mo4ch:>Tottenham v Ajax: A welcome Champions League antidote amid cash-rich contemporaries | Mo4ch News - Mo4ch News


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

mo4ch:>Tottenham v Ajax: A welcome Champions League antidote amid cash-rich contemporaries | Mo4ch News

Tottenham's UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg with Ajax on Tuesday can be seen as a clash between two sides with distinct footballing cultures, and serves as a direct contrast to some of their cash-rich contemporaries.

When Paris Saint-Germain toppled out of this year's competition following the concession of a late, VAR-awarded penalty against Manchester United in this season's Round of 16, Neymar, the superstar imported to the French capital from Barcelona, branded the referee a "disgrace" for (correctly) awarding the spot kick. 

The world's most expensive player, sidelined due to a dreaded metatarsal injury, was apparently upset that the previously written script which showed PSG storming to European glory had been scrapped, adding another year at minimum to the French side's frenzied pursuit of European glory.

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Manchester City also felt the pain of a premature European exit. A host of big money imports attracted by the promise of European success and by owner Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan's deep pockets has seen the side become the more dominant of the two big clubs in Manchester, though that success hasn't yet translated to the Champions League. 

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So, how exactly did Tottenham Hotspur and Ajax succeed where their free-spending peers did not? 

A lot of it comes down to the culture of the clubs. Ajax, for example, are one of the more easily definable teams in European football. For decades now, the DNA of the club has remained essentially uncorrupted: quick, pass-and-move football combined with investment and belief in their youth system.

It's a system which has yielded significant fruit over the years through a series of easily identifiable 'generations' through the club, from Johan Cruyff to Marco Van Basten, to Patrick Kluivert and beyond. Today's Ajax side is a young one, with several of the players having come through their famed academy - all of them being taught the Ajax style of play since they were children. 

Tottenham, too, have never been one of European football's big spenders. Chairman Daniel Levy has a reputation for being notoriously tight with the club's purse strings, rarely competing for the types of signings that Europe's elite do almost by reflex - and almost none in the last couple of seasons as the club diverted profits towards the completion of their stunning new 62,000-capacity stadium in north London.

Somehow, it has come to pass that a team who haven't signed any players in the last two transfer windows will face the first club from outside Europe's top five leagues in recent seasons to make it to a semi-final with a place in football's most lucrative single game as the prize. 

For Ajax though, there is a distinct possibility that their two-legged tie with Spurs could represent the high-water mark for this particular side. As has happened in generations past, the majority of their biggest names have traded Amsterdam for another major European city after seeing success with their style of play. It happened with Cruyff, it happened with Van Basten, it happened with Kluivert. It has already happened to their midfield star Frenkie De Jong as he has inked a deal with Barcelona for next season. Club captain Matthijs De Ligt, 19, is expected to follow suit. 

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Interestingly, Tottenham have been beneficiaries of the Ajax youth system on several occasions in the transfer market. Their record signing Davinson Sanchez was brought to London from the Dutch capital. Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, the Belgian duo who form the core of the Spurs defence, are Ajax old boys. Christian Eriksen, the attacking fulcrum in the Tottenham midfield, played 162 times for the Amsterdam side. Even stalwarts from previous Ajax teams Rafael Van Der Vaart and Edgar Davids have lined up in north London.

To say that Ajax and Tottenham are small clubs succeeding among Europe's elite would be overselling the point. Both are giant clubs with volumes of history behind them, but some of the sport's purists have been citing these two teams' successes as a repudiation of the free-spending business that some say football has become. 

The winner of this tie will face established powerhouses Liverpool or Barcelona in the final in June, teams who, along with Real Madrid, PSG and others, will likely be picking over the bones of Ajax after the season's end, just as Spurs have done in their own way in the past.

And with that, the established footballing economy will continue in earnest. 

Source : RT Sport News

Tottenham v Ajax: A welcome Champions League antidote amid cash-rich contemporaries

Tottenham v Ajax: A welcome Champions League antidote amid cash-rich contemporaries