Over the last few days of the European transfer window I was keen to find out what business Ajax would be able to complete (what Milan and Barca did is of scant interest). Between Friday and yesterday Ajax lost two players, Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen moved to Tottenham, and yesterday, Belgian defender, Toby Alderweireld joined Atletico Madrid.
Both were big players for the Dutch champions, who could realise €20m from the sales, but attempts to sign Ola John from Benfica and Eljero lia of Werder Bremen failed, instead they paid Heracles Almelo €2.5m for midfielder Lerin Duarte.
The Amsterdamers had a frustrating final few hours of the window. No doubt potential targets were worried about having to face three huge teams in the Champions League. In a difficult group, this is what counts as a break for Celtic. Only five games into their league season and without Champions League qualifiers to use as a yardstick, the group stage will come early for Ajax.
Living adjacent to an over-monied behemoth has considerable drawbacks as even our top clubs struggle to retain teenagers in the face of English lower league competition but such a rich market can also bring enough transfer income to make the difference between feast and famine.
The English Premier League spent £445m on transfers outside England but apart from Celtic and Hamilton Accies, who between them will earn around 4% of that total, I don’t think anyone else in Scotland got a piece of the action.
Nurturing and selling talent to England has to be a strategy for dozens of clubs here. Paying (for them) top wages to players who are no longer able to gain employment in England can only be considered a waste by comparison.
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