It’s been an outstanding season for Ajax winning Eredivisie and reaching the Champions League semi-final with an impressive style of play. The only news that could ruin their mood is the departure of their key player Frenkie de Jong.
This might affect the whole team’s performance and the club is yet to find him a replacement. They haven’t been all quiet during the summer transfer window though.
The new addition to the team is the Amsterdam born Quincy Promes. The 27-year-old put an end to his season-long Sevilla stay and became Ajax’s first summer signing.
Being used mostly as a substitution and moved around different positions turned out as a “low-income” season for him when it comes to scoring goals and contributing to the team’s offensive actions.
Moving to Sevilla after a successful spell at Spartak Moskow where he was the fans’ favourite, he desperately needed a new challenge in his career. And Ajax might be the best place for it.
This tactical analysis will explore how could Promes help the team and what his role could be?
Spartak Moskow and Sevilla
Promes has a long history with playing on different positions but what seemed to mostly fit his qualities was being positioned on the wing, most certainly the left wing. As already mentioned his spell in Russia was the most beneficial for his career so far contributing in 135 games, scoring 66 goals and assisting 34.
The reasons for his great performance out there are a few. One of them is his technical ability. Being used as a creative force has played a huge role for Spartak’s 2016/17 title-winning season. Just an example of his creativity and control is his achievement of nine dribbles on average per game with an impressive 68.7% success rate.
Moving to Sevilla in the summer of 2018 might have not been the best move in his career as the manager at that time Pablo Machín didn’t have a clear plan how he wants to use the Dutch.
For Los Rojiblancos he was mostly used as a left/right wing-back which didn’t allow him to play on his potential. Promes experienced struggles to split his responsibilities and switch between roles and the small amount of playing time wasn’t enough for him to improve.
It all resulted in him scoring three goals and assisting nine in 49 games.
Ability on the ball and strong flair
The 27-year-old’s style of play is attractive and eye-catching and that’s one of the reasons he might fit Ajax in the perfect way. He shows a great control on the ball and intelligent moves off it.
He once said about his own playing style:
“I have speed and technique, so I can show a beautiful game, create moments and make fans happy. I like to play football, which the viewer would be pleased to watch.”
His strength lies in his football vision. Not only he has the ability to dribble past his opponents easily and hold on to the ball, but he also has the flair to send a perfect cross or key pass to his teammates and create goalscoring opportunities.
He could also finish the attack himself, but he often finds himself offside, which turns out to be one of his weaknesses.
A replacement or the perfect addition?
There could be different roles for Promes at Ajax. But the biggest questions that have arisen after his arrival was is he a replacement for an eventual Neres/Ziyech departure, or he is going to find his place along with them.
He could actually do both. His ball control could be perfectly used as an addition to Donny van de Beek’s abilities. Combining his through ball sense with Van de Beek’s off the ball movement and explosiveness could be extremely dangerous in the final third.
Ajax could benefit if Erik ten Hag’s tactics include him as an extra force on the left/right of the attacking line or as a left midfielder. Let’s get the 4-3-3 formation. Positioning him in the wide midfield could be complementing Ziyech’s movement perfectly. The Moroccan tends to cut inside occasionally and Promes’ attacking flair and crossing abilities could result in loads of opportunities.
The option of using him as a wing-back is not that promising though. If Ten Hag decides to use a back-three the best option for the wing-back position would be Nicolás Tagliafico, who is usually used as an attacking force on the wing too.
The former Sevilla man could play through the middle too as a different option from Klaas Jan-Huntelaar and Kasper Dolberg.
Using Promes’ strengths in the final third would be most beneficial for Ajax due to his creativity and attacking flair. He could be a perfect addition to Van de Beek’s and Tadić’s movement due to his frequent use of through balls and crosses. It is expected that his technical abilities would fit perfectly to the team’s attractive style of play if the manager puts in the right analysis of his strengths and weaknesses.
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