Three Ajax players to watch out for against Tottenham
Who can cause Tottenham problems in the Champions League?
Tottenham Hotspur host AFC Ajax at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday night.
The Dutch club have been the surprise package of UEFA’s elite club competition this season, knocking out Real Madrid and Juventus on their route to the last four.
Captained by 19-year-old youth product Matthijs de Ligt, Ajax have a whole lot of talent in their latest crop. But which three stars hold the key to Ajax’s chances and pose the biggest threat to Spurs’ Champions League dreams?
The former Southampton attacking midfielder has reached new heights at the Dutch giants since his summer move for a rumoured £10m.
Despite turning 30 in November, and being one of the oldest on the Ajax team sheet, his stats for the season speak for themselves.
With 34 goals and 17 assists in all competitions for club and country this season, he’s bagged his best return in one season of his entire career. In his four seasons at the South Coast club, he only managed to find the net 23 times.
His instrumental showing at the Bernabeu with one goal and two assists to topple Real Madrid will long last in the memory. His quickly-formed relationship with the rest of the Ajax attacking line has drastically improved his link-up play, and his eye for a pass could tear the Spurs defence apart.
He’s been Tadic’s right-hand man this season, quite literally, with the Moroccan international usually cutting in from the right wing.
The former FC Twente man has gone under the radar somewhat this season due to the emergence of youth and Tadic’s form. But he’s grabbed 16 goals and 12 of his own in the Eredivisie, stats that would normally give you the Player of the Year award.
With a wand of a left foot, and the potential to strike rocket shots towards goal, it’s no wonder many of Europe’s elite are linked with a move for Ajax’s number 22. He’s proven he can do it at the top level too, bagging a pair of goals over the two legs against reigning champions Real Madrid.
Frenkie de Jong
It tells you a lot about a player when one of the world’s biggest and best football clubs come in with £65m+ to sign a 21-year-old who has played only a century of professional games.
Usually sat in a central role, he has the perfect blend of attacking prowess and defensive capabilities. His tracking back provides an extra man in the back-line when needed, while his runs from deep into the box create an additional dilemma for the defending side.
Much like Tadic, de Jong can spot a defence-splitting pass a mile off, and although he’s not picked up many goals or assists this season, he’s played some key passes which have contributed to the start of a goalscoring attack. Spurs will need to have him guarded at all times.
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