Marc Overmars has without a doubt his most tumultuous week behind the back driver of Ajax. In front of ESPN‘s cameras, the director of football affairs looked back at the tricky issues currently taking place in Amsterdam.
The biggest news was, of course, the doping suspension of goalkeeper André Onana. At the closing post from Cameroon, the banned drug furosemide was found in his urine. However, Ajax considers the suspension of one year too strong and is still appealing to the CAS. The question is: what consequences does the suspension have for its future? Overmars: “A good question. Onana has another contract for a year. My approach? It can go two ways. Contract extension may also be possible. Next week we’re going to see what‘s going on.”
Overmars recognizes that Ajax is in the stomach with the matter. “This is such a tricky story. What happens if another goalkeeper does really well in six months? What does that mean, if Onana has just extended?” The director of football affairs did not consider getting another goalkeeper this winter, due to the presence of Maarten Stekelenburg. “We have enough faith in Maarten. That’s the simple answer. Also next summer? I‘ll see that again.”
Then the question of Quincy Promes, the attacker who is still a suspect in a stabbing. Ajax and Promes have set their sights on a transfer to Spartak Moscow, for which the attacker came out earlier. The negotiating position of the Amsterdammers, also because of the lawsuit, is not easy. The transfer window in Russia closes on February 25. “Are we standing with our backs against the wall? Maybe a little,” says Overmars, explaining why Ajax wants to sell Promes. “The main reason: at the moment he is not a basic player. Quincy did a great job in his first season, with Ziyech as a couple. Now Antony has played himself into the team very quickly. That’s how those things go. That‘s why we put everything on a scale and then this could be a good time for a transfer. And I’d be lying to you if I told you the trial wasn‘t playing. But I have the expectation that Moscow will continue to work well.”
With Oussama Idrissi, Ajax already brought in an extra attacker and that might be a good thing. Because last week the club forgot to register Sébastien Haller (22.5 million euros) for the Europa League. A flatter of fury, recognizes Overmars. “We have unleashed an analysis to ensure that this does not happen again in the future. Internally, we talked about that well. We’re going to add a checkpoint to avoid this. But we do work with people. It‘s not supposed to happen, but this sort of thing happens. When you work with people, mistakes are made.”
Overmars himself will also more often interfere with registrations of players, he admits upon request. “I’m going to be a checkpoint, yes.” Whether heads have to roll? We let the place sink down first, to see what went wrong. Then you start to think about it calmly and run an analysis on it. Then you go see: is it the third time such a blunder has been made? That was not the case. The people who work here do a good job. But of course we are ashamed, because I am responsible for this.”