Prince Anning threatens to become the next young frog to jump off the wheelbarrow at Ajax. The 17-year-old left-back is making a huge impression at U18 this season, as youth league rival Borussia Dortmund has noted. How have talents from the Ajax youth academy who left abroad performed in the past? VoetbalPrimeur figured it out.
Jordi Brewer (DHC Delft)
It’s been a while, but Brouwer is the pioneer in this overview. The eighteen-year-old striker and then top scorer of A1 signed a contract with English club Liverpool in 2007. However, Brouwer never made it to The Reds’ first team. He was loaned to RKC Waalwijk and came to ADO Den Haag on a free transfer in 2011. This club left Brewer after six months, after which he made a brief appearance at Almera City FC. After that, the striker disappeared into the world of amateur football. Now, at the age of 33, he plays with DHC Delft.
Gilliano van Velzen (SC Telstar)
Van Velzen was sixteen years old when he replaced Ajax with Manchester United in 2010. The winger initially plays a lot in the Red Devils youth team, but after his step into the second team, he is weakened by the great competition. Unlike his teammates like Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard, Van Velzen hasn’t made it past Old Trafford. He continues his career with FC Utrecht, Volendam, Roda GC and Crawley Town. Ten years after his dream passed in English, he chose Telstar van Velzen. The 27-year-old striker is now an important link there.
Bobby Adekani (SS Lazio)
Adekanye is the youngest Ajax departure on this list. The striker was twelve (!) years old when he moved to FC Barcelona in 2011. A choice that was thankfully not for the Nigeria-born talent. The Catalans broke the rules of contracting young players and were punished. So Adekanye plays one season on a rental basis in Eindhoven, after which he continues his career at Liverpool, starting at Lazio in the summer of 2019. The only 22-year-old Adekanye still plays there, although he has not played a minute for the Romans this season. Temporarily based in Cádiz and ADO Den Haag, Crotone is now cited as his new employer.
Handsome Boy (Kartists)
Bouy was expected to have a great future, but in 2012 the door to the Ajax O19 closed behind him for the Juventus adventure. Choice was often disputed. The midfielder immediately went on a rental basis to Brescia, where he was seriously injured. After this injury, De Oude Dame still has him at Hamburger SV, Panathinaikos, PEC Zwolle (twice) and Palermo, but only the Juventus first team kept out of sight and in 2017 signed with Leeds United. The English leased it back to PEC, but Bowie was completely out of the picture. The 28-year-old playmaker has been under contract with Al Kharaitiyat since last summer, who plays in the second tier of Qatar.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah (Bayer Leverkusen)
The departure of Fosu-Mensah de Tucumst hit hard in 2014. The multi-skilled defender was known to be a great talent, but he chose Manchester United in 2014 at the age of 16. On February 28, 2016, less than two years after his arrival, coach Louis van Gaal had already allowed him to debut. He even played his spotlight role from Orange, in which he appeared three times. After the departure of the Dutch coach, Fosu Mensah faded into the background. He was loaned to Crystal Palace and Fulham and moved to Bayer Leverkusen in January 2021, although Ajax were also interested. A serious cruciate ligament injury quickly sidelined the 24-year-old Amsterdam player in Germany, but after nearly a year of rehab, his return is in sight.
Gaviero Delrosson (Hertha Berlin / Bordeaux)
Delrosson was the talented dodger in Ajax’s youth when he sparked interest from Manchester City in 2014. The Amsterdam side hadn’t offered him a contract until then, but the Premier League superpower did. The left winger did well in the City youth, but he also found that a first-team breakthrough would be elusive. He left for Hertha BSC in 2018, which was a great start. Impressed by his actions, Delrosson made his Orange debut, but also suffered an injury. Partly due to necessary illnesses, his performance was sporadic in Berlin. This season, 23-year-old Delrosson is loaned to Bordeaux with an option to buy. He played sixteen Ligue 1 matches so far, 11 of them as a starting player. He was good for three assists.
Mink Peters (no club)
Peters is perhaps a typical example of someone who left Ajax early. The Amsterdam side picked him at Eindhoven and then unfortunately saw him go to Real Madrid in 2014. However, the talent of the powerful winger appears to have been lost in Spain. Leases at VVV-Venlo and Almere City FC also ended in failure for Peters, who also struggled with injuries. After six months with Serbian FK Cukaricki, his old acquaintances Wim Jonk and Jasper van Leeuwen were hoping to make him work at Volendam. But that didn’t work out, and the 23-year-old Peters is currently without a club.
