Barcelona – Ajax Collaboration Could Be Dangerous for World Football
Picture this. You walk into a fancy store but you are not allowed to buy anything. You can afford it and you probably need it. Yet the store will only let you buy something if they get permission from a third party. Worse yet, this third party can buy the item and resell it to you at an insane price. As simplistic as this setup sounds, Barcelona having first dibs on Ajax’s youth players would set a dangerous precedence in world football.
Barca-Ajax Collaboration a Dangerous Precedence
Inflation, Inflation Everywhere
If the prices paid for Neymar and Kylian Mbappe by Paris Saint-Germain still rank among the most ridiculous ever, Barcelona and Ajax’s arrangement will ensure that those levels would be maintained and often exceeded.
Barcelona has already spent almost €90 million on Frenkie de Jong and are poised to shell out another €60 Million for Matthijs de Ligt by the end of this season. These players are 21 and 19 years old respectively. If these players fulfil their potential, Barcelona could double or triple their outlay in a few years’ time. Meanwhile, Barcelona get the next set of starlets from Ajax’s famed academy.
Other Super Clubs Could Follow Suit
There is a recurring joke that Southampton are a feeder club for Liverpool. That Southampton’s finest players often find themselves at the red half of Merseyside. While these transfers can be considered as results of good scouting, the biggest clubs in the world could push to create such collaborations.
But take a moment to think about the Manchester Cities and PSGs of the world. They could essentially consolidate the whole African and other emerging nations football setups to simply fuel their own teams. Picking up a Riyad Mahrez from Le Havre or one of the Toure brothers from ASEC Mimosas would become near impossible. Their paths controlled (read: blocked) by the Godfather clubs.
La Masia on the Vane?
When Barcelona won the Champions League in 2011, seven of the starting XI in that final were La Masia graduates. In the current season though, looking past the established academy names, only Carles Alena has made the grade. Sort of.
The millions splurged in bringing in the likes of Ousmane Dembele and Malcom would not have been the case a few years ago. There would have been academy players waiting to burst into the starting XI. Munir El Haddadi, Sergi Samper, etc. are examples. Barcelona collaborating with Ajax would give them continued access to world-class youth players, even if La Masia fails to produce another Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta or any other superstar.
End of the Veterans Brigade
Veteran players finding the second wind in their careers is the stuff of football lore. Sometimes a step down to a less demanding league or moving to a team with smaller expectations could be perfect. The player in question could raise the level of every player around them.
Better yet, you could have marches like Galatasaray on the Champions League, bolstered by experienced but fading stars. With Barcelona allegedly giving Ajax the option to loan its “out of favour” players, it means many of these stars would not be able to do much apart from turn up in the Dutch League.
While the Dutch League is nothing to scoff at, it would have been fun to see a Sergio Busquets boss the midfield in the Bundesliga. Or Lionel Messi slaloming his way to another goal in the Premier League. But those are pipe dreams such an agreement could easily quash.
The agreement hasn’t happened yet. There are just strong indications that Ajax and Barcelona have a super smooth relationship. One capable enough to see two starlets move to Catalonia in the space of a few months. This arrangement could become a landmark. The surreal moment would be when a young Ajax grad hopes for the day he becomes a Barca superstar.