Video: Ryan Gravenberch • Ajax • Wonderkid Midfielder
Ryan Gravenberch is a Dutch midfield wonderkid who plays for Holland and Ajax.
Ryan Gravenberch is a Dutch midfield wonderkid who plays for Holland and Ajax.
Dutchman Peter Bosz is set to replace Thomas Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund after the two clubs agreed a €5 million fee.
The 53-year-old’s first managerial post was at Vitesse in 2013. He helped them qualify for Europe in his first season.
He then had a brief stint at Maccabi Tel-Aviv, where he was undefeated before joining Ajax for the start if the 2016-17 season.
His first year with Ajax was impressive to say the least. Falling shot of winning the Dutch league by a single point and making it all the way to the Europa League Final, where they were defeated by Manchester United.
It now looks like the Ajax project is over and Bosz will move to the German side to manage a new talented set of youngsters, including Julian Weigl, Christian Pulisic, Emre Mor and Alexander Isak.
Bosz insist on Barcelona style attacking football with pressing from the front. This will be exactly what Dortmund would be looking for as they look to challange Bayern Munich.
Dortmund finished the 2016-17 Bundesliga season in third place, behind RB Leipzig.
The 19-year-old Ajax youngster’s below par performance might have put some clubs off signing him just yet, but some clubs would have thought he has shown enough promise over the season to make a move for the Dane this summer.
Dolberg had an otherwise fantastic debut season in Amsterdam, scoring 23 goals from 47 appearances.
Manchester City, AC Milan and RB Leipzig are also reported to be the clubs watching at the final.
Matthijs De Ligt is one of a new generation of Dutch players to emerge this season, an accomplished defender who The Netherlands and Ajax will be looking to build a ‘new’ team around in the coming years.
Born in 1999, de Ligt joined Ajax aged nine and has always played above his age group due to his level of performances.
A regular for Jong Ajax in 2015/16 playing in the Under-19 Eredivisie, the 16-year-old impressed with his reading of the game and his calmness under pressure.
Trained and travelled with the first team on a number of occasions before making his first start for Ajax and scoring from a corner, this made him Ajax’s second youngest ever goal scorer.
A sting of impressive performances saw De Ligt receive his first called up to the senior Netherlands squad. The game was a 2-0 loss to Bulgaria which saw then manager Danny Blind sacked. It might not have been a success for the team, but it saw De Ligt come on as a half time substitute for his debut.
The young defender has all the attributes to be a world class ball playing centre back. His tacking, passing and aerial ability are all great assist in modern day football.
He can win back the ball with easy with his ability to read the game.
As with most of the players who graduate from the Ajax academy, De Ligt is very comfortable on the ball and at the time of writing has an 87% pass completion rate.
De Ligt timing when making tackles and ability to read the game and win the ball back are exceptional for a player his age.
His aerial ability both defensively and offensively is also a key attribute. As mentioned above his first goal for Ajax came from a corner.
But his main strength is his passing ability and how he can start attacks from the back.
Although he can read the game well a lack of experience sometimes leads to mistakes.
Sometimes long passes are over hit or attempted when it would be better to play it safe
These weaknesses should be improved with more experience and game time and that is exactly what he is getting at Ajax.
The experience of this season and the way he has performed should have been enough to guarantee him more game time next season before moving to a bigger club in one of Europe’s top 5 leagues
His style of play would be a perfect fit for Spanish football but this added to his physical attributes would see him adapt nicely to the English Premier League…….and I’m sure Pep will have been watching as he looks to replace Vincent Kompany.
After being named in the youngest ever side in Eredivisie history last weekend, De Ligt will be hoping for some game time in the Europa League Final on May 24th against Manchester United in Stockholm. If selected he will become the youngest Dutchman to appear in a European final.
The youngster doesn’t lack confidance…. When asked bout facing Paul Pogba and his €100 million price-tag, De Lght replied: “You can’t score with a bag money! I have sometimes heard it said by Johan Cruijff.
Even more amazing was that this was also a potential title-winning match, Ajax needing to win at Willem II and hope rivals Feyenoord sliped up against Heracles.
Ajax won their match 3-1 but it was not to be on the day as Dirk Kuyt scored a hat-trick to give Feyenoord their first title since 1999.
The Ajax academy has a reputation for producing some of the best footballers in history with the likes of Frank Rijkaard, Dennis Bergkamp, The de Boer twins and Edwin van der Sar.
