Peter Bosz didn’t beat around the bush during Thursday’s pre Ajax – ADO Den Haag press conference. According to their coach, the Ajacieds need to win three points in their first home game of 2017. “I think that we should defeat ADO”, asserted Bosz.
Just five more days until Bosz will know what his definitive selection will look like for the rest of the season. The rumor mill was in full throttle mode just a few days away from the transfer deadline, including around Ajax. But during his weekly press conference, Bosz exuded calm and, with his body language, asserted that he would not be perturbed easily. “Fortunately, I’ve been doing this for a long time and I have experience in this area”, said Bosz. “When the market opens, you know what can happen: traffic in both directions.”
The one closest to making a new dal is Anwar El Ghazi. Lille’s interest in the winger has become ‘very concrete’. For this reason, he was not at the group training and did some exercises inside. “He’s told me that he’s thinking about all of this a lot”, explained Bosz, who, in these circumstances, has excluded the possibility that El Ghazi will play against ADO Den Haag.
Bosz has a history in the French competition and was asked whether he thought that a move to the Ligue 1 would be a good decision for El Ghazi. “I’ve been out of France for too long to be able to give a good evaluation of the French competition. I’ve spoken to Anwar about my own experiences. I found it to be a good but tough competition, and they play very hard. But that’s a very long time ago. Lille has grown into a good club. Anwar needs to balance out what’s best for his development and how he sees his future. He needs to make his own decision.”
Should El Ghazi leave, Ajax had a backup list ready. But Bosz repeated his position from last week that quality is more important than quantity. “If someone comes, the club has to be convinced that he’s the right person. Otherwise, we won’t bring anyone in.”
Moreover, Ajax may potentially have two extra irons in the fire. “Bertrand (Traoré) is playing in the Africa Cup’s quarter-finals on Saturday with Burkina Faso, but he may be home soon after. And then we have Vaclav (Cerny). He trained today again with the group for the first time. We took him out when we did intense exercises. I’m expecting him to be completely ready within two weeks.”
Considering El Ghazi’s risk of transferring, the chances at a starting spot for Justin Kluivert seem to be opening up. Bosz wouldn’t comment in detail, but he expressed confidence in the winger. “Every player in the selection can play. If I don’t think a player’s good enough, then I won’t take him. I’d rather go with fifteen men than give false hope to a player who I don’t feel is good enough. Justin has substituted twice and he’s training with us. That means that I think he’s good enough.”
A definite move to the A-selection is not in the cards yet. “With Matthijs (de Ligt), we looked at this for a long time, and the same goes for Kasper (Dolberg) in the beginning. So that goes for Justin too. It depends mostly on the player himself. It’s about whether we think he’s good enough. Justin is working hard to prove himself.”
The topic of Dolberg’s development came up. After his sensational break-through, he forward is going through a rough patch. He has not scored since November 21. “I predicted this”, says Bosz. “Every young player experiences a setback in his development. I don’t want to call it a problem. He hasn’t scored for a while, but that happens to all strikers. We need to wait and see when Kasper will score again. It could be that he scores two or three on Sunday.”
One reported noted that Dolberg was barely involved in the game on Sunay, a fact that hadn’t escaped Bosz, either. “You first need to see if it’s totally his fault, or his teammates’. We’re always looking at that. I’ve said before that I always re-watch the entire game and I pay attention to this type of thing. A lot has changed for Kasper. In the beginning, nobody knew him, and now, players are focusing on him. And that means that other players should have more freedom.”