Ajax, The Perfect Storm

For decades, ever since Oranje and Cruyff wooed the world with their break through Total Football ( even if it was Happel at Feyenoord who initiated it), Ajax has been synonym with “class”, “technical football” and youth development.

A factory, churning out talent after talent. From Cruyff, Krol, Rep, Suurbier to Van Basten, Van ‘t Schip, Rijkaard, Vanenburg all the way to Seedorf, Davids, Kluivert, De Boer Bros, Van der Vaart, Sneijder and Frenkie de Jong and more recently Gravenberch, Brobby and Timber…

All managed by a host of former Ajax players in top football roles ( Danny Blind, Ruud van Duyvenbode, Arie van Eijden, Wim Jonk, Sjaak Swart, Louis van Gaal, Co Adriaanse), as part of a close knit network, the Fifth Colonne as it’s called in The Netherlands. Scouts, youth coaches, analysts, agents, Ajax always seemed to be a many tentacled octopus, delivering dozens of former youth products to literally every club in The Netherlands.













Do you recognise all these incredible talents?

Noa Lang (ex Feyenoord as well) at PSV. Quinten Timber at Feyenoord (originally also Feyenoord by the way), Eagles’ captain Bas Kuipers, Mitchel van Dijk at Fortuna, Czerny at Twente (former season), Warmerdam at Sparta, Baas at Twente, Eijting at Twente, the list is long. No one will dispute the majestic impact Ajax’ has had on Dutch football.

They may not have been the first (or last) to win a European trophy but they did win most of them.

That huge Football Emporium is slowly disintegrating before our eyes. With a massive loss versus Arch Rivals Feyenoord 0-4 as the lowest of the low, particularly the off pitch shenanigans with hooded “fans” trying to storm the Cruyff Arena, to lynch a couple of board directors.

So where did it go wrong?

For me, arrogance is a key factor. Ajax always pride themselves as the Sons of Gods, the best of all. This arrogance is typical maybe for the city of Amsterdam, where the street smart bravado has always been a factor. The city of advertising and media execs (as opposed to industrial Eindhoven (Philips), or transport-focused Rotterdam (ports).

“”We are Ajax” is what you need to radiate when you walk onto the pitch, so you’re already 1-0 when the opponent looks at us coming out.” The jersey, the hairdo, the chest forward and chin up attitude. And the Ajax culture truly wants players to emphasize this.

When Ajax was struggling to play attractive football (under Frank de Boer for instance), the legendary Johan Cruyff started his Velvet Revolution, aided by the likes of Wim Jonk, Dennis Bergkamp, Keje Molenaar and Marc Overmars.


























It got made into a book! I can see Christopher Walken in the JC role and Stephen Merchant as Van der Sar. Maybe Ricky Gervais as Marc Overmars? Ryan Gosling as Bergkamp?

Ex-players needed to take charge of the club, just like at Bayern Munich. Overmars earned his stripes as a business man and manager, partly due to his hobby to buy and upgrade real estate and trading in classic cars, while acting as technical director at Go Ahead Eagles (where he started his pro career and where he worked with you maverick coach Erik ten Hag).

Edwin van de Sar was being courted to become the new managing director (after his business studies at the Cruyff University), while Jonk and Bergkamp would become part of the technical management triumvirate (with Overmars and Frank de Boer).

The plan didn’t work out too well. Jonk left angrily, as his input to use Academy products was ignored. Bergkamp had to leave after a conflict with Overmars ( he pushed Peter Bosz out and pushed his friend Marcel Keizer for the head coach role) so the management team running the club consisted of Marc Overmars and Edwin van der Sar (and a financial and commercial director of course, but these company officals are not relevant for this particular topic).

And both Overmars and Sar were being monitored by the Board of Directors, which had Danny Blind as the football man. Blind played an important role in the background, as the sounding board for coaches and management, but Blind left the role when Van Gaal was brought back to Oranje as head coach. Van Gaal wouldn’t do it without his lieutenant Danny. So Ajax did not have a football smart director in the Board but this was not so crucial, as Overmars and Sar had a good grip on Ajax, which stole more hearts in Europe under Ten Hag, particularly in that 2019 CL Campaign, with Frenkie, Tadic, Ziyech and Tagliafico in stunning form.