Seven of yesterdays starting 11 were products of the Ajax academy, with captain Davy Klaassen the oldest player at just 24 years old.
All eyes will be on Ajax as Peter Bosz young guns take on Manchester United in the Europa League final in Stockholm on May 24.
But who are the best youngsters to look out for.
21-year-old Cameroonian keeper who joined Ajax on a free transfer from Barcelona in 2015 after impressing in the Uefa Youth League match against Ajax. Joined Barca from the Samuel Eto’o Academy aged 13.
Became Ajax number one at the start of the 2016-17 season when Jasper Cillessen left for Onana’s old club Barcelona.
Made his senor debut for Cameroon in a friendly against Gabon in September 2016.
Colombian centre back Sánchez looked set to join Barcelona to play for their B team in 2016 but opted for first team football at Ajax for €5 million.
At just 20-years-old Sanchez has won Copa Libertadores, two Copa Colombia titles and Superliga Colombiana with Atlético Nacional and represented Colombia at the Olympics.
Sanchez has been one of Ajax’s standout performer this season and has attracted interest from big clubs following 6 goals and being named their 2017 Player of the Year.
Became Hollands youngest debutant since 1931 when he came on as a 45 minute substitute against Bulgaria in March.
de Ligt is a ball playing centre back who scored on his Ajax debut making him the 2nd youngest goalscorer ever behind Clarence Seedorf.
Danish forward scored against Lyon as Ajax confirmed their place in the final of the Europa League.
Read more about him in our post Is Kasper Dolberg the next ‘Great Dane’?
Son of Ajax legend Patrick, who scored the winning goal when Ajax last won a European title against AC Milan in 1994.
He is a different type of player to his Father, Patrick was a classic number 9 while Justin is a fast tricky winger.
If selected Justin could be up against Daily Blind whose dad was also part of the 1994 Champions League team with Patrick.
Brazilian who joined from São Paulo in January this year for a reported fee of €12 million, the most expensive foreign signing in Eredivisie history.
Become the 1st player since Luis Suarez to score three goals in his first three Eredivisie starts.
Václav Černý – A Czech forward who was the 2015 Czech Talent of the Year
Abdelhak Nouri – A Dutch midfielder who has long been touted as a future star for Ajax and Holland.
Carel Eiting – An attacking midfielder with bags of skill.
Kasper Dolberg and AFC Ajax have reached the Europa League final following a 5-4 aggregate victory over Olympique Lyonnais.
They lost the second leg 3-1 on Thursday evening; however a 4-1 victory in Amsterdam last Wednesday proved to be enough for them to progress.
Manchester United will be Ajax’s opponents on the 24th May, after they beat Spanish side Celta Vigo 2-1 on aggregate to secure their place in the final.
The final will be the first time that Ajax have reached the last two of a European competition since the 1996 Champions League final, when the Dutch side lost on penalties to Juventus.
One of Ajax’s star performers this season has been 19-year-old striker Kasper Dolberg. The teenager scored Ajax’s only goal in their second leg as well scoring the Dutch side’s second goal last week.
The Danish international has played 45 times for Ajax in all competitions this season, scoring 22 goals and contributing with seven assists.
He is currently the seventh top goal season in the Eredivisie this term, with 15 goals in 28 matches; making him the highest scorer of any teenager in Holland’s top flight.
Dolberg’s superb goal scoring form has not only been domestically, in the Europa League Dolberg has notched six times in 12 matches. Only AS Roma’s Edin Dzeko, Zenit Saint Petersburg’s Guiliano and Athletic Bilbao’s Aritz Aduriz have scored more goals in this competition this campaign.
His goalscoring form this season earnt him his first full international cap for his native Denmark. He made a substitute appearance during their 4-1 victory over Kazakhstan last November.
The teenager’s superb strike rate has seen himself linked with a number of big name clubs. Fellow Europa League finalists United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Italian sides AC Milan and Napoli have all been rumoured to be monitoring Dolberg’s progress.
A move to England would not be a surprise, as four of the 20 players throughout history to have won the Premier League Golden Boot award played in the Eredivisie prior to becoming prolific in England’s top flight.
A move to the Premier League for Dolberg could see him follow the likes of previous Eredivisie talisman to reach their potential in English football, including Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Robin van Persie and Luiz Suarez.
Regardless of whether Dolberg leaves Amsterdam in the Summer, he has proved this season just what he is capable of.
Can he follow the likes Peter Schmiechel, Michael Laudrup and Jon Dahl Tomasson to become the next ‘Great Dane’?
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