A Letter From Amsterdam: To Zwolle and back

In A Letter From Amsterdam we take a brief weekly look at what’s going on within the Ajax camp, insights into the players, the latest team news and anything else worth mentioning.

A week ago, Ajax played two friendly fixtures on the same day; a thrilling 5-1 victory against Bundesliga high-flyers RB Leipzig, in which most of the first team participated and included goals by El Ghazi and Dolberg, along with a superb hat-trick from Younes. That was a stark contrast to the 3-1 loss suffered at the hands of Excelsior. Although that Ajax squad contained many of the understudies, it was a dull defeat nonetheless.

Looking to Sunday’s away fixture against PEC Zwolle now, where second meet sixteenth in the Eredivisie. Ajax will be hoping and praying that Feyenoord drop points against Roda JC, giving them the opportunity to move to within 3 points of the leaders.

Vaclav Cerný is sidelined with a back injury he still hasn’t recovered from, while Bertrand Traoré is away with Burkino Faso at the African Cup of Nations. Other than that there are no fresh absentees from the squad. André Onana has passed fit after recovering from a bout of illness which he came down with on Friday. Good news for him, not so much for Tim Krul. The Newcastle United loanee could’ve made his official debut for Ajax, but was informed earlier this week that boss Peter Bosz isn’t planning on dropping Onana from the starting XI in the second half of the Eredivisie season. Better yet, Krul isn’t even part of the squad for tomorrow’s game.

Despite heavy rumors of a January transfer, Anwar El Ghazi is. Reliable sources claim the winger is close to completing a €7 million move to French side Lille, but that hasn’t held Bosz from calling him up.

Justin Kluivert also made the team.

The 21 players in the squad for PEC Zwolle:

André Onana
Diederik Boer
Kenny Tete
Joel Veltman
Davinson Sanchez
Daley Sinkgraven
Heiko Westermann
Nick Viergever
Mitchell Dijks
Matthijs de Ligt
Jaïro Riedewald
Davy Klaassen
Lasse Schöne
Hakim Ziyech
Donny van de Beek
Abdelhak Nouri
Anwar El Ghazi
Amin Younes
Mateo Cassierra
Kasper Dolberg
Justin Kluivert

In other news, youth player Franco Antonucci (17) left Ajax for AS Monaco in a deal worth €3 million. The Monacan side reportedly made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Antonucci joined Ajax from Anderlecht in 2015. And while Ajax are struggling to find a suitable South American winger, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar admitted he would never rule out a return to Amsterdam. Marc Overmars was quick to reply, stating that a motivated and hungry Hunter would be more than welcome.

That’s all for this week. While you wait for tomorrow’s game to begin, enjoy some of the highlights of the last time we met PEC Zwolle.

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