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Transfer Talk: Five Ajax aces attracting interest from Europe’s elite
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Sean Wilson
LiveScore
Noussair Mazraoui's contract with Ajax expires at the end of the season
Noussair Mazraoui's contract with Ajax expires at the end of the season

Ajax are a hotbed of talent and their success is once again attracting admiring glances from Europe’s elite.

Erik ten Hag’s men finished first in their Champions League group with a perfect record of six wins from six and also sit atop the Eredivisie table.

But which of their latest crop of stars could be on their way out of Amsterdam this summer?

We take a look at five men likely to be in demand ahead of the second leg of Ajax’s last-16 clash against Benfica.

Sebastien Haller

The star of Ajax’s impressive campaign thus far is undoubtedly ex-West Ham striker Sebastien Haller.

The centre forward, 27, has scored a whopping 32 goals in just 33 appearances across all competitions, with nine assists to his name as well.

Only Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski (12) has more Champions League strikes than Haller’s 11, notched in just seven games.

The Ivory Coast international’s stunning season is unlikely to go unnoticed with any top clubs in pursuit of a marksman likely to view Haller as a candidate.

Ajax striker Sebastien Haller is the Champions League's second-highest scorer this season
Ajax striker Sebastien Haller is the Champions League's second-highest scorer this season

Antony

Antony’s haul of 11 goals in 31 games in all competitions has made him an equally sought-after prospect.

The winger, 22, has attracted plenty of attention according to recent reports, particularly from top Premier League clubs.

While Antony’s goalscoring record is excellent, it is his creative numbers that really catch the eye with 12 assists so far this season.

Five of those have come in just six Champions League outings — only Leroy Sane (six) and Bruno Fernandes (seven) have more in the competition.

Of Ajax players to have played at least 100 minutes in the Champions League this season, Antony ranks first for final-third passes attempted (26.24) and completed (21.25) per 90.

He also takes the most touches per 90 (73.92) of any midfielder or forward at the club in the competition.

Antony takes a high number of touches for a winger and has a tendency to drift inside
Antony takes a high number of touches for a winger and has a tendency to drift inside

Ryan Gravenberch

Ryan Gravenberch has turned heads with his ability to drive forward with the ball — and Bayern Munich reportedly head the queue for his signature.

The 19-year-old has already made an astonishing 96 first-team appearances for Ajax after cementing a regular starting spot last season and has hardly missed a game this term.

The midfielder’s contract expires at the end of the 2022-23 season and Gravenberch has vowed not to leave on a free transfer, making a summer departure likely — although he has not ruled out staying longer either.

He said: "I don't know if I will leave in the summer. What I do know for sure is that I won't leave Ajax if they don't get anything back. I can't leave on a free transfer. This won't happen.

"It is not bad to step out of your comfort zone. A different competition, different life and different people around you. But that can also be done at 22, for example."

Noussair Mazraoui

Noussair Mazraoui is set to become a free agent at the end of the season and the right-back is not short of suitors.

Barcelona, AC Milan, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern have all been credited with an interest in the 24-year-old Moroccan, who has contributed an impressive five goals and four assists from full-back.

Mazraoui does not just impact the scoresheet, however.

His 20.02 final-third passes completed and 3.15 tackles per 90 minutes in the Champions League — the second-highest tallies of any Ajax player to have played at least 100 minutes in the competition — perfectly demonstrate his creativity and a proactive approach to defending.

Lisandro Martinez

Centre-half Lisandro Martinez is key to Ajax's build-up, dictating play from deep
Centre-half Lisandro Martinez is key to Ajax's build-up, dictating play from deep

Lisandro Martinez has reportedly been identified by Barcelona as a long-term replacement for 35-year-old Gerard Pique.

While there are differences between the two — Martinez is a left-footed central defender who, at 5ft 10in, is significantly shorter than the 6ft 3in Pique — it is easy to spot the qualities that have led Xavi to shortlist him.

The Argentina international, 24, leads Ajax in the Champions League for passes attempted (82.29) and completed (76.43) per 90 minutes, as well as through-balls attempted (0.71) and completed (0.29).

His composure in possession, coupled with his three clearances and 1.71 tackles per 90, make Martinez a perfect fit for the brand of football Xavi wants his side to play.

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Champions LeagueAjax
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