proud of the achievement, though I feel I was entirely FM'd in the process

910C4F4FE0E871257E17094EA94FD3989452CA14

Great results so far.

Which tactic are you using?

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2 hours ago, gpassosbh said:

Great results so far.

Which tactic are you using?

I'm using as 4-3-3 with a DM in a Tiki Taka style, very short controlled passing etc. 

 

22849B210CFF8817EB23514AE4EE906852E6D5DF

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  • 2 months later...

I just bought FM'20 yesterday (Yeah, I'm late for the party), and Ajax will be my first save. 

I think it's the perfect team to get to learn all the new mechanics with. 

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So... My Ajax save is going smoothy. It's December 2019, and I'm sitting first in the league, five points clear of number two with a game in hand. My Champions League group (after eliminating Cluj & Rosenborg in the qualifying rounds) consists of Chelsea, RB Salzburg & Lokomotiv Moscow. I'm currently sitting second after four matches with one win (4-1 win vs Moscow, 0-0 draw vs Salzburg, 0-2 loss and 1-1 draw both against Chelsea). 

I haven't sold anyone, although Ziyech will be leaving for Chelsea in the summer. 

Players brought in: Lincoln, Flamengo (£6 million), Antonio Marin, Dinamo (£6,25 million), Lovro Majer, Dinamo (£2,5 million), Sigurd Grønli (£975k) and Juan Cruz Komar (£5,5 mil). Manor Solomon is joining me in January for £9 million. 

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I just finished the first season. I bought this players: Olivier Ntcham (will sell him again, doesn't suit very well), Zaracho and in January Kana. Won the Eredivisie with only 3 loses and 1 draw, was pretty easy even with a lot of rotations. Also won the dutch cup.

In the Champions League I was lucky in the groupstages. Finished with the same amount of points as Valencia, but won 1-2 in Spain and lost 0-1 at home against them. Manchester City won the group with 6 wins and Atalanta finished last. In the 1st knock-out round I lost against Benfica.

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I won the league quite convincingly, the Cup and the Super Cup. Somehow I made it to the Champions League final, but lost 0-1 to Liverpool.

Second season is sort of a mess. I've sold David Neres to Bayern for £40 mil and Daley Blind to Arsenal for £50 mil. Didn't really want to, but they wanted to go and it was a lot of money. For season two I've brought in Evander, FC Midtjylland £9 mil, Juan Castillo from Chelsea mad his loan permanent, Wuilker Farinez, Millionarios £2mil, Jesper Schendelaar, AZ £10 mil, Lucas Ramos, Internacional, £9,25 mil and Adam Hlozek, Sparta Prague for £9 mil. 

My CL Group consists of me, PSG, Shakthar and RB Leipzig. Ouch. 

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20 hours ago, Gungner said:

I won the league quite convincingly, the Cup and the Super Cup. Somehow I made it to the Champions League final, but lost 0-1 to Liverpool.

Second season is sort of a mess. I've sold David Neres to Bayern for £40 mil and Daley Blind to Arsenal for £50 mil. Didn't really want to, but they wanted to go and it was a lot of money. For season two I've brought in Evander, FC Midtjylland £9 mil, Juan Castillo from Chelsea mad his loan permanent, Wuilker Farinez, Millionarios £2mil, Jesper Schendelaar, AZ £10 mil, Lucas Ramos, Internacional, £9,25 mil and Adam Hlozek, Sparta Prague for £9 mil. 

My CL Group consists of me, PSG, Shakthar and RB Leipzig. Ouch. 

Great results! How did you replace Ziyech and Neres? How's Anthony for you? And what system are you playing?

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