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“You know where it’s going”: Ajax director opens up on future of Barcelona target



Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Having raided AFC Ajax for Sergino Dest only last year, Barcelona are contemplating signing another right-back from the Dutch giants in Noussair Mazraoui.

The 24-year-old Moroccan international is in the final year of his contract with the club and talks over a new deal have not progressed. Barça are believed to have already enquired about the defender with his agent, Mino Raiola, over the possibility of a free transfer at the end of the season.

Now, Ajax director Edwin van der Sar has reacted to the speculations about the future of Mazraoui. Speaking to Het Parool (h/t SPORT), he said: “We’ve lost months in negotiations. We’d like to keep him but now it’s the middle of December so you know where it’s going.”

At the same time, the former Manchester United goalkeeper expressed his disappointment at Ajax having to lose players for free transfers. The Dutch giants are also set to see goalkeeper Andre Onana depart at the end of the season when his contract runs out.

“If this becomes a fashion it’s a threat to Ajax. We want to win and become champions and go as far as possible in Europe. You need the best players for that. That’s the short term, you need to protect the club in the long term too,” he said.

Mazraoui has been with Ajax since 2006 and having risen through the ranks at the club, he has gone on to make 123 appearances, contributing with nine goals and eight assists. He has also been capped 12 times by the Moroccan national team so far.

A modern-day full-back with great attacking capabilities, Mazraoui also offers defensive security, something that was an issue with Dest’s gameplay. He is also more experienced than the USMNT international who arrived in Catalonia with less than 40 senior appearances to his name.

There have been reports of Barça considering a swap deal involving Mazraoui and Dest in the January transfer window itself. However, that is unlikely to materialise with the club likely to wait till the end of the season to sign the 24-year-old right-back on a free transfer.

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