In Total Football Analysis’ February magazine edition, I took the time to analyse some of the Eredivisie’s important transfer trends. While youth academy optimisation and scouting around Europe are commonplace, many Dutch teams are discovering the wonders of finding hidden gems in the Americas.
Brazilian winger David Neres – hailing from football metropolis São Paolo – signed for Ajax Amsterdam two years ago. In that time, he has become one of the most sought-after attackers in the country, proving just how smart Ajax were to pay €12 million for the now 21-year-old.
Coming into his own
After a half season adjusting to life in the Dutch capital, Neres became a guarantee in Ajax’s XI for the 2017/18 season. He scored 14 league goals and created 13 assists last season in a role that saw him exclusively deployed as the right-wing threat. Neres and Justin Kluivert formed a dynamic and young duo that terrorized Dutch defences, earning Ajax Champions League qualification.
Kluivert earned his move to AS Roma during the summer, but Neres remains at the Johan Cruijff ArenA. An argument could be made for Neres being Ajax’s best, or at least most productive, player last season, so it comes as a surprise that Marc Overmars was able to hold onto the promising Brazilian. However, with Dušan Tadić’s move from Southampton and the emergence of Frenkie de Jong as a world-class creator, Ajax have shifted gears this season.
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