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Ajax most expensive player sales - How Ajax made over €1.1 billion in outgoing transfers

10:09 BST 01/09/2022
Transfer gurus Ajax Frenkie de Jong Antony
Ajax have sold some of their best talents at a huge premium and have become a genuine money-making machine

Ajax have been one of the most profitable clubs in world football when it comes to their business model.

The Dutch giants have continued to fight for silverware despite letting go of their biggest stars in almost every summer transfer window for impressive figures.

Having probably one of the best football academies in world football, Ajax have ensured that they earn huge money through player sales as they have a seemingly never-ending supply of wonderkids coming through, especially in the last decade.

And as if that wasn't enough, they have also mastered the art of buying external talent on the cheap, only to sell them on at significant profits.

Several players like Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt, Hakim Ziyech, Donny van de Beek and many more came to Ajax as budding footballers, but left the club as superstars.

And Ajax ensured they earned a huge premium on their investment by selling them to prospective buyers.

Just recently, they sold Antony to Manchester United for €95m (£85.5m), thus taking their overall sales to almost €600m (£525m) just since the 2019-20 season.

Ajax most expensive sales by season

Season

Biggest sale

Fee

Total sales

2022/23

Antony

€95M/£85.50M

€216.22M/£194.60M

2021/22

David Neres

€12M/£10.80M

€46M/£41.40M

2020/21

Hakim Ziyech

€40M/£36M

€109.50M/£98.55M

2019/20

Frenkie de Jong

€86M/£77.40M

€218.20M/£196.38M

2018/19

Justin Kluivert

€17.25M/£15.53M

€17.55M/£15.80M

2017/18

Davinson Sanchez

€42M/£37.80M

€83.20M/£74.88M

2016/17

Arkadiusz Milik

€32M/£28.80M

€80.50M/£72.45M

2015/16

Kolbeinn Sigthorsson

€3M/£2.70M

€6M/£5.40M

2014/15

Daley Blind

€17.50M/£15.75M

€30.05M/£27.05M

2013/14

Christian Eriksen

€14.15M/£12.74M

€24.55M/£22.10M

2012/13

Jan Vertonghen

€12.50M/£11.25M

€32.75M/£29.48M

2011/12

Maarten Stekelenburg

€7.33M/£6.59M

€13.63M/£12.26M

2010/11

Luis Suarez

€26.50M/£23.85M

€29.20M/£26.28M

2009/10

Thomas Vermaelen

€12M/£10.80M

€13.14M/£11.83M

2008/09

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar

€27M/£24.30M

€37.85M/£34.07M

2007/08

Wesley Sneijder

€27M/£24.30M

€52.25M/£47.03M

2006/07

Markus Rosenberg

€3M/£2.70M

€7.63M/£6.86M

2005/06

Rafael van der Vaart

€5.10M/£4.59M

€14.50M/£13.05M

2004/05

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

€16M/£14.40M

€20.28M/£18.25M

2003/04

Christian Chivu

€18M/£16.20M

€30.60M/£27.54M

2002/03

Nikolaos Machlas

€400,000/£360,000

€400,000/£360,000

2001/02

Shota Arveladze

€4.50M/£4.05M

€4.50M/£4.05M

2000/01

Jesper Gronkjaer

€11.85M/£10.67M

€18.95M/£17.06M

TOTAL

~€1.11b/£1b

*All figures are taken from Transfermarkt unless stated otherwise.

Ajax top 10 most expensive player sales

  • Klaas-Jan Huntelaar - Real Madrid

    #10 Klaas-Jan Huntelaar | €27 million/£24.30 million | Real Madrid | 2008

    Dutch superstar Klaas-Jan Huntelaar left Ajax in the summer of 2008 for €27 million (£24.30 million) as Real Madrid came calling.

    Huntelaar came to prominence at Ajax in 2006 after incredible performances for Heerenveen, scoring 33 goals in 46 appearances over two seasons.

    At the Dutch cub, Huntelaar netted 105 goals in 136 matches before he made a dream move to Los Blancos in January 2009.

    Huntelaar could survive just half a season in Madrid before being transferred to Milan the following summer.

  • Sebastien Haller BVB

    #9 Sebastien Haller | €31 million/£27.90 million | Borussia Dortmund | 2022

    Ivory Coast forward Sebastien Haller was sold to Borussia Dortmund in 2022, just one season after his arrival at Ajax from West Ham United.

    Haller had signed a four-year contract with Ajax in 2021 and was one of the best strikers in Europe during the 2021-22 season.

    However, his performances for Ajax caught the eye of Dortmund, who swooped in for him for €31 million (£27.90 million).

    But, tragedy struck after Haller was diagnosed with a malignant testicular tumour and he continues his road to recovery.

  • Arkadiusz Milik SSC Napoli

    #8 Arkadiusz Milik | €32 million/£28.80 million | Napoli | 2016

    Milik burst on to the scene at Ajax in the 2015-16 season after his loan move from Bayer Leverkusen was made permanent by Ajax.

