The Daily Gossip: Transfer window roundup

So there we have it. A month has come and gone, and while clubs have 31 days to do their business it seems like 99% of it is conducted within the final 24 hours. The January transfer window is always a guarantee for wild rumors, crazy last-minute deals and sheer panic. And we love it. For this week’s edition of The Daily Gossip, we’ll leave the rumors for what they are and take a closer look at the completed incoming and outgoing Ajax transfers.

INCOMING TRANSFERS

Will he? Won’t he? €10 million? €15 million? It was a real rollercoaster of stories and rumors when it comes to David Neres, but on the 31st of January the deal was finally confirmed. Ajax had landed their number one target, resulting in a plethora of YouTube videos about the new Neymar.

In the end, the Amsterdammers paid €12 million (plus €3 million in variables) for 80% ownership of the young Brazilian winger, who put pen to paper on a contract until 2021. Marc Overmars admitted Ajax had been chasing Neres for quite some time, giving the fans some degree of comfort that it wasn’t a rushed and rash decision.

Neres is a right winger who is adept at playing on the left wing too. It is rumored that his ball control is extraordinary and his ability to ghost past defenders immense. A lot will depent on how Neres manages to acclimatize in both Holland and the Eredivise, but one thing is for certain – all the ingredients are present for this to be an excellent signing.

Who is David Neres, anyway?

It wouldn’t be a successful transfer window without Ajax signing a wunderkind. Lo and behold, the club managed to sign a few of them. One such player is teen star Szabolcs Schön. The 16-year-old midfielder has been making big waves for Hungarian side Budapest Honved and is expected to have a bright future in the beautiful game. Chelsea took the Hungarian on trial in the summer and were planning on offering him a contract. However, because of Ajax’ reputation for providing opportunities, Schön chose to further his career in Amsterdam as opposed to London.

Another talented Hungarian kid, Olivér Horváth, signed for Ajax on the same day as his mate Schön. The left winger, born in 2000, will likely join the Ajax u17 side.

The very first signing for Ajax in the January transfer window was Mateusz Gorski. Gorski is a talented Polish goalkeeper who came over from FC Wrocław Academy and has represented various Polish youth teams thus far. The 16 year old signed a deal until 2019.

OUTGOING TRANSFERS

Another protracted transfer which seemed to take an eternity; Anwar El Ghazi left Ajax for pastures new, which he ultimately found in Lille. The French club paid Ajax a fee of €9 million for his services. A surprising move, as El Ghazi swaps the Amsterdam side for a substandard French club struggling in Ligue 1. Undoubtedly, his poor relationship with manager Peter Bosz – even resulting in a demotion to Jong Ajax for a month – played a big part in his decision.

Mitchell Dijks leaving the club wasn’t really a theme until the last couple of days of the window. While it was evident Bosz gave preference to Sinkgraven over Dijks, the left-back never spoke of a transfer in public.

Along came Norwich City. Dijks rejected an initial offer from the Championship side but eventually agreed to a loan deal for six months. The Canaries even managed to negotiate an option to buy at the end of the season.

The story of Tim Krul and Ajax is a sad one. Ajax were delighted to secure the services of the Newcastle United goalie after Cillessen’s departure to Barcelona, but didn’t count on his rehabilitation being as lengthy as it was and, even more important, André Onana’s meteoric rise to stardom. With chances of breaking into the starting XI slim to none, Krul and Ajax decided to part ways. In his search for first team football, the Dutch goalkeeper completed a loan move to AZ Alkmaar on the last day of the transfer window.

Ajax finally waved goodbye to Nemanja Gudelj, as he made a €5 million move to Chinese club Tianjin Teda. Whilst a January departure was expected following Nemanja’s frank admission of a lack of motivation, the fact his destination ended up being China was somewhat of a shock. Money sure as hell does talk.

Another surprise move was the transfer of youth player Franco Antonucci to AS Monaco. The Ligue 1 side did a heavy sales job on the youngster by promising him a shortcut to first team football. The talented midfielder is considered somewhat of a starlet and his departure could come back to haunt Ajax one day.

Back in december, it was announced Riechedly Bazoer had signed a four-and-a-half year contract with German side VfL Wolfsburg. Bazoer, capped six times by the Netherlands, had lost his place in the Ajax team under Peter Bosz, leading to him looking for a transfer away from the Eredivisie side.

So there you have it. The full list of confirmed transfers during the January window. Ajax finally managed to land a winger, but following the departure of Dijks the squad is still fairly unbalanced as we head into the final half of the season. Unfortunately the transfer of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar didn’t take place nor did the arrival of Ridgeciano Haps from AZ Alkmaar. Both would have made for great additions and I have a strong suspicion that they’ll be high on the shortlist when summer comes. All in all, it’s fair to say Ajax have the personnel to mount a serious title challenge and who knows, possibly go on a European cup run. All will be revealed within the next 3-4 months.

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