This is one of the dick pics Overmars sent hahahaha….

The bubble burst in Ten Hag’s final year. What no one could have predicted happened. Marc Overmars appeared to have sent dick pics (!!!) to several female colleagues on the Ajax marketing desks. And the macho culture within Ajax was such, that the women/girls were afraid to complain about it.

The news shocked the Dutch bonton world and when it became clear that this 1) had been going on for quite a while and 2) Van der Sar was aware but didn’t want to intervene, the popularity rating of the Sons of Gods plummeted.

Van der Sar couldn’t do much different than sack Overmars, but as the lanky manager hoped to re-instate the once speedy winger in this role, he was quite successful after all, Van der Sar never appointed a successor.

So half of the successful due “Overmars / Ten Hag” had to leave the club and the other half wouldn’t stay much longer, as Manchester United lured the champion maker to Old Trafford.

Van der Sar, who already had a string of mismanagement dossiers to his name (the Nouri case, the Quincy Promes case, the Winston Bogarde case), decided to push KJ Huntelaar and scout Gerry Hamstra in the role of “acting Technical Directors”. The problem – Ajax being a publically listed company – was that both H’s didn’t have the authority to sign contracts, so Van der Sar decided that he would be the technical director / managing director and he would be more “hands on” when transfers were concerned.

Ten Hag went. Alfred Schreuder came. There was no technical director present in that transfer window, so an overzealous Schreuder stepped in, together with his agent to help Ajax sign some new players.










That summer, some big names and powerful characters left the club: Brobbey went to Leipzig, Tagliafico to Lyon, Martinez to Man United, Mazaroui to Bayern, Onana to Inter, Haller to Dortmund, Schuurs was allowed to leave for Torino and Antony also left for Man United. Some of these were unavoidable, some of the others (Schuurs, Tagliafico) maybe less so.

In place of these players, Ajax brought in Calvin Bassey, Lorenzo Lucca, Owen Wijndal, Jorge Sanchez and Florian Grillitsch. Schreuder and Van der Sar were also keen to bring Sevilla forward Ocampos to the Arena, but the Board of Directors felt that signing was close to being preposterous and stopped that. They did allow for Ocampos to come on a loan basis. No surprise here, that Ocampus ended up a failure, as any football knowledgable person would be able to predict: Ocampus would probably work at PSV but lacks the skills to play the Ajax style.

The Board of Directors gave a clear signal to the coach/management but allowed for the signing of the others.

Just to give you an idea: Sven Botman left Ajax for 8 million euros. Calvin Bassey came from Rangers for 21 Million euros. Per Schuurs left for Torino, for 9 million euros. Crazy.

Schreuder didn’t have the greatest first season’s half at Ajax and came to clash with club icon Daley Blind, resulting in the international leaving the club mid-season, which in turn resulted in Danny Blind – fresh from the World Cup in Qatar – to sever his ties with Ajax’ Board of Directors. Leaving another great hole of football know-how in the Ajax hierarchy.











Tadic apparently taking over from Schreuder, last season

So, there is a Board of Directors of people without any real football know-how: Eringa ( resigned this week) is a notorious job-hopper with a career in hospitals and railways. Annette Mosman is an accountant. Cees van Oevelen is a lawyer. Georgette Schlick is a media person.

Apart from these people, Maurits Hendriks was added to management, as Chief Sports Officer. No one knows what the former Hockey coach was going to add to Ajax

Van der Sar had the power but didn’t know what to do with it. Ajax was now a year without Technical Director and during the Schreuder (and later Heitinga) season, the first cracks became apparent. Tadic unhappy, Blind gone, Wijndal never played, Berghuis started fist fights with supporters, Ocampos returned to Sevilla halfway the season and Ajax would finish the season third, only 2 points above AZ Alkmaar.

Van der Sar was now convinced that a true Technical Director was needed (Overmars found a new home in Antwerp) and Maurits Hendriks enlisted the help of an Executive Search (headhunter) bureau to find the ideal candidate.

Now, these things don’t work too well in the world of pro football. There is no linkedin. And the coach resume is simply how he performed with other clubs / teams. In terms of quality of performance, results achieved and how the guy holds up in press conferences and interviews.

