Beaten Europa League-finalists Ajax Amsterdam have one of the most successful youth academies in all of Europe, and despite a recent lull of top level prospects — although Davinson Sánchez, Davy Klaassen, and Jaïro Riedewald all moved to the Premier League last summer for a combined €78m — continue to churn out future talent on a regular basis.
One of the latest in that production line is 20-year-old midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who joined from Willem II two years ago and was voted the Dutch second division’s player of the year last season at Jong Ajax. According to Dutch magazine Voetbal International, big clubs such as Chelsea, Manchester City and Bayern Munich are keen on the youngster's services while other noted buyers of young talent, like Hamburg and RB Leipzig are also on the case.
The latest achievement by De Jong, who played the final ten minutes of the aforementioned Europa League final, was setting up three goals in Ajax's 5-1 trouncing of Roda in the Eredivisie. Although the limelight was mostly on Juston Kluivert's hat-trick (that last name should ring a bell), De Jong also played an integral part in the match and in just 45 minutes.
Although De Jong's focus is to "play now", surely the lure of big clubs such as Chelsea and City will turn his head sooner or later. That may not happen this season just yet, but this probably isn’t the last time we’ll hear of him. Gotta keep the Loan Army well stocked, after all!