The club are known for developing players and selling them for huge sums.
AFC Ajax is one of the most famous European clubs in the world. It boasts of incredible history and tradition. The outfit sets a benchmark for several elite teams across the continent in how to develop young players. Its approach to the philosophy of ‘total football’ produces sensational players every year.
Expectedly, many elite European clubs line up to sign young players with potential from Ajax. In the past, the Dutch giants have sold several majestic individuals that went on to have highly successful careers. Keeping up with the tradition, the team recently sold Lisandro Martinez to Manchester United for a hefty transfer fee.
Ajax is a selling club, one that identifies talent, nurtures it and does not stand in their way when they take the next step in their career. Having said that, the club has received huge fees over the course of time while selling players. Here is a look at the top 10 most expensive departures from the club:
10. Luis Suarez – €26.50m
Luis Suarez burst onto the European club football scene at Ajax. The striker moved from the club to Liverpool for €26.5m during the 2010-11 season. The 35-year-old played 157 games for Ajax where he found the net 111 times while also making 66 assists. It was unsurprising to see Suarez score goals for fun later in his career for clubs like FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid after a brilliant spell at Anfield.
9. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar/Davy Klaasen/Wesley Sneijder – €27m
AFC Ajax sold three players (not at the same time) for €27m transfer fee. Striker Klaan-Jan Huntelaar left the club to join Real Madrid back in 2008-09. Davy Klaasen moved to Everton FC during the 2017-18 season. Lastly, Wesley Sneijder moved to Real Madrid during the 2007-08 season. All three had varying degrees of success at their respective clubs but benefited Ajax’s piggybank equally.
8. Sebastian Haller – €31.00m
Sebastian Haller made a name for himself at Ajax after moving to the club from West Ham United. Post scoring 47 goals in 65 games for the Dutch outfit, the striker signed for Borussia Dortmund ahead of the 2022-23 season. The German Bundesliga club had to pay €31m for the services of the 28-year-old.
7. Arkadiusz Milik – €32.00m
Arkadiusz Milik is another striker on the list that left the club for a decent transfer fee. The Polish forward came to Ajax from Bayer Leverkusen in 2014 on loan, which became a permanent move later on. He featured in 75 matches for Ajax, scoring 47 goals and making 21 assists. The 28-year-old signed for SSC Napoli in 2016-17 for €32m.
6. Donny van de Beek – €39.00m
Manchester United signed Donny van de Beek from Ajax for €39m during the 2020-21 season. The midfielder was crucial to Erik ten Hag’s side which beat the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus on its course to the UEFA Champions League semi-final run during the 2018-19 campaign. He has been reunited with his former manager at the Premier League club for the 2022-23 season, with the hope to get more game time.
5. Hakim Ziyech – €40.00m
Hakim Ziyech is one of the many players who showed his class while playing for AFC Ajax. The winger joined Ajax from FC Twente for an €11m fee in 2016. Later, he joined Chelsea in the Premier League for €40m, making the Dutch outfit a decent profit. During his stay with Ajax, Ziyech played 164 games, scoring 49 times and making 80 assists.
4. Davinson Sanchez – €42.00m
Davinson Sanchez is one of the most expensive defenders in terms of sale price for Ajax in their history. In fact, he is the third highest after getting the club €42m when he signed for Tottenham Hotspur in 2017-18 as a 21-year-old. The Colombian international remains a highly promising player for Spurs.
3. Lisandro Martinez – €57.37m
Lisandro Martinez is the latest departure from AFC Ajax to sign for an elite European club. The defender has completed a move to Manchester United ahead of the 2022-23 season. Erik ten Hag deems him essential to his plans at the club where he is taking charge as the new manager. This is precisely why MUFC paid €57.37m to reunite the manager and the player.
2. Matthijs de Ligt – €85.50m
Matthijs de Ligt was the skipper of the side that made that outstanding run in the UEFA Champions League 2019-20. As a teenager, the defender showed incredible leadership skills and an excellent reading of the game. Touted to be the superstar of the future, De Ligt was recruited by Juventus FC for a mouth-watering €85.5m fee back in 2020. Currently, the player has moved from the Old Lady to join FC Bayern Munich.
1. Frenkie de Jong – €86.00m
Frenkie de Jong also moved clubs in the same window which saw Matthijs de Ligt leave Ajax. The midfielder signed for FC Barcelona for an €86m fee, which makes him the most expensive departure from Ajax of all time. There is no denying that the player is worth every penny, such is the grand nature of his talent. As it stands, Manchester United are ready to pay around €80m to recruit the player and reunite him with Erik ten Hag.