By then, it appeared impossible to hold Van der Sar accountable. And lets face it: he’s not the only guilty party. What about the Board of Directors, who were there to check the shenanigans of their GM. But after the different botches affairs, Sar’s biggest mistake was to not replace Overmars. He saw the writing on the wall and announced his resignation (per August 1) but before he was able to truly pass the baton, he suffered a debilitating stroke and is now at home, basically learning how to walk and talk again.











Former Hockey coach Hendriks responsible for signing Sven Mislintat

Obviously, no one feels the need to string the former Oranje goalie up for his mistakes. We wish him well.

But the usual suspects  for the TD job weren’t good enough. AZ’s Max Huiberts, Frank Arnesen (who found Arne Slot for Feyenoord), Jordi Cruyff, Wim Jonk, Marijn Beuker, Jan Streuer, Maxwell, Julian Ward… For some reason, Hendriks and the Ajax board decided on a guy 1) no one heard of in The Netherlands and 2) who was known to be a lone wolf (according to former employers Stuttgart who didn’t extend his deal) and who had a reputation of looking for conflict (according to former employers Arsenal). The man who hardly had any experience as technical director but who made a name in Germany for himself as top scout.

As per usual, the technical director selects the new coach. Peter Bosz was keen to return to Ajax, as his nemesis Bergkamp had left, but for some reason Ajax (Mislintat?) decided against re-hiring Bosz. It’s unclear who else was on the short list. Heitinga had blown it ( his results weren’t overly great), Nagelsmann apparently wasn’t interested but we’ll never know who else was on the list. Mislintat ended up with Maurice Steijn, the Dutch coach who had previously impressed with ADO Den Haag, VVV and Sparta Rotterdam and who was considered another Henk ten Cate protege (like Arne Slot and Alfred Schreuder).

Mislintat: “I came to focus on Steijn, because he manages to get results better than to be expected with the material he works with. He let Den Haag, VVV and in particular Sparta hit well above their station and that is what we need to get Ajax quickly back to the top.”

Steijn is also a Dutch coach, which helps with the language and he’s known to be a tough taskmaster, as the The Hague street mentality would work well in Amsterdam, people believed. Steijn was quite adamant that he wanted Said Bakkati as his assistant (formerly Dick Advocaat’s assistant at Feyenoord and Jaap Stam’s second in command at Cincinnati). He was assistant at ajax U21 in 2014 and is no stranger to the club. Former midfielder Hedwiges Maduro, considered a top coach in the making, was also high on Steijn’s list. He got them both.

As per usual, Steijn gave his list of preferred new signings to Mislintat, assuming the TD would work his magic to get the characters and types Steijn wanted. Steijn made a point to say he preferred players from The Netherlands. Like Feyenoord was able to build a success team with players brought in from AZ, Twente, Excelsior, this is exactly how Steijn also believed he could build from the bottom up.












How it started…

To Steijn frustration, Mislintat ignored the requests from Steijn and delivered a number of fairly unknown players to the JC Arena.

Branco van de Boomen’s signing (on a free) can be justified. The signing of Sutalo (Croatian international) can also be explained, just like Forth’s move from City to Ajax can be a good one, in time.

But where Ajax saw the likes of Frenkie de Jong, De Ligt, Ziyech, Haller, Tagliafico and Martinez go, they decided to bring replacements in from Viborg, from Eintracht, Molde, Middlesbrouh and Metz…

Literally none of these players were known entities amongst the Ajax supporters and it’s now wonder Mislintat was heading for a rough ride.

When Steijn was asked if he was happy with the players he was gifted, he said the following: “I don’t know, I really don’t know most of them, sorry. I need to check them out and see. I gave my list of preferred players to Sven but sadly, he decided to use his own list. They’re his players.”

A telling interview indeed.












How it ended….

Not much later, the news broke that Mislintat had verbally abused the coaching staff and goalie Jay Gorter during a training session. He told the coaches that Steijn would be sacked if Ajax lost against Feyenoord (they did) and he told Gorter he was supposed to make way for the new German goalie.

