Wednesday, 26th June, 2013
Ajax have already begun making plans to fill a potential void left by centre-back Toby Alderweireld, by lining up approaches for Mike van der Hoorn and Lerin Duarte.
Alderweireld has been courted by Liverpool and Bayer Leverkusen this summer, and appears certain to move abroad.
It means Ajax have some big shoes to fill, as Alderweireld played 33 times in the Eredivisie and appeared in six Champions League encounters with two in the Europa League as well.
He has been a mainstay for Ajax, but the club are eyeing FC Utrecht defender Van der Hoorn as a potential replacement if either Liverpool or Leverkusen manage the swoop.
Despite a European Under-21 Championship that saw Holland concede seven goals, being eventually beaten by Spain, Van der Hoorn has been hailed as a prospect for the future.
Coach Frank de Boer told Voetbal International: "If Toby Alderweireld leaves, there would be a good right-footed central defender who can take his place and compete with Joel Veltman [for the centre-back position]."
And director of football Marc Overmars has faith in the 20-year-old, adding: "We judge players over an entire season, not one competition. Van der Hoorn remains an interesting defender."
Duarte, meanwhile, has also been impressing experts in Holland after a season in which he scored six goals and made six assists over 30 league games.
The 22-year-old can double up as a defender or even a winger if required, and De Boer is very keen on the youngster.
"We are definitely interested in Duarte", he added. "He can play as an attacking midfielder and I also see possibilities for him on the right wing. I have already spoken with Lerin."
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