Whilst Ajax sporting director Overmars stated that it would be difficult to keep hold of the likes of De Ligt and De Jong earlier in the campaign, he would never have predicted the incredible season that the Dutch giants would have in Europe.
As such, with De Ligt looking set to leave and De Jong on his way to Barcelona in July, Ajax will have a mission on their hands to keep hold of their remaining nine starters. A starting line-up that cost 50 million euros could leave for 300m euros, including the 75m euros Barcelona paid for De Jong.
Ajax are already planning for next season and have signed the promising midfielder Razvan Marin from Standard Liege, as well as the Dutch-American centre-back Kik Pierie from Heerenveen, while they are considering a move for Real Madrid starlet Martin Odegaard after his impressive loan spell with Vitesse.
Frenkie de Jong: Barca beat Man City and PSG to his signature
Barcelona paid a total of 75m euros, plus 11m euros in variables, to sign the player who makes this current Ajax side tick: Frenkie de Jong.
Both Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain were determined to sign the 21-year-old, but he opted for the Camp Nou. “He will be a key piece,” said Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, “[Johan] Cruyff started a path that De Jong is now following. With his arrival, we’ve added talent, youth and style.”
The Dutchman can play in any of the three midfield positions.
Matthijs de Ligt: Ajax captain with plenty of admirers around Europe
Following on from De Jong, the spotlight is now firmly pointed towards Matthijs de Ligt. “I don’t know if he will join Bayern [Munich] or Barcelona,” Erik ten Hag, Ajax’s head coach, said a few days ago.
Juventus have also been watching the 19-year-old, as well as Real Madrid in the last few days. His price will be similar to De Jong’s, particularly given his potential and age. De Ligt’s talent was recognised by the Italian newspaper Tuttosport last year as he was named as their ‘Golden Boy’ for 2018.
His goal against Juventus, which sealed Ajax’s progression to the semi-finals, saw him become the Dutch side’s youngest goalscorer in the Champions League at 19 years and 246 days, beating Nordin Wooter’s record from 1996.
Andre Onana: Has just renewed his contract and looks set to stay
The goalkeeper had several offers on the table, including Barcelona – whom he played with in the B team – as they looked to find a replacement for former Ajax shot-stopper Jasper Cillessen, who looks set to depart the Camp Nou this summer.
However, the Cameroonian decided to renew his contract with the Dutch side and looks set to stay at the Johan Cruyff Arena for another season at least.
Noussair Mazraoui: A right-back that is attracting attention from the Premier League
The 21-year-old was unable to play in either leg of the quarter-final against Juventus, first because of suspension and then due to injury, but there is no denying his importance to the side.
Noussair Mazraoui scored against Bayern Munich (1-1) and Benfica (1-0), and while he recently renewed his contract, the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool are all following him closely.
Nico Tagliafico: On the agenda of Atletico Madrid and Arsenal
Ajax signed the left-back from Independiente for four million euros in January 2018 and since then, his value has grown rapidly.
In the January transfer window, Real Betis enquired about Nico Tagliafico’s availability, but Arsenal – whom Overmars is going to become sporting director for from next summer – and Atletico Madrid now appear to have the advantage in the race to sign the Argentine.
David Neres: Almost went to China for 43m euros
The 12m euro fee that Ajax paid for David Neres, making him the club’s second most expensive signing in their history, raised a few eyebrows at the time.
Last season, however, he broke out and showed what he can do with 14 goals and 13 assists in the Eredivisie. He started this campaign slowly and almost joined Guangzhou Evergrande for 43m euros in January, but his performances against Real Madrid reinvigorated his confidence.
He will be decisive in this final stretch of the season.
Dusan Tadic: Could leave for triple what he cost
Ajax did not hesitate when it came to signing Dusan Tadic from Southampton for 11.4m euros last summer, with the Serb “tired of the Premier League.”
Now the Dutch giants would be able to command triple that fee. Tadic has played excellently in a role that sees him either playing ‘false nine’ or slightly further back.
Donny van de Beek: The B2B midfielder who is liked by Real Madrid
The 22-year-old has specialised in scoring important goals in this year’s Champions League, finding the back of the net against Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Juventus.
Donny van de Beek’s performances have done enough to earn Los Blancos’ attention, with his ability to arrive in the box at the right time reminiscent of former Chelsea great Frank Lampard, while his intelligence to read the game make him a valuable asset in the Ajax midfield.
His skillset would be perfect for the Premier League and, as such, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have his name on their wish list.
Hakim Ziyech: Bayern are considering a move for the Moroccan
Similarly to Tadic, Hakim Ziyech joined Ajax from FC Twente for 11m euros and could leave for around 40m euros this summer.
That is the figure the Dutch side are demanding from Bayern Munich, who are interested in the playmaker.