As if this wasn’t enough, the Telegraaf newspaper broke the news that Mislintat was the subject of an internal investigation. It appeared that he owned shares in a sports marketing company, which has a particular players agent as shareholder as well. Guess what. Mislintat would speak to potential new signings, telling them that if they want to move to Ajax, they were to ditch their current manager and go with the agent who happens to be – coincidence coincidence – Mislintat’s partner in the business. Wow. How low can you go?

On the day of (the first) Ajax – Feyenoord, Ajax decided to let the TD go. The internal investigation is still going, by the way, but despite this, Ajax could see the writing on the wall: this was never going to go well.

The first thing Ajax did, was to appoint Van Wijk and Van Praag (two elderly Ajax statesmen) to the Board of Directors and Michael van Praag immediately called his friend Louis van Gaal with the request to consult Ajax in how to structure the future.

Maurice Steijn is still coach and asked about Van Gaal’s role, he responded positively: “I have worked with him before. When he was national team coach in 2012, I was coach of ADO and Oranje used to train on our grounds. Louis would ask me for ADO players, if he needed additional bodies and we spent quite some time together. I still use his lessons in my coaching and I look forward to his insights and advice.”


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  1. Thanks Jan for this overview. If not for Overmars private parts;))))
    Being philosophical though, things in football are cyclical, so after ‘high’ period some drop-off can be expected. Also, the academy output dried up a bit which is not unusual(Barcelona did not have a decent graduate for like 10 years). Ajax was lucky to have the continuing string of high end talent for a number of years. Hopefully there are new kids being groomed as we speak. At this point I just hope Ajax is not going to damage Dutch UEFA coefficient

  2. Excellent, Jan. Thank you.

    Indeed, why a football team wnat to have a person or persons with some football background on its board of directors? Its true that on a board you want people of diverse professions and backgrounds, who can bring their various skills and experience, decisionmaking capacity for the oversight of all aspects of an organization. But that should include someone with an understanding and insight unique to fundamental purpose and business of the organization. To think that they could operate without that is a lack of humility in the board. And as is said, pride goeth before a fall.

    Hopefully, now having fallen, they are taking the right steps to get back up.

  3. funny koemans comment and how he hopes to surprise the french with injury stricken squad. again the integrity of the depth of the squad is at stake and koeman cant do much but shoot in the dark hoping its will strike the target.

    the only thing im looking forward for is the game time for frimpong, maatsen and van der ven.

  4. Alot to like about the guys you mention—Frimpong has been excellent for a couple of years now; Van de Ven is not only a big guy with good defensive skills and positioning, but after watching him this last weekend, his speed jumped out at me. He may end up a top, top defender.

    That said, Frimpong won’t start ahead of Dumfries, nor Van de Ven ahead of Van Dyke or Ake. Koeman selected Hartmann over Maatsen the last time out, so am assuming that he saw something on the practice field that led to that. Too, Hartmannm is playing regularly, and well, for Feyenoord, and Maatsen is not getting many minutes at Chelsea. It would be nice to see them all get playing time in the next two games, though.

    Re the NT. My 2 cents, I think that Koeman will line up with:

    Verbrueggen (likely)

    Dumfries, Geertruida, Van Dyke, Ake, Hartmann

    De Roon Reijnders
    Malen Weghorst.

    Given all the injuries, its a credible team, and, but for Verbrueggen and Hartmann, they’ve all played important minutes for the NT in the past. Tough weekend, though. France, to put it mildly, is a challenge, and Greece in front of their home crowd, playing for their lives, should be a different team than the one that came to the Netherlands.

  5. Hi Andrew, good team selection. I think he needed Maatsen on the left flank, as Gakpo and Lang are out. Maatsen has done well covering the whole flank (like Frimpong on the right). Timber and De Ligt out means Geertruida will be centre back, with Dumfries and Frimpong on the right, as options.

    Verbruggen is the likely goalie. Noppert is dramatically out of form, while Olij is a debutant.

    I think we’ll see Geertruida, Virgil and Ake at the back.

    Midfield: Dumfries, De Roon, Reijnders, Hartmann in midfield.

    Malen Simons Bergwijn

    For the France game.