Doniel Malin (Borussia Dortmund)
Malin advanced in the Eredivisie in Eindhoven, but enjoyed coaching his youth with the opponent. The now 22-year-old striker excelled at De Toekomst and this was also noticed at Arsenal, who kidnapped him in 2015. In London, he was sometimes allowed to train with the first team, but played his duels with the U18 team of The Gunners. Shortly after making his friendly debut with Arsenal, he prefers a move to PSV Eindhoven because of the perspective. In Eindhoven, Malin is testing his ultimate breakthrough, growing into an international player and earning a major move to Borussia Dortmund. He seems to be getting better and better there: In his last eight games, Malin has scored five goals.
Juan Familia Castillo (Chelsea / Birmingham City)
There were also necessary English hackers on the coast for Familia Castillo, but the choice of the sixteen-year-old left-back fell to Chelsea in 2016. There he quickly found his place in the youth teams, but as with many players: he was not Familia Castillo is also able to take the next step. He experienced a few successful lease-terms at his old club Ajax and AZ, before conquering a home base at ADO Den Haag. Chelsea put him in charge with Birmingham City this season, but the 22-year-old defender has barely appeared there again.
Milne Bars (no club)
The departure of Mylene Bars caused quite a stir in 2016. The winger looked good in Amsterdam, but he had to leave Ajax – due to his alleged behaviour. The big English clubs rallied for him and the choice fell on Manchester United. Baars first played at O18 and later at O23 of The Mancunians, but did not stand out. United let him leave in early 2020 and Arizona decided to take him. Last season he played for promises made by Alkmaar in the Kitchen Champion division, but last summer the 21-year-old Baars seemed to have said goodbye quietly.
Franco Antonucci (Fyenoord / Volendam)
Ajax captured Antonucci from Anderlecht at a young age, but lost him again after that. The Belgian’s story is somewhat different: unlike many other talents, he paid a transfer fee. FC Monaco paid around €2.5 million for the creative midfielder in January 2017, but he hasn’t penetrated the principality. During his loan spell to FC Volendam, he made an impression on Feyenoord, who decided to recruit him – by building with the Volendam team. This season, Antonucci has joined the Rotterdam squad, but coach Arne Slott doesn’t consider him ripe for the big task yet. So he will play at Crass Stadium again in the second half of the season.
Daichun Raydan (Hertha BSC / PEC Zwolle)
Reidan was bent on making his way to the Ajax first team until the arrival of Chelsea in 2017. The Londoners overtook Manchester United for the sixteen-year-old striker. Reidan scored in the youth of The Blues and also became European champion with Orange U17. However, her breakthrough at Chelsea proved to be a bridge too far and in 2019 he moved to Hertha FC. Reidan was also unable to connect to the German capital. The lease term at Groningen FC has not been successful and this season he can try to deliver on his promise at PEC Zwolle. The counter has so far scored two goals in ten Eredivisie matches for the twenty-year-old striker.
Kee Jana Hoover (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Hoover, who, unlike his contemporaries such as Kenneth Taylor and Sontje Hansen, did not advance early, was not going fast enough in Ajax. The defender fell due to the progress of Liverpool in 2018, who already made his first-team debut six months later – at the age of 16. Hoover could not get a permanent place in the selection of coach Jürgen Klopp, and in the summer of 2020 Wolverhampton Wanderers paid 11 million euros to the international youth club. There, the only defender still at the age of nineteen, is usually considered a backup for Nelson Semedo. He has played six Premier League matches so far this season.
Hoogewerf, Bonnah and Rijkhoff
Ajax has also lost a number of great talents in recent years, but in these cases no conclusions can be drawn. Versatile striker Dillon Hoogwerf (18) has been playing for Manchester United since 2019, right-back Solomon Bona (18) chose RB Leipzig in the same year and goal thief Julian Rekhov (16) now plays for Borussia Dortmund exactly one year ago. .
We will never know where these talents were had they stayed with Ajax. The fact is that none of the players penetrated the club for which he left Amsterdam. At the moment, Malin is the only one who has ended up – via a detour – at the (sub) European summit and can call himself an international. For Hoever, Fosu-Mensah, and Dilrosun, the Book of Orange was not yet closed. But players such as Brewer, Van Velzen, Bowie and Peters, Familia Castillo, Pars and Raydan will leave with different expectations. The majority of these thirteen players have not (yet) passed out.
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