Ajax director of football Marc Overmars has explained why David Neres and Nicolas Tagliafico didn’t leave Amsterdam in the transfer window despite interest from Premier League clubs Leeds United, West Ham and Leicester City, speaking to Ajax TV.
The Eredivisie champions have never struggled to sell key players in the past.
Since summer 2017, Davinson Sanchez, Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong, Hakim Ziyech, Donny van de Beek, Jairo Riedewald, Justin Kluivert, Kasper Dolberg and Sergino Dest have all left the Johan Cruyff Arena for fees ranging from £8 million to £65 million.
You get the idea.
But with the covid-19 pandemic changing the picture, Ajax suddenly found big-money offers in short supply this transfer window.
Leeds and West Ham eyed Nicolas Tagliafico
“He’s been here for four and a half years so it was the right time for him to move to a new club,” Overmars says of Brazil international winger Neres, a reported late-summer target for Leicester (Ajax Showtime).
“It’s disappointing it didn’t work. Many clubs wanted to sign him.”
Tagliafico, meanwhile, appeared to be on his way to the Premier League on two separate occasions this year.
Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United held talks in April, via AS, before settling on the younger, more athletic Junior Firpo instead.
The £12 million-rated left-back then agreed a move to West Ham four months later only for a deadline-day deal to collapse due to what TMW described as “bureaucratic” issues.
“That has to do with how the world looks,” Overmars said. “(If it wasn’t for covid, Tagliafico) would have found a decent club long ago. I don’t mind if he stays. I’m happy with it.
“I think Nico is on the radar of many clubs – but not always the number one (choice).”