Ajax not sad about losing De Jong and De Ligt, says Tadic

Dusan Tadic insists Ajax can still succeed in the Champions League despite selling Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt.

Former Ajax pair Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong were instrumental in Ajax's stunning run to the Champions League semifinals last season.   -  Getty Images

Ajax will miss Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt but have not been deflated by the dual departures, according to Dusan Tadic.

The Dutch champion parted with two of its brightest stars during the close season as midfielder De Jong moved to Barcelona and defender De Ligt joined Juventus.

The pair had been starting 17 games apiece.

Erik ten Hag's men return to European action against Ligue 1 side Lille on Tuesday and winger Tadic believes success on the continent remains within reach.

"We were not sad De Jong and De Ligt left," Tadic told the Telegraph.

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"We will miss them, but it's the next step for them and Ajax likes to support their players who feel the time is right to move on.

"They have both gone to big clubs, nobody was surprised. The nice thing is, there were a lot of other players who could have left and decided to stay because they are having their best days here. This is important.

"It will be harder without those two, but not impossible. We still have a good team, we can still win trophies, we can still do well in Europe and there are more young players coming through who will make their impact.

"Ajax have sold big players before, that is the way of life for us, so it is up to the young players to stand up and take more responsibility.

"They will have a chance, there are so many of them coming through."

Tadic was another hugely important figure in Ajax's superb 2018-19 season, the Serbia international scoring 38 goals.

His performances justified the Eredivisie club's decision to break with its tradition of focusing investment on young prospects and Tadic's own choice to leave the Premier League.

"I was 29 when I left for Ajax and I can confidently say I made the right decision," he said.

"It is easier to show my true self for Ajax, it was harder at Southampton. I stopped enjoying it. I wanted to come to Ajax and I have enjoyed every minute."

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