For all the money spent in football these days, it's refreshing to see AFC Ajax still promoting and believing in their youth and total football philosophy.
An incredible academy has helped Ajax gain so much on and off the pitch. The quality of players Ajax keep producing is astounding and shows there is still value in developing a club from the bottom up.
Ajax sit on top of the Dutch Eredivisie and are regular campaigners in the Champions League. A club steeped in tradition, it is that where they base their beliefs by focusing largely on producing players from the academy and Jong Ajax to play in the first team.
Ajax are now largely a selling club, but one which still carries great respect from the footballing world. From the great days in the 70's of Johan Cruijiff and the 80's of Marco Van Basten and Frank Rijkaard, Ajax have stuck to their philosophy which has brought them so much success in their history.
The modern day stars of Christian Eriksen and Siem de Jong have benefited greatly from this. Eriksen has been tracked by many clubs around Europe for a few seasons now but stayed with Ajax to keep the development of his game on track.
Eriksen will most likely leave this summer; however, in the selling of their players who came from the academy Ajax have achieved much. The current squad is largely made up of natives, with some Danish players also.
The exciting prospects of Lucas Andersen and Viktor Fischer are the latest in the long line of talented youngsters to proceed through the great system. Both young Danish players are both technically superb and comfortable on the ball.
All the talk is on Eriksen, however, Fischer is equally as talented and could interest many big clubs this summer. The free flowing style of football is still at the heart of all things the club try to achieve.
Ajax have won the last two Dutch championships and are beginning to make an impact on the European stage again. The list of players to come through the academy is incredible. From the greats like Cruijiff, Van Basten, Edgar Davids, Clarence Seedorf, Edwin van der Sar, Marc Overmars and Patrick Kluivert.
The players who continue to make an impact today like Wesley Sneijder, Rafael van der Vaart, Thomas Vermaelen and Jan Vertonghen. Current manager and assistant manager, Frank de Boer and Dennis Bergkamp also learned their trade through the academy and I think that says everything about this great club.
A club where they believe every young boy who comes in at eight-years-old has the potential in him to become a champion - tradition and belief that money can't buy. Ajax of Amsterdam is about progressing.
The club has given us so many great moments and great players. Ajax of Amsterdam is a club that will remain at the heart of good football and showing that success can be achieved without spending big. The idol club.
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