Prior to the World Cup and before every other player in The Netherlands squad was being linked with moves away, Ajax Director of Football, Marc Overmars issued a warning to Premier League clubs that Joel Veltman would not be leaving the Amsterdam ArenA. Despite the hands-off warning, the 22-year-old and links to the Premier League just won’t go away writes Robbie Dunne.
The Dutch centre-back is seen as a long term solution to Spurs’ issues at the back and amid growing worries over Younes Kaboul’s fitness, it appears they need youth and depth in their ranks. Their other centre-half options are Vlad Chiriches, who had a very good debut season in the Premiership, Michael Dawson, won is almost 31 and has injury woes of his own, and Jan Vertonghen, who is an Ajax Academy player himself and has been linked with moves away, along with not being happy to have been played out of position under Tim Sherwood and Andre Villas Boas.
Veltman played 25 times for Ajax last season and had more impressive stats than every centre-half option in the Spurs’ squad aside from Michael Dawson, who played seven more games.
Veltman moved to Ajax in 2001, having grown up in Velsen, Holland. He made his debut for the first team in 2012 and has been involved in their last two campaigns, last campaign his time on the field saw a dramatic incline, having only featured seven times in in the 2012/13 season. With Ajax having won the Eredivisie yet again, they are set to play Champions League football and with this exposure to the European game, Veltman’s rise is set to continue.
While he possesses the same characteristics that seem innate in so many young Dutch footballers, like being comfortable on the ball, being able to pass out of defense, he is also good in the air and strong in the tackle.
Having spoken with many Dutch experts, they see it increasingly unlikely that a summer move from Ajax will happen, seeing as Veltman is set to anchor Ajax’s first team yet again and needs more time to develop to the demands of the Premier League.
So, all the links to teams such as Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs are just wishful thinking? That remains the pressing question. Can Veltman afford to perhaps spend a season in the middle of his development on the bench? Would Arsenal, Spurs or Manchester United be better off allowing him to develop his talents further, arrange a fee perhaps in January and allow Veltman transition into his role as a superstar in the Premier League.
While the development of such a player remains a priority, it would be wise for the clubs looking at the classy centre-back to arrange a fee before the €3.5 million he is valued at turns into a fee that is astronomically higher.
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