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Marc Overmars Defends Ajax, Insists Club Will Not Become a Feeder for Barcelona

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistApril 2, 2019

Ajax technical director Marc Overmars during the Dutch Eredivisie match between Ajax Amsterdam and PSV Eindhoven at the Johan Cruijff Arena on March 31, 2019 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Ajax director of football Marc Overmars has said his club are "on good terms with Barcelona," but talk of a loan partnership between the two outfits won't turn the Dutch giants into a feeder club. 

Soon after Frenkie de Jong's summer transfer to the Camp Nou was struck, Overmars confirmed rumours of a loan collaboration between the clubs but told NOS (h/t Goal's Tom Storer) Ajax won't lose their identity:

"We know that we are on good terms with Barcelona. Barcelona wants to talk to us to see if they can loan players.

"Of course, we are not going to get too many players from Barcelona. We are not a branch of that club.

"We already have talents in our own youth academy. These would be slightly older players, or players who just broke through. However, the plans have not been developed that far."

There has been speculation about Ajax centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, 19, the other Amsterdam-based player who has been strongly linked with a move to Catalonia at the end of this season.

It's possible an influx of players from the Camp Nou is a bargaining tool for Barca to aid their pursuit of De Ligt, the teenager already capped 15 times by his country.

The Godenzonen, like Barcelona, have long been renowned for the strength and productivity of their academy, of which De Ligt is the latest star to emerge with genuine world-class promise:

AFC Ajax @AFCAjax

14-years-old De Ligt did this! 😱🔥 #TalentTuesday #ABNAMRO https://t.co/D1s5lRxlSs

Ajax don't often make a habit of loaning players from other teams. They've loaned four players in the past four seasons, and it's usually the Eredivisie side who farm their own young out for experience.

That being said, they have a history with Barcelona in particular and signed former Blaugrana prodigy Bojan Krkic in 2013-14. They loaned winger Isaac Cuenca from the Camp Nou the season prior to that.

Barcelona purchased De Jong for €75 million (plus €11 million in add-ons), and De Ligt could fetch an even greater price if he leaves the Johan Cruyff Arena this summer. 

That being said, writer Simon Kuper commented on how the Dutch dynamos were compromised during a recent 3-2 defeat to Germany in UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying:

Simon Kuper @KuperSimon

#NEDGER 0-2 at halftime but NED have got off lightly, and Barcelona must be considering whether they really want to sign Matthijs de Ligt. GER figured out (as others will) that the key is to put a man on Frenkie de Jong to shut him down

Ajax are having their best European season since 2003 after they beat Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League round of 16, but progress will be difficult in the near future should they sell both De Jong and De Ligt.

Per Storer's report, former Barcelona academy goalkeeper Andre Onana was linked with a move back to the Camp Nou, only to spurn their interest and sign a new contract:

AFC Ajax @AFCAjax

Oh happy Dré, (oh happy Dré) 🎶🙏 ✔️ #Onana2022 🔋 #Onana2030 https://t.co/68ZP9I2UVs

Ajax are within two points of the Eredivisie summit after beating leaders PSV 3-1 on Sunday, and they can temporarily climb to the top if they win away at 17th-place Emmen on Wednesday.

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