'We're not going to break up the complete team' - Van der Sar insists Ajax will hold onto several stars

Comments()
Getty Images
The Dutch legend takes pride in the team the Eredivisie outfit has assembled, and he insists part of that team will stay together

Edwin van der Sar says that it is inevitable that Ajax will sell several stars this summer, but the club's general director insists that the exodus will not be as bad as many think.

Ajax are set to take on Spurs in the Champions League semi-finals, having already knocked out Real Madrid and Juventus on their way to the competition's penultimate round.

Midfielder Frenkie de Jong is set to join Barcelona this summer, having already finalised a move to Camp Nou, while Matthijs de Ligt is widely expected to follow him out the door with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus all linked.

Players like David Neres, Donny van de Beek, Hakim Ziyech and Andre Onana have also been linked with moves, but Van der Saar insists the club won't be completely robbed of talent this summer. 

"We know that's a fact. That's the history of Ajax all along. It has been in the 70s, 80s and 90s, so we know that," the former Manchester United goalkeeper told BT Sport when asked about the possibility of player departures.

"That also gives space for the younger players, guys who are 19 or 20. In two years time, they will be playing at this kind of level.

"We're not going to sell seven players. We need to make sure we can stay competitive. We like this stage of the competition and we like the recongition, so we're not going to break up the complete team. "

He added: "Of course that's Ajax development, giving young players a chance. It doesn't happen every year.

"Once every couple of years, you have a crop of talent coming through combined with experience with players like [Dusan] Tadic and [Daley] Blind and players who have stayed like Neres. It has made a fantastic team to watch."

Van der Sar came through the Ajax ranks in the 1990s, playing alongside club legends like Edgar Davids, Clarence Seedorf and Patrick Kluivert while winning the 1995 Champions League final.

That triumph was the club's most recent European conquest, with this year's semi-final run proving a return to the elite for the Dutch club.

Nowadays, Ajax's budget is a fraction of many of its Champions league rivals with Van der Sar saying it hovers around €95 million ($107 million/ £82 million).

The club's more restricted budget makes this year's run a major achievement, and its one that can be enjoyed in a unique way given the amount of homegrown talent in the club's lineup.

Article continues below

"We don't pay so much in wages and salary of course, a big part of our budget goes into our academy, 11 or 12 million euros are spent on the academy, and we are very proud that four or five players tonight are out of our academy and playing in the semi-final," Van der Sar said.

"I experienced it it myself in 1995 with the likes of Davids, Seedorf, Kluivert and Frank and Ronald de Boer and it's great that, 24 years later, we're reaching that kind of level again and playing the type of football that people know about Ajax, that we have played."

Close