How do you know a transfer is getting closer to fruition? When the coach losing a player is already talking about the move.
That is the case for Ajax boss Erik ten Hag as midfielder Ryan Gravenberch has been linked to Bayern Munich.
“I know that my players’ attention is only on Ajax. The boys know what they are playing for. But logically, if you are ambitious, you would of course want to take the next step in the Bundesliga, Premier League or La Liga at some point. I always tell the guys to take care of it after the season. Until then, Ajax will have full attention,” Ten Hag told Sport1.
As for Gravenberch and teammate Noussair Mazraoui, who have both been closely lined to Bayern Munich, Ten Hag says they are ready for the level of play they would see at Bayern Munich.
“If you can survive in the Champions League with Ajax, you can do the same in the Bundesliga. I don’t think we would be an easy opponent for Bayern either, but of course we’re not at the same level as them yet. I’m sure that the two guys could perform well in the Bundesliga,” Ten Hag said. “Ryan is a very young player, but he has already gained a lot of experience. He has already played over 100 games in the Eredivisie, has played in the Champions League and has been called up for the national team. Despite his young age, he has already experienced a lot and, above all, won titles. He’s very important for our team because he’s a box-to-box player. He accelerates out of the positional play, does good dribbling, has enormous passing accuracy and takes part in the build-up of the game. Due to his athleticism and physique, he is also strong in the transition game and can also win the balls. He’s come a long way, but can still learn a lot.”
Does Ten Hag think Gravenberch will be ready is he decides to move on?
“For Gravenberch? Definitely! It would certainly be a tough job for him because there is a lot of competition at Bayern. But he’s also the kind of guy who needs challenges. He can certainly adapt to such a high level of quality as at Bayern. You saw that in the Champions League too, because that’s where he always played his best games. We still have hope that he will stay with us for a season,” Ten Hag said.