These players have already caught the attention of some of the European giants.
AFC Ajax is renowned for producing prodigious talents regularly. They have a robust youth setup in place. The club is very particular with respect to following its ideology. They regularly field a team that comprises of players that they have consciously honed. From Frenkie de Jong, Matthias de Ligt to Donny van de Beek, the club’s players have attained interests from several European bigwigs.
It is fascinating that AFC Ajax seems to seamlessly replace some of their most promising young stars. Hence, it is always interesting to keep an eye on the upcoming youngsters in their roster. We shed light on the same in this article:
5. Ryan Gravenberch
Ryan Gravenberch is an 18-year-old Dutch midfielder. He started five matches in the Eredivisie in 2019-20 season. Gravenberch scored two goals and notched a solitary assist. His passing sense and creative vision are impeccable. He also boasts of a fine first touch. Gravenberch expertly controls the pace of the game from the centre of the park.
He is adept at breaking defensive lines with accurate passes. The lad is often eager to move into goalscoring positions. He maintains a fine balance between his defensive and offensive duties. Gravenberch has earned comparisons to Paul Pogba due to his playing style. However, he will have to prove his mettle in the league in future.
4. Lassina Traore
Lassina Traore hails from West African nation Burkina Faso. He plays as a forward. He joined Ajax in January 2019. Traore regularly turns up for the club’s reserve team. He has scored 22 goals for them in 33 appearances in the second-tier of Dutch football. Traore seems to have a feel for goals. His playing style conveys a ‘fox in the box’ mentality.
The 19-year-old has an uncanny ability to be at the right position at the right time. He can play as a target man upfront. Traore might need to work on his overall link-up play. He started three matches in the previous league season. The striker scored and assisted a couple of goals each. He could soon be drafted into the first-team more often.
3. Perr Schuurs
Perr Schuurs is a centre-back. He is being groomed to become a mainstay in Ajax’s XI. The 20-year-old displays maturity beyond his age on the field. He maintains a composed demeanour in the backline. Schuurs’ concentration remains intact during the entirety of the game. He does not hesitate in putting in a tough challenge when required.
The player is very capable of building the game from the back. In 10 Eredivisie appearances last season, he recorded a passing accuracy of 88.7%. This time around, Schuurs seems to be more proactive defensively. He has put in 2.3 tackles, two interceptions and 2.3 clearances per game in the 2020-21 season so far. The defender could surely flourish with more games under his belt.
2. Kenneth Taylor
Kenneth Taylor has not made his debut for the first-team yet. However, his exploits at the junior levels for Ajax and Netherlands have not gone unnoticed. Taylor is a defensive midfielder. He is energetic and has a dogged attitude. The 18-year-old had joined the club at eight years of age. He is perceived to be a promising leader.
Taylor takes the team along with him. He does not hold back from committing a hard tackle for the benefit of the side. Moreover, the lad is said to be a skilful free-kick taker too. He can play in deep midfield or higher up. He was a part of the Dutch squad that won the UEFA European U-17 Championship in 2019. Taylor is set to don a crucial role in Ajax’s midfield in the next few years, especially after the departure of Donny van de Beek from AFC Ajax.
1. Lisandro Martinez
Lisandro Martinez is 22 years old. He already features regularly in Ajax’s starting XI and is primarily a left-sided defender. However, the Argentine has often been slotted at the centre of the park too. His defensive traits are commendable. Martinez takes a powerful shot and distributes the ball well from the back. He can play short passes and steadily moves the ball ahead.
The player was named in the 2019-20 Eredivisie Team of the Season. His lively approach means that he dispossesses the opposition quite often. Martinez has displayed incredible adaptability in the early stage of his career. In 2019-20, he registered 1.9 tackles and 1.7 interceptions per game in 24 matches in the league.