'Departure Nigel de Jong sad for Ajax'

'Departure Nigel de Jong sad for Ajax'

Ajax regret but respect Nigel de Jong's decision not to extend his contract with the club. The midfielder informed the club's management on Monday not to accept the new, improved offer made to him. ,,Nigel is a player who suits Ajax very well'', is technical director Martin van Geel's reaction. ,,He could have become a fixture in the squad in the upcoming years. His decision is sad for Ajax.''

Negotiations about a new agreement in the past weeks have been unsuccessful. Ajax wanted to go a long way to keep De Jong at the club, said Van Geel. ,,De Jong is a guy who knows the culture at Ajax. Also, he is from Amsterdam, someone who appeals to the fan base in the city. We have had extensive talks in the past weeks. Ajax wanted to continue the realtionship badly. That was clear from the contract offer we made, which would extend to 2009. It was a good offer in every aspect. Nigel himself thought so too.''
What the exact reason was to leave the new contract unsigned, is hard for Van Geel to say. ,,He only said that he did not have a good feeling about it. He could not make it clear, but it must have grown last season.''
Van Geel stresses that the club respects the player's decision. Personally, the technical director doesn't think it is the right thing to do. ,,De Jong celebrated his 21st birthday only last week. Experience has shown that you can better go abroad when you have arrived as a player. Ajax wanted to give him the chance to develop in the next few years. He'll be 24 in 2009. Then, the world can still be his.''