Ajax

Getty Images

Ajax youngster Nouri returns home

Leave a comment

Abdelhak Nouri has returned home for the first time since 2017 after being placed in an induced coma as a 20 year old and suffering permanent brain damage.

The Ajax academy product suffered the cardiac arrest in July 2017 during a preseason friendly against Werder Bremen and he suffered serious brain damage and has been in hospital ever since.

His brother Abderrahim spoke to Dutch TV and gave a positive update on his situation as Nouri, now 22 years old, has been moved home with his family.

“He’s just awake. He sleeps, he sneezes, he eats, he burps, but it’s not like he gets out of bed,” Abderrahim said. “We talk to him like he’s not sick. We take him into our conversations and we watch football with him in the living room, for example. Then he watches. You notice that he likes that very much. He often shows emotions. Sometimes he is emotional, but often there is also a smile. That does us good. That makes you really appreciate a smile.”

The Dutch-Moroccan, affectionately known as Appie, was one of the brightest products at Ajax and at the age of 20 he had broken into the first team.

In 2018 Ajax admitted the situation could have been handled better as club doctor Don de Winter was fired. Ajax admitted that a defibrillator should have been used sooner and had UEFA’s guidelines been followed then “it’s possible that Abdelhak would have come out in a better condition. This isn’t certain, but it’s a possibility. We recognize our responsibility and liability for the consequences of this,” CEO Edwin van der Sar said in a statement.

Appie’s father, Mohammed, revealed the family now do a lot of the nursing work themselves and his son is responding well to be in familiar surroundings at home.

“The intention is that Appie keeps getting better,” Appie said. “We have to take care of him as best we can. We try to do a lot ourselves. We have less nurses and help in the home now. We do a lot ourselves.”

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Juventus in for Torres, Upamecano to Arsenal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The coronavirus shutdown across Europe and the world has given teams time to focus on improving their squads for the future. There’s no certainty about when the transfer window will take place as the 2019/20 season continues to be pushed back possibly bleeding into the summer or even the fall. But clubs will have no excuse not to be ready once the time comes for players to make moves.

Liverpool has been linked with Valencia winger Ferran Torres for some time now, with the 20-year-old seeing his contract with the Spanish side expiring in the summer of 2021. However, according to Italian publication Corriere dello Sport, the Reds will have competition for his signature.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Juventus is reportedly interested in pursuing the Spaniard, which makes sense given the makeup of the Juve squad. On the flanks in Turin are 35-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo, 31-year-old Juan Cuadrado, and the oft-injured Douglas Costa. Only Federico Bernardeschi can be counted on long-term at Juventus, leading to rumors such as these.

[ MORE: What we love about each Premier League club ]

Elsewhere, Arsenal has been linked by tabloids in England to RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano, with the 21-year-old French youth international said to have asked to leave this summer – or whenever the upcoming transfer window takes place. Upamecano has started every single league match for RB Leipzig this season after missing the first four due to injury. He also played the full 90 minutes of the 3-0 win over Tottenham in the Champions League that sent RB Leipzig through to the quarterfinals.

Upamecano’s contract with the German club expires in the summer of 2021, so like Torres’ situation at Valencia, it would be in the club’s best interest to sell the youngster this coming transfer window to maximize his transfer value.

Finally, Chelsea is reportedly interested in bringing aboard a second Ajax player after already securing Hakim Ziyech. According to Italian publication Calciomercato, the Blues are looking into left-back Nicolas Tagliafico after their chase of Ben Chilwell was turned down by Leicester City. Tagliafico, a 27-year-old Argentinian international, has been a fixture in the Ajax side since joining in January of 2018 from Argentine club Independiente. His Ajax contract runs out in the summer of 2022, so while there isn’t as much urgency to sort out his situation as with Torres or Upamecano, it is still within range.

The Blues currently have both Emerson and Marcos Alonso at left-back, so they are also not necessarily looking to urgently bring someone aboard in his position, but Tagliafico is versatility, able to play in the middle as well, making him a potentially useful player in a three-center-back system.

Transfer rumor roundup: Man Utd chase Van de Beek, Spurs eye Kondogbia

transfer rumors
AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
Leave a comment

The transfer rumor mill is proving rather impervious to coronavirus, even as COVID-19 grinds the world close to a halt.

