Ajax head for Turin knowing time is nearly up for another prize crop | Ed Aarons

Frenkie de Jong is unlikely to be the last of this team to depart in the summer after their Champions League exploits

“Every year one or two big names leave,” acknowledged Michael van Praag, the Ajax president, in March 1997. “It is sad, especially for me. But we are used to it. There is absolutely no panic.” More than two decades on from the last time the four-times European Cup winners reached the semi-finals, the faces may have changed but there is still no hiding from the bald truth in the Ajax boardroom.

Their chief executive, Edwin van der Sar – the goalkeeper in the famous 1995 Champions League final victory against Milan and in the defeat to Juventus 12 months later on penalties before he eventually moved to the Turin club in 1999 – fielded questions last week about prospective summer departures as adeptly as he used to deal with crosses after Erik ten Hag’s side drew 1-1 at the Amsterdam Arena in the first leg of their quarter?final tie against the Old Lady.

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