Defender Kristoffer Ajer believes Celtic can take inspiration from Ajax after watching the Dutch side destroy Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League this week.
The Eredivisie side progressed into the quarter-finals of the competition at the expense of last year’s winners after a superb 4-1 victory in the Bernabeu.
It’s a remarkable result and a beacon for clubs like Celtic that they do not need to settle for regular heavy defeats to the elite sides in Europe, as was the norm under Brendan Rodgers.
With proper structure, youth development and recruitment, anything is possible, even on a budget less than Celtic’s.
The Scottish Sun report that as per 2018 financial results, Ajax spend as much as £7m-per-year LESS than the Hoops in wages, showing that currently we might not exactly be getting value for money.
Ajer is now hoping the club can take long-term inspiration from the Dutch side’s recent success, telling the paper:
To have so many young players producing such a fine performance against a team that’s won the Champions League for the last three years was really impressive.
It shows that, if you have a really good structure for a number of years, then you can deliver good results.
We can use that to inspire us because we have a really good pathway for our academy players at this club.
You have to respect that some clubs can afford to buy the top, top players.
But also if you build up the way Celtic have been doing, and the way Ajax have done, it’s possible to create a system where you’re not only selling great players but also bringing really good players through you can keep.
Obviously a direct comparison in wage bill is a simplified argument when comparing what the two clubs can achieve, but there’s no doubt the Hoops can be doing better in terms of structure and long-term continuity.
There’s plenty of hype about many players currently coming through the academy system at Celtic with Ewan Henderson, Armstrong Oko-Flex and Karamoko Dembele all teenagers that are exciting supporters right now.
Fans are expecting Celtic to make a managerial appointment with a bit of vision behind it this summer, with perhaps even a Director of Football in place to oversee a new era at the club.
Time will tell what kind of ambition the Hoops board are willing to show.