When searching for quality players to sign, there aren’t many better places to look than the “football factory” that is Ajax’s youth set-up. From the likes of Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten and Dennis Bergkamp, to the more recent Luis Suarez, Wesley Sneijder and Klaas Jan Huntelaar, the Dutch giants have been providing the footballing world with gems for decades.
With that in mind, it isn’t surprising that the club are currently monitoring defender Toby Alderweireld.
Despite being only 23 years old, the Belgium international has established himself as a well built central defender who has become an integral part of Ajax’s recent Eredivise winning side. Unsurprisingly, de Amsterdammers signed him up when he was still a schoolboy.
Admittedly, we must be cautious when judging the abilities of a player who plays in a relatively weak league. It must be said that Alderweireld’s old team mate, Vurnon Anita, is still struggling to adapt to English football. However, the centre back’s emergence into European football mustn’t be taken for granted, considering that he still has a good 5 or 6 years to reach the peak of his abilities.
Perhaps you may think this bizarre, but his nationality also provides me with a hint that he could perform in the Premier League. No doubt, the influx of talented Belgian players into the Premier League has been incredible. Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen are prime examples of defenders who are coping with the demands of the English game. This must surely be a good sign if we are to pursue out interest in Alderweireld.
Unfortunately, when a promising player is being talked about, it becomes inevitable that other clubs will be on the prowl. On this occasion, it’s AVB’s Spurs that are also looking to add to their growing Belgian contingent. With Vetonghen and Dembele already at the club, this could influence the defender’s decision to move to London over the North East.
As I’ve said before, this wouldn’t be what would be considered a “secure” signing, considering he currently plays in an inferior league. But what I can say is that Newcastle United continue to impress me with the stature of players they’re being linked with. It’s been a tough start to the season, but I’m confident that last season won’t be a “one hit wonder” under Pardew if we’re able to attract footballers from top European clubs.