It isn't a pure YDWAWK save as I will also look to sign up the best young talent from Holland, Belgium and Scandinavia, where I think that the under 19's are lacking in depth, but I won't be looking to make any first team signings. I was going to just post in the general game discussion but I was asked to start a proper thread so here it is!
After the disaster with Leeds I tried a couple of games but soon lost interest so I waited for the winter update and decided to look for a game that would be more fun than challenging and the Eredivisie was always a league that I have found fun to do.
Aims and Philosophies
This save will be all about bring through youth, so I have tried to take a different approach to training. Players under 19 are all training on SK, PBD, CWB, Regista, BBM, WM and CF, as they seem to be the most well rounded when it comes to working on different stats, especially mental stats. For this season I am using a 4-3-3 but in the long term I am hoping to use a 3-4-3 similar to what Ajax used IRL. Also like IRL I am trying to play a fluid possession based game and it is working so far as I am dominating possession and creating a ton of chances in the majority of games that I have played. At the start of the game the training and youth facilities are rated as superb and I want to get them as state of the art asap, so I have initially got the board to improve the youth facilities.
The main aim of course is to try to establish Ajax as a force in Europe again, as (for people of a certain age anyway) it is still a big name in European football and it is overdue that they are challenging for European honours again.
This is what I have been using as my first choice 11 but I have been using Davinson Sanchez recently to give him some game time. My strikers aren't the best in the air so I decided to use inside forwards, so I felt that using someone in the AM position would mean that with the IFs and striker it would get congested in the middle of the field. With nobody as a AM the F9 is to have someone drop deep so there is not too much space between the midfield and attack. The WB's are on support so there is a bit more solidity in defence and can't be caught out on the counter as easily.
I forgot to do a screen grab of the team instructions but it is build from defence, work inside box, retain possession and it is set to standard-fluid.
This is the only player that I bought in the summer transfer window, for £300k from Stromsgodset.
I was a bit light on numbers for strikers for the under 19s and as you can see he already has a determination of 20! and he is highly regarded by the coaching staff. Despite his age he already has the moves into channels, likes to beat offside trap and places shots PPMs so he is one who can have a bright future at Ajax.
I sold Thulani Serero because I wanted to give more game time to Donny van de Beek and I also have Carel Eiting who is also highly rated so also needs playing time.
These are the players who I bought in during January
Henrik Bredeli also arrived from Stromgodset for £475k and can be trained to play right along the left side of the pitch. Ibrahim Samrawi arrived from FC Copenhagen for £170k and already has the places shots PPM.
In January I sold Nick Viergiver to Empoli for £725k. I was planning to move him on at the end of the season so when Empoli came in with an unexpected bid I accepted without hesitation. I also received plenty of bids for Lasse Schone and with him being 30 and plenty of midfield players I decided to accept them so it looks like he will be leaving before the January window closes.
I also started to get bids for Abdelhak Nouri and Frenkie de Jong but I don't want to sell my best prospects if I can help it so I turned them down. They both now have the serious hump with me and when I asked captain Davy Klassen to persuade them to stay he couldn't. I don't want to let them go but I do have plenty of midfielders and if I really have to I would rather keep Nouri then de Jong so I might sell him.
This is the current table
PEC Zwolle made most of the early running and were actually unbeaten until they came to the Amsterdam Arena but since losing that one they have fallen away. It did look like it was going to be us and Feyenoord that would be in the race for the title but they started to drop points and I had a 5 point lead going into the winter break. The first game after the winter break was at home to Feyenoord which we won 5-3. Our most recent game was against ADO Den Haag where we came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 and even though Nouri is unhappy with me it didn't stop him from scoring a 20 yard screamer to win the game. Feyenoord could only draw so we are now 10 points clear.
Performances have generally being good but we have had a few comeback wins so defence is something that needs to be worked on.
The cup is going to be all about giving game time to players who need it, but it didn't last long this season as I was knocked out by Telstar on penalties in the first round, although I suppose it was pleasing that the team I fielded was able to take a much more experienced team all the way to penalties in the first place.
The qualifying rounds were against FC Rostov and Young Boys who were both navigated without too much difficulty. I was drawn in to Group H along with Leverkusen, Benfica and Swedish side Norrkoping. I ended up finishing bottom of the group despite being 3rd going into the last round of group games. I lost to Benfica while Norrkoping who were bottom somehow went to Leverkusen who had already won the group and managed to get a point. It showed how far I have to go to get Ajax back to where I want them to be in Europe. The worst result though was losing at Norrkoping and although I won the return game I feel if I had got at least a point in the first meeting I would have gone into the Europa League.
With no Cup or Europe now and with a 10 point lead at the top of the table I surely am not going to blow it now. The first priority will be to establish Ajax as the dominant team domestically and then look to make strides in Europe, although the main challenge will be to persuade my players that their futures remain in Amsterdam and that they don't have to go abroad to try to fulfill their ambitions.