A report claims that Barcelona is willing to meet Lautaro Martinez’s release clause, and a pair of Premier League sides are linked with big additions.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Marca claims that Manchester United is hoping to hijack Real Madrid’s long-held plans to buy Donny van de Beek from Ajax.

Van de Beek turns 23 next month. He has 10 goals and 11 assists in 37 matches this season after registering 17 and 13 in 57 appearances in 2018/19.

The report says Van de Beek has been waiting on Madrid, who couldn’t free up the money to sign him in the summer and asked him to wait a year.

United would want Van de Beek in a deeper role behind Bruno Fernandes, and his move to Old Trafford would be yet another arrow to the exit door for Paul Pogba.


Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho is hoping that a drop in the pecking order for Geoffrey Kondogbia at Valencia will open the door to a North London move.

Marca again is the source, saying Kondogbia may be available due to the emergence of ex-Arsenal man Frances Coquelin at the Mestalla.

Kondogbia’s now been well above average at Monaco, Inter Milan, and Valencia, having been linked to a number of Premier League clubs over the years.

And Mourinho is still trying to find his Nemanja Matic or Marouane Fellaini at Spurs, though Eric Dier has clearly become a well-liked option in the midfield. Tanguy Ndombele theoretically has all the tools to do the job, but Mourinho is less-than-pleased with the Frenchman.

Kondogbia turns 27 next month and is unlikely to slip. Spurs sure could do worse if Valencia makes him available, though Ndombele remains an intriguing prospect who’s very much in-house and carries transfer record status.

Ziyech’s Chelsea contract details confirmed

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Chelsea has confirmed the contract details of talented midfielder Hakim Ziyech who will join this summer.

The London giants announced on Sunday that Ziyech has signed a five-year contract with Chelsea, beginning on July 1 this summer when his transfer from Ajax is completed.

On February 13, Chelsea and Ajax came to an agreement on a transfer fee for Ziyech, reported to be in the region of $43 million.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

“I am delighted and proud to have signed for such a huge club as Chelsea,” Ziyech said in a statement. “I am looking forward to next season and hope we can achieve great things together.”

Chelsea was intent on signing Ziyech ahead of the competition and made Ajax a deal they couldn’t refuse.

The left-footed playmaker has been a star for Ajax and in the UEFA Champions League for the last few seasons, helping lead Ajax to the Champions League semifinals last season. So far this season, he’s scored eight goals and recorded four assists between the Dutch Eredivisie and the Champions League.

Ziyech’s arrival this summer surely spells the end of time for Pedro and William as attacking midfielders at Chelsea. The Dutchman, who usually plays as a right winger, cutting inside with the left foot, could create a great combination with Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham, and Mason Mount moving forward. Chelsea could also certainly sign another one in that position, to keep a deep squad in case of injuries and/or fatigue.

FC Cincinnati adds Ajax midfielder Siem de Jong

Siem de Jong
Photo by Rico Brouwer/Soccrates/Getty Images
Leave a comment

FC Cincinnati got a much-needed bit of good news toward the end of a rough week in Southern Ohio.

Longtime Ajax attacker Siem De Jong has joined a talented FCC attack ahead of the club’s second MLS season.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

De Jong, 31, came up through Ajax’s vaunted academy before transferring to Newcastle United, where he suffered through a series of miserable injuries including two collapsed lungs in 18 months.

He’s been capped six times with two goals for the Netherlands in his career and will join a revitalized Cincinnati attack with Jurgen Locadia and Yuya Kubo.

“The system they want to play is quite similar to the Dutch system, and yeah, Ajax is probably one of the team’s that perfected it,” de Jong said. “Over the years I played there, I’ve learned a lot about this similar philosophy and trying to build up from the back in the Dutch style of play. That was one of the reasons why FC Cincinnati was a good fit for me. Hopefully I can help with the experience I’ve had over the years playing this style of football.”

De Jong scored three times in nine matches this season for Ajax, all of the goals coming in a cup match against third-tier Spakenburg. His other eight matches combined for just 118 minutes.

He may not be with FCC when the season starts as he waits on visa approval.