After four straight Eredivisie titles from 2011-2014, Ajax has finished a distant second the last two seasons and has disappointed in European play. Their famous academy, however, can still kick it.
19-year-old Kasper Dolberg, brought over from Denmark two years ago and brought through the youth ranks, has been a sensation this season. The club has lost just once in league play: the only game in which Dolberg rode the bench. He had five goals in eleven league appearances coming into Sunday’s 5-0 trouncing of struggling NEC Nijmegen. Now he has many more.
A first-half hat-trick for Dolberg saw Ajax go top of the table, and should Feyenoord drop points later Sunday against 12th-placed PEC Zwolle, Ajax would end a matchweek on top for the first time this season.
Dolberg has a knack for the sensational. He scored on his professional debut, a vital goal in a 1-1 draw with PAOK in Champoins League qualification that would lead to the club advancing. He scored the only goal in a Europa League win over Belgian giants Standard Liege. In the same competition, he scored the first of Ajax’s triple in a dramatic 3-2 win over Celta Vigo just two weeks ago. Dolberg has scored eight goals in Eredivisie play off 16 shots on target, an outstanding 50% conversion rate. Of those eight goals, three have given the club the lead. He has two braces and a hat-trick.
Not surprisingly, Dolberg was linked with Manchester United just after the win over Celta Vigo. Chelsea has been seen scouting him. Expect to see much more of that as the global press begins to hear of his successes.