  6. Verbruggen, Dumfries, Geertruida, Van Dyke, Ake, Hartma De Roon, Veerman, Reijnders, Simons, Weghorst.

    Hartman and Verbruggen get their debuts. Veerman gets his opportunity.

  7. Often when the dutch team loses there are criticism raging and raining. This is probably the first game after a long long time that even they lost there is positives to take away from it.and the appreciation shown by the crowd and fans was a testimony to this

    Imagine It took 15 players to get injured to see some positives and facelift in the team which has been long long overdue. Way forward, just build on to this team with all the positives today and of course with those injured.

    Blinds chapter shud just end here and so with other dead woods.

    Did anyone one else notice when Simon’s got subbed off, the midfield flow got more effective with the trio midfield rotating at will. I suspect it was due to Simon’s and others consistently cutting inside while Hartman was the only man going out. Once Simon went off there was more space for midfielders to stretch. Just my observation.

    Van der ven looks like already will be giving a big competition to Ake and playing at spurs will only make him more competent. Botman off course yet to come.

    Frimping ability to hold on to the ball and attract multiple defenders was excellent. I said this before Dumfries with pressing forward often fades away because of more defensive workload. This is where frimpong made the difference. His workrate is same both offensively and defensively.

    Veerman needs to work bit on his defensive games otherwise he pulled the strings very well.

    Reijnders and van dijk probably were standout in their own rights doing what they do the best.

    Bit disappointed maatsen couldnt clock any minutes. Hopefully vs grecce he will.

  8. Im happy even with the loss. I have long emphasized on rotation Nd competition and you can see how influential it can be in context to team building depth etc.

  9. Waiting for the gaffer to revert back to form and play the indispensable Blind…since we have a lesser opponent in Greece next week.

    The benefit and importance of rotation and integration that Wilson has been reiterating for an eternity came to the fore today.

    Van der Ven. What a potential Rolls Royce of a player.

    Would their involvement have been possible without the scourge of injuries we currently face?


    I would have started with Reinjders at the anchor and our buildup could been better. De roon has to be phased out and give Matusiwa a chance.

  10. I agree with most sentiments shared. I think it was a decent loss, taking into account the lack of some first team players and – again – the early conceded goal.

    I think this line up was close to logical, but I too would have switched Reijnders for De Roon next to Veerman and using Malen up top with Weghorst.

    Bummer of that off side goal, it was a centimeter, if it actually really was off side.

    We can use some more flair and courage on the ball and where Hartmann showed that, I felt Dumfries wasn’t having his day. Frimpong is a better version of Dumfries, only lacking the aerial strength of Denzel.

    Reijnders was impressive, as was Hartmann.

    I thought Veerman did well mostly but was a bit naive in his move away from the danger zone when MBappe was played in for the 0-2. That area was vacated by an over eager Veerman, just like Xavi didn’t help Hartmann in the 0-1 situation.

    Van der Ven impressed with his speed. He is a starter for many many years to come if he keeps on going like this. 21 years old.

    Other than that, enough positives to kill the Greece game and finish second in the group.

    Not sure re: Weghorst injury but I wouldn’t mind playing with Brobby. I find Weghost at times too aggressive and petulant in this actions towards opponents and refs.

    more later.

  11. I’m with Wilson in that I came out of the game feeling good about the team, and its prospects looking forward. Although I wished he had pressed the passer a little more on the first goal, Hartman looked the part of a national team lb (and if Maatsen develops and presses him, all the better). Reijnders was excellent, fearlessly running at the French defense from the beginning of the match. Frimpong was as advertised when he came off the bench. Geertruida and Verbruggen grew into the match, and a game like this can’t help but make them comfortable and give them confidence. And while the team sagged a little at times (especially after the second goal), it fought to the last.

    The forward play needs to be better—but that will improve immediately when Gakpo and (hopefully) Depay get healthy, and Lang, too, recovers and is in the mix. Bergweijn was good when he came in.

