Dutch Debate: Ajax's Failure To Sign Bas Dost Is A Blessing In Disguise

Ajax failed to sign Bas Dost from Heerenveen on deadline day of the winter transfer window, but Goal.com's Stefan Coerts is of the opinion that this is not necessarily a bad thing for the Godenzonen.
When Ajax announced on Friday afternoon that they had reached an agreement with Liverpool for the transfer of Luis Suarez for a reported fee of €26.5 million, the Godenzonen still had three full days left to sign a replacement for the Uruguay international before the January transfer window slammed shut on Monday at 23:59 CET.

Head coach Frank de Boer had previously already labelled Bas Dost as the club's primary transfer target, while Utrecht duo Dries Mertens and Ricky van Wolfswinkel found their names on Ajax's shortlist as well. At the weekend, offers were made for both Dost and Mertens, but the Amsterdam side refused to splash the cash and Ajax eventually failed to bring in a replacement for Suarez.

On Tuesday, reports surfaced that Ajax actually did manage to reach an agreement with Heerenveen for the transfer of Dost, but that the deal fell through because of a lack of time to complete the necessary paperwork. The young attacker would have left Heerenveen for the Amsterdam ArenA for a fee of €4.5m with an additional fee of €500,000 if Ajax qualified for the Champions League in the next three years.

Even though De Boer's disappointment with Ajax's failure to land a replacement for Suarez is understandable, one needs to wonder whether bringing Dost in would have been the right solution for the Europa League hopefuls.

The 21-year-old Dost is obviously a striker with a lot of potential, but it's highly unlikely that the Heerenveen attacker would have been able to secure a spot in the starting XI for the Amsterdam powerhouse.

Bas Dost

Age: 21
Club: Heerenveen
Position: Striker
Potential cost: €5 milion
Dries Mertens

Age: 23
Club: Utrecht
Position: Winger
Potential cost: €7 million
Ricky van Wolfswinkel

Age: 22
Club: Utrecht
Position: Striker
Potential cost: €7 million

The Netherlands under-21 starlet joined his current club from Heracles in the summer of 2010 after a rather successful 2009-10 season. However, he has so far been struggling to live up to the expectations at Heerenveen and his development seems to have stalled at the Abe Lenstra stadium. Dost even lost his starting berth at the Friezen shortly before the winter break as Heerenveen coach Ron Jans is of the opinion that Dost's movement both off the ball and in possession doesn't merit a spot as starting striker in a 4-3-3 formation.

It's rather naive to think that a Heerenveen reserve has what it takes to succeed a player like Suarez at Ajax, especially bearing in mind that the Amsterdam titans employ the same formation in which Dost struggled at the Friezen. Therefore, the Ajax faithful shouldn't worry too much about the collapsed deal.

The failure to sign Dost has not only saved Ajax a fee in the region of €5m, but it also gives Mounir el Hamdaoui the chance to prove his worth as centre forward. The Morocco international joined Ajax from AZ last summer with an eye on the imminent departure of Suarez, but the Uruguay star eventually opted to stay put for six more months.

The presence of Suarez prevented El Hamdaoui from making an impact in the Amsterdam ArenA and the frustrated attacker even fell out with head coach Frank de Boer after being dropped from the starting XI for the Champions League match against Milan. However, El Hamdaoui is raring to go again after having solved his problems with De Boer and Suarez's departure for Liverpool.

If Ajax still have the urge to sign a new attacker at the end of the season, the Amsterdam side have all the time they need to find their man. Without the pressure of deadline day, the Godenzonen are far less likely to make a panic signing like Dost. Instead of going after Dost, Ajax could very well make a move for Van Wolfswinkel or Mertens, players who are both a step further in their development than the Heerenveen man and really add something to Ajax's attack.

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