    The Poland international striker scored 47 goals and provided 21 assists in 76 games during his time in Amsterdam, which means almost one goal contribution per game.

    His performances caught the eye of Italian giants Napoli, who paid Ajax upwards of €32 million (£28.80 million) for his services in the summer of 2016.

    Milik scored 38 goals in 93 appearances during his time in Naples before being loaned out to Marseille in January 2021 on an 18-month deal with an obligation to buy.

    In the summer of 2022, Marseille sent Milik on loan to Juventus for the 2022-23 season.

  • Donny van de Beek Ajax

    #7 Donny van de Beek | €39 million/£35.10 million | Manchester United | 2020

    Manchester United came calling and Ajax answered their call for Donny van de Beek in the summer of 2020.

    The Dutchman almost signed for Real Madrid before the Red Devils swooped in for him, shelling out €39 million (£35.10 million).

    Then manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer didn't fancy Van de Beek in his midfield, though, and he was loaned to Everton in January 2022.

    After a largely underwhelming loan spell at Merseyside, he returned back to United under Erik ten Hag and is still trying to find his feet at the club.

  • Hakim Ziyech Ajax Eredivisie 10282018

    #6 Hakim Ziyech | €40 million/£36 million | Chelsea | 2020

    After an incredible four years with the club, Ajax sold Morocco international Hakim Ziyech to Chelsea in 2020 for €40 million (£36 million), at a €29 million profit from what he cost them in 2016.

    Ziyech played a crucial role in Ajax's dream run in the Champions League's 2018-19 season.

    After making the move to London, he was part of the Chelsea team which won the Champions League in 2020-21.

    In his time at Stamford Bridge, Ziyech has struggled to secure regular first-team action, despite the occasional moment of brilliance.

  • Davinson Sanchez Ajax

    #5 Davinson Sanchez | €42 million/£37.80 million | Tottenham Hotspur | 2017

    Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur made Davinson Sanchez their record signing back in the summer of 2017, shelling out €42 million (£37.80 million) for the Colombian centre-back.

    Ajax made a total of €36.5m profit on Sanchez after just one season of European football under his belt.

    In that one season, he formed an unbreakable defensive bond with Matthijs de Ligt, who later ended up joining Juventus for an eye-watering sum.

  • Lisandro Martinez Ajax Man Utd

    #4 Lisandro Martinez | €57.37 million/£51.63 million | Manchester United | 2022

    Lisandro Martinez was one of two players who were sold by Ajax to Manchester United in the 2022 summer transfer window.

    The Argentine defender, who arrived at Ajax in the summer of 2019, brought in €57.37 million (£51.63 million) for the Dutch club, a profit of roughly €50m from what it cost them to sign him from Argentine club Defensa y Justicia.

    During his three-season spell at Ajax, Martinez made 120 appearances, growing in stature as one of the senior players in a young team.

  • Matthijs de Ligt Ajax 12122018

    #3 Matthijs de Ligt | €85.50 million/£76.95 million | Juventus | 2019

    Ajax's youngest-ever captain, Matthijs de Ligt's incredible rise at such a young age should be an inspiration for all teenage footballers.

    It was under his leadership that Ajax almost reached the UEFA Champions League final for the first time since 1996.

    A natural leader with incredible positional awareness, De Ligt earned his move to Juventus for €85.5 million (£76.95 million) in 2019.

    After 117 appearances spanning over a decent three years in Turin, he then moved to Bayern Munich for €67 million in July 2022.

  • 2018-07-28 Frenkie de Jong Ajax

    #2 Frenkie de Jong | €86 million/£77.40 million | FC Barcelona | 2019

    Frenkie de Jong earned his share of glory when Ajax made it to the UEFA Champions League semi-final in 2019.

    Since that season, De Jong has been defined as a classic old-school midfielder with modern football traits, which is quite a rare combination.

    He was Ajax's metronome in midfield when Erik ten Hag's side peaked

    Signed from Willem II for just €1 (yes, you read that right) and 10 per cent of any future sale, it's fair to say that the deal worked well for both clubs.

    After proving his quality at Ajax, De Jong was sold to Barcelona for €86 million (£77.40 million) in the summer of 2019, which was the Dutch club's record sale up until Antony's move to Manchester United.

  • Antony

    #1 Antony | €95 million/£85.50 million | Manchester United | 2022

    Brazilian winger Antony joined Ajax in 2020 and after mesmerising fans in the Netherlands for two years, he made the move to Manchester United for €95 million (£85.50 million) in the summer of 2022.

    The talented winger, who was nurtured by current United manager Ten Hag, became Ajax's most expensive sale till date.

    During his time at Ajax, Antony featured in 82 games across all competitions, scoring 24 goals and providing 22 assists.

    Although the manner in which Antony forced his move out of the club might be perceived undesirable, the Dutch club will be delighted to sell a player at a hefty profit on the amount they signed him for just two years back.