    Veerman kept the ball moving, made some awfully nice passes to open things up, and he delivered well placed free kicks that could have led to something. At the same time, its not a hard call that Reijnders should play ahead of him. he has to up his work rate and intensity on defense. And, man, did Dumfries set him up in the first half—he had a goal on his foot, just had to hit it on frame. If only…

    I give credit to Koeman in bringing the younger guys along guys along and integrating them. He’s only had the team for a short time, and in that period he’s brought in or given more opportunity to Geertruida, Veerman, Simons, Lang, Reijnders, Frimpong, Van de Ven, Hartman, and Verbruggen. Looking at Orangutan’s list, assuming Reijnders would have partnered De Jong based on his performance against Ireland, only Veerman started due to injury (and Verbruggen). Hartman was picked ahead of Blind and Maatsen; Frimpong came on as a replacement for a healthy Dumfries, same with Van De Ven replacing Ake.

    And speaking of Van de Ven—he’s got it all. Big guy, and while he doesn’t look as fluid as Van Dyke, he doesn’t look awkward. His footwork is terrific, and he is bloody fast. You see ssmaller, skilled wide players (in the EPL and against France) think they can flick it by him on the outside and run past him. They can’t.

    Anyway, that is my two cents.

    Big game in Greece Monday. Coming off this performance, I feel good about their chances of getting a result.

  12. 2 comments I have:
    The NT deeply needed a fresh start after the WC, and we all hoped for that but unfortunately Ronald Coeman had decided to stick with all these unproven veterans. Had he looked forward, 3 to 4 years from now, we would have a competitive team heading into the next WC.
    Second: we need to continue to look for the next generation of talents. Theses guys are way too average. To me it’s not even even a matter of a particular system anymore. We just don’t have enough quality on the field. Too bad that we have wasted many generation of talents over decades. We didn’t win anything. The players that we have now, not only technically they are below or just average but also physically they are very weak. Way too small! Xavi is way too tiny, Bergwijn,Malen, Hartmann and many more. Now you can say Xavi is only 21 but so are some of these French players. The point I’m trying to make is we are far behind from where we need to be and our problem isn’t just RC and his system.

  13. What rubbish is this man??? The Dutch is far behind every time because the transition is never on time and this is further because of no to very little rotation policy. only when there is injuries then they are forced to change and this is when the conservative thinking, planning or system fails if not drags the team backwards. Strootman, depay, frenkie, Van dijk injury in the past.we have all seen it. Then the coaches end up or are forced to gamble hoping for luck and to pull the right strings along the way. (Tatical)

    Now one thing that has changed To date is the new generation players that are currently playing competitively abroad to before when it mostly used to be from eredivisie . This shift automatically was bound to change the complexion of the team and again you have to look at the circumstances how this unfolded.

    Apart from weghorst I don’t think anyone else lacked quality aspect of technical ability what you are talking about. I mean the player ratings says it all. Obviously there were a number of new caps who are yet to sink their whole teeth but “positivity man” of what they showed vs one of the best team in the world.

    With regards to Xavi, I think he is a jack of all trade master of none given how he is been floated around playing in different position. I just hope this doesn’t hamper his development of what’s his main position. Upfront he can play anywhere but given how the situation is , option on the left , it would in the best interest he be groomed on the right where he plays at Leipzig and given that’s where the options are thin in NT. If he was more fluent on his left foot he would been the ultimate AM at his age level. I think he will be a versatility forward for the Dutch unless and until somebody more competent in an individual position pops up. Don’t want to compare him with kuyt here.he is way better. To some extent.

  14. A good balance is the key to moving forward and probably if the Dutch under who ever wants to become contenders. The 3-4-3 system is looking good and given what Hartman and frimpong showed vs French , it all looks to set blossom from attacking point of view. Maatsen also is yet to come and again it would be in the best interest to build the team around the wing backs who have so much potential to unlock.

    In the midfield, in terms of balance, the more I look at it, it’s only possible with a DM and probably without Frenkie. Big call but given Frenkie outings in the last few tournaments especially in those knock out stages, you have to wonder whether it’s still worth continuing with him or time has come to rotate him especially with so many options out there now. Gravenberch to me with a DM like Alvarez (Ajax), I mean we have all seen what he can bring if deployed in that set up. (Attacking front). There is no one in NT who can hit those long range tropedos from far out. And it makes senses to invest in Gravenberch. Perhaps maybe when he starts burning all the cylinders at Liverpool.

