At the Roda JC – Ajax pre-game press conference, the actual game that will take place in Limburg was hardly discussed. Instead, the main topics of interest were the end of the transfer period and the arrival of Brazilian player David Neres. Bosz expressed his satisfaction with the new reinforcement on right wing, but also attempted to manage expectations.
“I had to laugh at the comparisons with Neymar, and that kind of thing”, said Bosz. “I’m not going to get involved by saying all sorts of strange things like that. Of course, I’ve heard a lot about him and I’ve seen footage, but that doesn’t tell me much as a coach. I’ll only really get to know him when I start working with him.”
Bosz hopes to welcome the Brazilian acquisition as soon as possible, but will need to be patient. “He’s currently playing in a tournament in Ecuador (South American U20 championship) and I understand that he still needs to play a match on the eleventh. I hope that he’ll be coming to us as soon as possible after that.”
The big question, of course, is how Neres will be doing when that time comes. “We’re assuming that he’s in good physical shape. But he’s a young guy, from another continent, and it’s normal that he’ll need some time to adapt. Some guys can adjust faster than others. Davinson Sánchez adapted very quickly, but it’s possible that it will take longer. It will be a surprise for us, too.”
Bosz is also relieved to see the end of the winter transfer period. He finally knows what his selection will be to tackle the hunt on Feyenoord. “And now, I can stop answering questions that I actually have no answer for”, said Bosz, teasing the reporters in the room. In the past weeks, the coach has been extensively quizzed on the transfer market developments and rumors.
But Bosz was pleased with the unfolding of the transfer period. “Absolutely. I think that Marc (Overmars) did very good work. As I’ve said before, we have contact on a daily basis. He asks me how things are going with the group of players, especially the guys who aren’t playing. In turn, I let Marc know that we could use someone on the flanks. That turned out well. Traoré is leaving at the end of the season, and now his successor is in place. It's possible that he (Neres) will be in a position to be valuable right away. Otherwise, he can take Bertrand’s place at the end of the season.”
Traoré is another right winger who is currently on distant shores. The loaned-out player from Chelsea just missed the Africa Cup finals with Burkina Faso on Wednesday evening. It was Traoré himself who missed his penalty kick against Egypt, and it was the deciding penalty. “I would have preferred for him to reach the finals”, was Bosz’s reaction. “In terms of timing, it wouldn’t have made much difference. They still need to play for third and fourth place. He should be returning to the Netherlands directly afterwards.”
On the final transfer day, two more players left Ajax. Tim Krul went to AZ and Mitchell Dijks went to Norwich City. Thus the number of players to leave is five, after the earlier departures of Riechedly Bazoer, Nemanja Gudelj and Anwar El Ghazi. Bosz is happy with this, as he had repeatedly expressed his displeasure regarding his too-full selection.
With Dijks’ departure, Bosz no longer has a pure left back in his selection, but he doesn’t anticipate that this will cause problems. “We have Daley (Sinkgraven) there right now and I’m very pleased with him. We also have Nick (Viergever) who can play there and Jairo (Riedewald) can also play left back. We have many options. The right side would have been more of an issue, if for example Kenny (Tete) had left. That would have been more difficult to solve.”
Bosz was also asked his opinion on Roda’s development. The Limburg club has brought in no fewer than nine new players in the past month. “I try to focus on my own team”, was the coach’s reaction. “We have fewer players than before the winter break, but someone like Neres hasn’t arrived yet. We’re busy preparing the new squad and getting ready for Roda and the following matches.”