Ajax coach Erik ten Hag sees Maarten Stekelenburg as a good replacement for André Onana when he leaves Amsterdam this summer. The 37-year-old has returned to the Johan Cruijff ArenA after nine years.
“We would like to keep Onana for another year, but there is always a possibility that something will get going and that he will still leave. Then we are provided with Stekelenburg”, Ten Hag said to Saturday after the first training The Telegraph.
Stekelenburg, who previously played at Ajax between 2002 and 2011, came over from Everton, where he still kept goalkeeping in his first year, but for the past three years he was a reserve behind Jordan Pickford, the goalkeeper of the English national team.
“Stekelenburg can bring quality and fits the profile of Ajax. That does not mean that we don’t get another keeper when Andre goes. Then of course we want to bring someone in. But with Stekelenburg we are in any case provided.”
Ajax may still make a left back
Ajax is not planning to get a replacement for Joël Veltman who left earlier this week, but may still be strengthening with a left back. That position is the only one that is not double occupied and there is also a good chance that Nicolás Tagliafico will leave.
“All positions are double occupied, with the exception of the position of left-back. We will first see if we can fill that in internally. Of course we have a few options there, for example Martínez and Dest and I have one or two things in mind that I will try it out there. But in the meantime we will look around us “, says Ten Hag.
“Only it is not that easy to find a player in the quality we are looking for. Then you may still be able to find a player who brings that quality, but it is also difficult for a new player to compete with Tagliafico “When he leaves, it will of course be open and it will become more attractive for a number of players to take that step.”
Ten Hag did not have Onana (suffering from his ankle), Dusan Tadic (has yet to undergo a medical test) and purchase Mohammed Kudus (paperwork not yet completed) during the first training. David Neres was on the field. He is still recovering from the knee injury he suffered ten months ago in the Champions League game with Chelsea (4-4).
“I think that is the biggest stroke of luck. I am very happy that he has finally taken steps towards the group. If you know where he comes from, this is a very big step forward. It has been a bit out of sight , but he hasn’t trained in the previous two blocks. Today was the first time he moved back into the group. ”