With the players back off a well earned holiday, we set about preparing for the season ahead. A lot as happened during pre season so further a do here is the Pre Season News……
The Backroom Staff
My assistant manager Hennie Spijkerman announced his retirement and left the club on the back of our double winning season. Coach Dennis Bergkamp as left the club to take the reins at relegated Southampton. Also leaving the club is our Head Of Youth Development Phil Cannon. We wish them all the best and thank them for their efforts during their time in Amsterdam.
I have appointed well respected Head Of Youth Development Bernhard Peters from Bundesliga club Hamburg. Peters has signed a 3 year deal with us and will take up the role of bringing youth players in to the club.
I am also pleased to announce that my new Assistant Manager is Marco Van Basten, Van Basten is no stranger to the club and as put pen to paper with a deal that will keep him at the club until 2020.
I was pleased to receive the Manager Of The Year award during the close season. I was also offered the vacant managers job at Arsenal after Arsene Wenger stepped down after winning the Champions League with a 1-0 win at the San Siro in Milan over Bayern Munich. I have no intention of leaving the Amsterdam club.
I was called in to our pre season board meeting were I was told that the club was now clear of any debt and that they have agreed to upgrade or training facilities to keep the club on par with the worlds best. The board also told me what their expectations are for the season ahead, they are as follows:
Eredivisie: Win The Title
Champs Lge: Group Stage
Dutch Cup: Winners
Super Cup: Not Important
The board have made available a £26m Transfer Budget for the Season Ahead.
Outgoing Riechedly Bazoer dominated the headlines with his £31m rising to £38m with add ons move to FC Barcelona. Believe me I did all I could to try and hold on to him but he wanted the big club move. He is a top talent and I am sure will go on to have a superb career. We also said goodbye to Lasse Schone who as joined Anderlecht, Thulani Serero who as joined PSV Eindoven and a few more fringe players.
I decided that whilst I am fully behind developing our own players that we would invest in a number of talented players that I hope will go on to be a big part of Ajax in the future. I gave our Director Of Football Marc Overmars a list of potential targets and he did well in negotiating the deals that brought the following players in to the club:
Mohammed Elyounousi £2.6m
Hirving Lozano £4.9m
Thiago Maia £20m
Jerry St. Juste £10.5m
Lincoln £5m : Joining in January 2017
Head Of Youth Development Bernhard Peters has brought the following players to the club:
Sven de Boer 250k from Sparta Rotterdam and Hans Pijnenburg from AZ for 400k
I myself went out a brought Argentine Goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli to the club on a free transfer after Real Sociedad failed to offer him a contract.
Player Promoted To The First Team Squad
We are very much behind the Team Building and want to see 2 players per season break in to our 1st team squad from our development squads, this season Vaclav Cerny and Lucas Anderson will get their chance.
Pre Season Gets Underway
With a few players away on International duty we started our 6 week pre season with some Fitness and Tactical training.
The players looked fresh and ready for some game time as we approached our first pre season game :
FC Midtjyland Home Won 5-0
I fielded a strong starting XI for this game and we ran out easy winners with goals from Millik 2 Sinkgraven, Gudhelj and Zivkovic. I gave a first start to Geronimo Rulli before he jetted off to join the Argentine national team.
Sloven Liberec Home Won 2-1
A good run out for the boys both Millik and Zivkovic scoring again in a 2-1 win in the Arena.
Newcastle Utd Home Lost 0-2
I gave a run out to a mixture of B Team and Youth players and to be honest they played well and did not deserve to lose, I have seen our first team play a lot worse and win games, we just failed to take our chances and tired at the back late on but plenty of positives.
Volendam Away Won 5-0
A good performance from new boy Elyounoussi in his first start grabbing a goal and assisting 3 others. Vaclav Cerny played in a Inside Forward position and grabbed himself a brace. Zivkovic and Reidewald got our other goals.
FC Eindoven Away Won 3-0
Milik, El Ghazi and Elyounoussi getting the goals in a below par performance.
FC Utrecht Away Won 1-0
The new boy from Molde Mohammed Elyounoussi scoring in his 3rd consecutive game is giving me something to think about as the season approaches.
Noordwiljk Home Won 4-1
That man again Elyounoussi rounds pre season off with a sizzler of a goal, his 4th in 4 games along with strikes from Milik 2 and Nouri giving us a 4-1 win as we prepare for the Super Cup game against PSV.
Super Cup Final v PSV Eindoven
The seasons curtain raiser at the Amsterdam Arena against our big rivals PSV Eindoven started with PSV manager Phillip Cocu playing mind games but I was not drawn in to a war of words instead I concentrated on getting my team in the right shape to bring home our third trophy during my leadership. A couple of things to mention before the game is that I have changed our shape to a 4-1-2-3 and wanted to start with the players that gave us the double last season with the exception of Vaclav Cerny who I figured would be more than an handful for the PSV defence. What happened in the first half was nothing short of total domination from our boys. We went in at half time 4-0 up against a shell shocked PSV. Captain Davy Klaassen led by example putting us 2-0 up after just 12 minutes with a brace and truly outstanding matchday performance. Arak Milik picked up were he left off last season netting our other 2 goals. It felt right getting our hands on the Super Cup that is the Johan Cruyff sheild a fitting tribute to the man that as inspired ‘The Cruyff Philosophy’.
The Cruyff Sheild will sit nicely in the Amsterdam Arena, We dedicate this victory to to the legend of Ajax
I am hoping and striving for a better performance in Europe this season that is one of the reasons we have dipped in to the transfer market to bolster the squad with options in all positions. Lets also hope for a kinder draw than last seasons group of death.
We are all set for the season ahead, I will be back in a few days with our Winter Break Update. Thanks for taking the time to follow The Cruyff Philosophy I have had loads of messages from the community about the save and have enjoyed hearing the feedback and conversations about the players and save.