Published On: Wed, May 24th, 2017

3 Ajax studs primed for high-profile moves

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Much has been made of Ajax‘s youth movement, and in returning the Dutch giant to a first continental final since 1995-96, Peter Bosz’s budding core has garnered the affection of pundits and scouts alike.

Despite a slew of poor performances during Wednesday’s Europa League final defeat to Manchester United, a number of Ajax’s emerging stars have made stellar accounts of themselves this season.

Ahead of what should amount to a busy summer transfer window, here's a look at three young Ajax studs suited for marquee moves:

Kasper Dolberg

A forward whose movement in the area is as remarkable as his finishing, 19-year-old Danish forward Kasper Dolberg has become one of Europe’s most desired teens this season.

And for good reason, as the player discovered by the same scout who first spotted Christian Eriksen and Zlatan Ibrahimovic has swiftly acclimated to first-team football, scoring on his senior debut versus PAOK before bagging his first treble against NEC just nine days after a maiden Denmark cap.

Considering how modest Dolberg's goals for the season were, his meteoric rise has been nothing short of astounding. "My goal (this season) was to play for Ajax’s reserve team, become their best player and maybe get a few matches in the first team," Dolberg told FourFourTwo in June.

“But then Arek Milik went to Napoli and I got the chance. Then in the first game of the season I played and scored against PAOK in a Champions League qualifier. From that point I was motivated. The coach gave me confidence to play in the way I’ve always done.”

His performances have reportedly attracted the interest of several marquee clubs, including Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund, Manchester United, and Manchester City, though for Dolberg, a high-profile move may be premature. Discussing speculation of interest from the two Manchester sides, the Dane conceded, “It’s too big a step to go to City or United now.”

Dolberg’s honesty is commendable, and his assessment is refreshing, though if a club table a massive bid for the forward, Ajax and his representatives may very well convince him otherwise.

Davinson Sanchez

Like Dolberg, robust Colombian centre-half Davinson Sanchez appears to know what’s best for his emerging career.

After rejecting a formal offer from Barcelona last summer to join the Amsterdam local on a €5-million transfer from Medellin behemoth Atletico Nacional, the once-capped Colombia international centre-half has enjoyed a noteworthy debut campaign at Ajax.

What a prescient move that appeared to be, as Sanchez, 20, has showcased a rare combination of power and pace this season. Look no further than a pair of vital second-half last-ditch tackles against Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba that set the table for an astounding show of quickness to close down an unmarked Jesse Lingard in the match's final moments.

That skill set is certain to endear him to some of Europe's biggest clubs, notably those plying their trades in England's top flight, where power and pace are a lethal cocktail in short demand.

Sanchez – who played in 32 of Ajax’s 34 league affairs – pairing five goals with two assists – is certain to again attract Barcelona’s attention, especially in light of erratic displays from the likes of mercurial duo Jeremy Mathieu and Samuel Umtiti.

The Catalan club may not be the only ones in for the defender, though it will have a leg up, especially if reports suggesting that Lionel Messi has handpicked the player for Barca's rebuild.

Davy Klaassen

After reports surfaced that Everton gaffer and former Ajax player and manager Ronald Koeman was at his old stomping grounds to witness the mauling of Lyon, midfielder Davy Klaassen‘s name became inextricably linked with a move to Goodison Park.

Dutch paper De Telegraaf is leading the charge of a Merseyside move for Klaassen, speculation that may have more value considering Koeman’s writes a recurring column for the outlet.

An attacking midfielder who is capable of dropping deeper, as he did during Wednesday's 2-0 defeat, Klaassen, 24, would help fill the void vacated by Ross Barkley's alleged exit, and it would also be a bit of bad news for Wayne Rooney, who Koeman has publicly expressed an interest in.

Last season’s Dutch Player of the Year, Klaassen is a good finisher also capable of threading an incisive pass, and that’s precisely why several clubs are monitoring him as a traditional No. 10.

Under contract at the Amsterdam ArenA through 2019, Europe's top clubs may be allured by Stephen Naismith's doppelganger's daunting workload this season, where the 11-times capped Netherlands international made more than 50 appearances this term, coupling 14 Eredivisie goals and a half-dozen helpers with six tallies in Europe.

(Photos Courtesy: Action Images)

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