    With a DM the possibility of back four option can also be solidified and Matusiwa is the only guy for this.

    It’s of no use calling koopmeiners, Reijnders, veerman if Frenkie is already there. ( another scenario). It’s a waste of time and spot. This is what’s happening they just warm the bench waiting for him ( Frenkie) to get injured or if not are deployed out of their comfort zone to play opposite and complement him. I mean you can do the maths here, Wieffer was called up because he plays in that position week in week out and like I mentioned previously Matusiwa, hamer and Reis are the only players playing RCM for the clubs. ( stronghold). You look at the partnership from the past few years.

    Frenkie- Koopmeiners
    Frenkie – De Roon
    Frenkie- Wieffer

    The output has been average because of the balance. Frenkie being the focal point and the rest around him and mostly those who don’t play that position or have the stronghold. It’s like switching Frenkie to the right and accommodating Reijnders or veerman in his position ( LCM). The balance is offset. So yeah like I said Matusiwa makes sense, he can pair up with frenkie or without in a DM setup with other like koopmeiners , veerman, Reijnders, Gravenberch around him.

    Upfront with no injuries shud be ok. Depay, gakpo, Lang, Simons. Probably zirzkee and Danjuma shud be looked at for more option upfront.


    Gakpo- Simons

    Hartman- Frenkie- Matusiwa- Frimpong

    Ake- Van Dijk- De ligt


    Lang, Weghorst, Maatsen, atleast of the bench as super sub.

  15. Yo jean, I am sure there were many people back in the day when Frank Rijkaard was Barca coach, telling him the talents were too small… Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, David Silva, Bojan, these guys… they’ll never make it big. I am glad the football world recognised this so Scholes, Sneijder, Messi and Griezmann are all nobodies who ended up playing for the amateurs.

  16. Jan, you are joking right? Are you kidding me. There isn’t any comparison. Are you comparing Xavi, Iniiesta to our guys? Hahaha
    Xavi wasn’t a big guy but his technical ability was no comparison to any of the guys in our current squad. It’s ok to be a fan and support your national team but the facts are the facts. You can dream all you want but the players we have right now can’t compete at the international level period.
    @ Wilson: You can rotate all you want but the players from France, Argentina, Portugal, Maroco, Brazil, Spain are so far superior, it’s going to take us years. You can keep dreaming and being emotional, but the facts are the facts.

  17. I think it would be a tad bit drastic to move on from FDJ at this point. He is a player of many qualities and, in the right setup, could be of great asset.

    But to Wilson’s point, Fdj have been involved in 2 or 3 major tournaments and had indeed given a very sorry account of himself at every turn.

    With that fact in my mind, and the notoriously stubborn Dutch streak casted aside, I find no problem in he being experimented higher up the flanks, in a manner that Barcelona have deployed him in the past, or similar to Reijnder’s role against France. This is a legitimate shot in seek of the right balance.

    But not before a two of Fdj-Matusiwa/Reindeer have been tried. I still think Fdj’s qualities are more utilized in a deeper role.

    If all these combos do not yield promising results, l do not want Fdj to be considered an untouchable. He has not proven himself to be an untouchable. At least not in the national set-up.

    Reminds me of the English golden generation of Lampard and Gerrard. Two great players but they never compensated each other well. No coach was brave enough to separate them. I thought that lack of courage played a role in England’s underachievement.

    Star boy Fdj’s relegation would be a big call. But if koeman is listening, he can find comfort in the fact that Fdj is not Zinedine Zidane.

  18. @ Wilson
    All these injured players were on the field during the WC. You forgot? Stop dreaming! You always have this magical selection in mind. You can put all of them on the field in any given competitions, France will beat you 4/0.
    Depay that everyone is counting on, already passed his prime and never really lived up to expectations. Frankly was a waste at the WC. Gakpo isn’t consistent. Besides that, who do we have?

