Ajax’s dream run in last season’s Champions League caught the eye of millions, as the Dutch side reached the semi-finals with a mixture of youthful brilliance and a plucky, never say die attitude.
The downside of their success, however, came in the form of an exodus – with the club’s standout performers either having already been poached by the continent’s elite, or eyeing up big money moves away.
Below, Sportsmail takes a look at some of Ajax’s most expensive outgoings…
Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt had captained the Ajax side that reached the Champions League semi-finals last season, and also netted against his new team Juventus
JASPER CILLESSEN – GOALKEEPER – £12m
The former Netherlands shot stopper completed a £12 million switch to Barcelona in 2016, and put pen to paper on a five-year contract to replace the outgoing Claudio Bravo. But after finding game time limited at the Nou Camp, Cillessen moved on to fellow La Liga outfit Valencia last month.
GREGORY VAN DER WIEL – RIGHT BACK – £5.4m
After impressing at right-back for Ajax across five seasons, Van der Wiel joined French giants Paris Saint-Germain in 2012. The Dutchman spent four years at the Parc des Princes, before niggling injuries saw him depart at the end of his contract.
MATTHIJS DE LIGT – CENTRE BACK – £67.8m
De Ligt was the subject of a four-way transfer tussle this summer after he spectacularly burst onto the scene throughout Ajax’s Champions League campaign. The centre-half eventually opted for Juventus, rebuffing reported offers from Barcelona, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain.
De Ligt ended a lengthy transfer saga after opting to join Juventus for around £70 million
DAVINSON SANCHEZ – CENTRE BACK – £42m
The no nonsense centre-half joined Tottenham in 2017 for a then club record fee. Despite originally signing a six-year contract, Sanchez penned an extension just one season later – an indication of how highly rated the Colombian international is. He bagged his first goal for Mauricio Pochettino’s men against Leicester last season.
DALEY BLIND – LEFT BACK – £13.8m
Blind is clearly a fan favourite at Ajax, but was a potentially undervalued asset at Manchester United. After impressing at the 2014 World Cup under the stewardship of Louis van Gaal, the versatile defender then followed the ex-national team boss to Old Trafford. But after falling out of favour under Jose Mourinho, Blind completed a switch back to his boyhood side.
Other notable names…
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar – Real Madrid – £24.3m
Wesley Sneijder – Real Madrid – £24.3m
Christian Eriksen – Tottenham – £12.15m
Jan Vertonghen – Tottenham – £11.25m
Thomas Vermaelen – Arsenal – £10m
ANWAR EL GHAZI – WINGER – £6.3m
The Dutch wide man is one of a select few who departed the Johan Cruyff Arena on bad terms. A fractious relationship with former manager Peter Bosz saw El Ghazi sidelined in the youth set-up for a month, leading to an inevitable departure. He now represents Premier League newcomers Aston Villa.
FRENKIE DE JONG – CENTRE MID – £65m
Another star name in Ajax’s European run last season, de Jong was unsurprisingly snapped up by Barcelona. The talented Dutchman made 86 appearances during his three years with Ajax’s senior team, and particularly earned plaudits for his key role in his side’s 1-0 victory against Tottenham in the Champions League semi-final first leg.
Barcelona completed a stunning £65 million swoop for wonder kid Frenkie de Jong
DAVY KLAASSEN – CENTRE MID – £23.6m
Klaassen was named the 2016 Dutch footballer of the year, and also wore the captain’s armband in Ajax’s defeat to Manchester United in the Europa League final the following campaign. A switch to Everton soon followed, but Klaassen struggled to replicate his form at Goodison Park and soon fell out of favour and the starting XI.
JUSTIN KLUIVERT – WINGER – £15.8m
The son of ex-Netherlands star Patrick, Kluivert was widely rumoured to have been on Jose Mourinho’s radar at Old Trafford, but the youngster instead completed a move to then Champions League semi-finalists Roma. The Portuguese tactician could be seen consoling Kluivert after the two sides had met in the 2017 Europa League final.
Former Man United boss Jose Mourinho was understood to have been an admirer of Kluivert
ARKADIUSZ MILIK – STRIKER – £28.8m
After making his debut for Ajax in 2014, Milik went on to score 21 goals in 31 matches during the 2015/16 Eredivise campaign. His prolific strike rate caught the attention of Serie A side Napoli, who completed a transfer worth almost £30 million, aided by Milik’s desire to play in Naples.
LUIS SUAREZ – STRIKER – £22.8m
Suarez is arguably one of Ajax’s most infamous transfers, with the Uruguayan’s eventual arrival in the Premier League ensuring he would soon become a household name. The unpredictable front man rounded off his time in the Netherlands with 81 league goals, and a subsequent adventure in England’s top flight soon followed.
Ajax have earned over £300 million in transfer fees from the moves of several superstars