Ajax have been one of the most impressive sides in the Champions League so far and, ahead of Wednesday night's fixtures, former Ireland manager Brian Kerr said they look like they could emulate the achievements of the team that reached the 2018-19 semi-finals.
Brian Kerr praises exciting Ajax youngsters
Ajax have been in scintillating form in the Champions League so far, with 11 goals scored, one conceded, and nine points from nine after their first three group games.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) November 3, 2021
The Dutch side are also top of the Eredivisie, and manager Erik Ten Hag appears to be building a new team in the Dutch capital around the likes of former West Ham striker Sebastien Haller, and academy youngsters like Ryan Gravenberch and Jurrien Timber.
After Ajax reached the 2018-19 Champions League semi-finals, most of their big names departed, with Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt, Donny van de Beek, and Hakim Ziyech all securing big money moves abroad.
Speaking on Virgin Media ahead of Ajax's trip to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Wednesday night, Brian Kerr said that he now sees the potential for this Ajax team to reach the same heights as that incredible 2019 side.
When asked if he was reminded of the 2018-19 team by the current crop, Kerr said:
Yes, back to 2019 when ultimately Spurs beat them in the semi-finals very fortunately.
Daley Blind is one of the old-timers there with Dusan Tadic, who we [Ireland] know well from our dealings with Serbia. [Tadic] is a fantastic goalscorer.
Antony, the Brazilian right-winger, is scoring goals and playing very well. Part of that front three with Tadic with Sebastien Haller, who showed very little of this while he was at West Ham, scored very few goals, West Ham managed to get him off the books - and now he's the top scorer in the Champions League! 37 league goals they've scored already in 11 games this year.
Kerr also praised the philosophy of manager Erik Ten Hag, who has been linked with the Manchester United job amid the increasing uncertainty surrounding Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's job.
Lots of young players back in the team again after the sales of De Jong and De Ligt - that's why many clubs have been talking about Erik Ten Hag, the manager. There's been talk he could replace whoever he was at whatever club.
Ajax are certainly one of the dark horses in this year's Champions League, and it will be well worth tracking their progress over the coming weeks.