  19. @ orangutan

    I won’t disagree and My seintments was with respect to getting best out of the midfield as a trio with frenkie or without, which ever yields the most productive output. If you look at veerman, his offensive traits is an upgrade to that of Frenkie in that position. It’s the defensive traits where veerman looses out and big time. Veermans ability to play out from deep is what I lean on to put my basis on the Frenkie claim. Frenkie hardly plays those high balls and is acclimatized to ground ball , build up plays through one touch passing. As we have seen this often gets neutralized when opposing midfielders continuously press him like wolf pack as he likes to play with ball at feet. In contrast veerman doesn’t do this for long. 2-3 seconds he releases it. Again all this from attacking stand point which in typical scenarios leads to counter attack. ( over head balls ). Forcing opposing attack to retreat. I hope you get the picture here. This is what veerman brings at best.

    I think this is where the coaches shud have different combos experimented out so when if one combo is not productive, he has the option of plan B. I mean you look at the Argentines at the World Cup after they lost to Saudi Arabia.. they changed the midfield set up and the rest is history. Also remember WC 98 jonk for seedorf call.

    This is why I talked about the DM setup on top which can compensate for Veerman defensively and at the same time having that extra edge from attacking stand point. I mean what’s the harm in trying and having it as optional. I also think Gravenberch will dethrone veerman in this aspect and again you need DM like what I mentioned about him and Alvarez during Ajax days and how he is being deployed at Liverpool.

    As for Frenkie, if somebody competent can pop up on the right to share and balance the work load with him. Well and good and again like I have mentioned there are handful of players who play and have stronghold in that RCM position. This is a very important aspect from productivity stand point. I think this is what led to selection of Wieffer but is turning out to be futile. I can see a combo of Frenkie and Matusiwa , frenkie Reis, perhaps in the future . Simply because they play in that position have a stronghold. That hamer guy as well who is Brazilian but grew up in Holland.

    On the other hand with Matusiwa at DM you could rotate as many midfielders as possibly. Gravenberch, koopmeiners, veerman, Reijnders who all have stronghold on the left ( frenkie’s spot) and including Frenkie who can further play in a advance role.

  20. @ Jean venette

    I’m trying to understand what you are trying say. I thought I had mentioned it on top, transitions at the right time, quality and rotation is what builds a good team.

    It’s a pity that koeman has to find it so late what’s clogging the team after doing such a find job in 2018 and though it may come back to haunt him at euros , I bet with you my friend this team is just few players away from reaching that heights of becoming top contenders which I have predicted for 2026. Regardless of koeman around or no.

    Botman- Newcastle
    Ven den ven- Spurs
    Van dijk- Liverpool
    Gravenberch- Liverpool
    Gakpo- Liverpool
    Ake- city
    Simons- Leipzig/ PSG
    Frenkie- Barcelona
    Reijnders- AC Milan
    De ligt- bayern
    Frimpong- Leverkusen
    Timber- Arsenal
    Depay- Atletico
    Maatsen- Chelsea

    When was the last time this many players were playing in the top clubs across big leagues. I think you have to go back to the late 90s/ early 2000s golden generation. Koeman to be sacked after euros. Bosz to take over.let this team roll for few more competitions. Euros, nations league and World Cup qualifiers 2026.

  21. I First of,, we’ve always had players playing for the big clubs, they just never last (I’m talking about this current generation)
    All these players you’ve mentioned are just too average. If you take FDJ out, the other ones are just average. Van Dijik is in decline. You can’t be a real contender with a bunch of average players. What needs to happen is that we need to continue developing players at the youth level so one day we can find our next Van Basten, our next Bergkamp, Bryan Roy, Van Der Vaat, Davids, Van Persi, Roben ect….
    I’ve been watching Depay for years and I’m still not impressed. One day, he delivers, the next day he’s garbage. You need to stop being emotional. Let’s hoping that one day we’ll be back on top again.

  22. @ Wilson
    First of,, we’ve always had players playing for the big clubs, they just never last (I’m talking about this current generation)
    All these players you’ve mentioned are just too average. If you take FDJ out, the other ones are just average. Van Dijik is in decline. You can’t be a real contender with a bunch of average players. What needs to happen is that we need to continue developing players at the youth level so one day we can find our next Van Basten, our next Bergkamp, Bryan Roy, Van Der Vaat, Davids, Van Persi, Roben ect….
    I’ve been watching Depay for years and I’m still not impressed. One day, he delivers, the next day he’s garbage. You need to stop being emotional. Let’s hoping that one day we’ll back on top again.

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