Ajax pairs its first Eredivisie title since 2013-14 with its KNVB Beker title to complete the domestic double in the Netherlands.

By Avi Creditor
May 15, 2019

Ajax has completed a Dutch double, securing the Eredivisie title for the first time since 2013-2014 with a 4-1 win at relegation-playoff-bound De Graafschap in the season finale. Ajax pairs the league title its KNVB Beker title, winning the domestic cup competition with a thorough 4-0 triumph over Willem II on May 5.

Ajax, now a 34-time Dutch champion, had effectively ended the title race over the weekend, going three points clear of PSV while holding a 14-goal edge in differential over last season's champion. It was still mathematically–if not practically–possible for that lead to be overtuned Wednesday, but a go-ahead goal from Nicolas Tagliafico put Ajax on its way to a road victory to seal the championship, and Dusan Tadic added breathing room later on with two more goals for good measure.

That it was the 34th title in the club's history carries extra signficance, with that being the number worn by Abdelhak Nouri, the promising player who collapsed during a preseason match in 2017 in suffered permanent brain damage.

The championship caps a sensational season for Ajax, which was seconds away from having the chance to play for a Champions League title and the treble that would've come along with it before ultimately succumbing to Tottenham at the death in their semifinal matchup. Ajax held a three-goal aggregate lead in the second half, but three Lucas Moura goals, including one five minutes into stoppage time, stunned Ajax in Amsterdam and ended its inspiring run.

What happens next to the club will be of great interest. As is typically the case, Ajax will be selling off a number of its prime assets, looking either to promote from within or seeking system-friendly players in the transfer market with its stout scouting department. Midfield ace Frenkie de Jong has already secured a $96 million move to Barcelona, and it's widely been reported that 19-year-old center back and club captain Matthijs de Ligt will either be joining him at Camp Nou or departing for another perennial European contender.

Other players drawing reported transfer interest are Taglifico, Brazilian forward David Neres, Dutch midfielder Donny van de Beek and Moroccan playmaker Hakim Ziyech. How much more the club looks to cash in on its success this season and break up this team remains to be seen, but its manager Erik ten Hag, claims that he won't be going anywhere after overseeing its 2018-19 run.

Ajax's title was a definite team effort, with four players in double digits in scoring in league play. Tadic led all of them with 28 goals. Two of them, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (16) and Kasper Dolberg (11) were peripheral figures in the club's European success, while Ziyech (16) was instrumental both as a finisher and a creator. Van de Beek and Neres contributed nine and eight goals, respectively, to the domestic title while also factoring heavily in the club's first European semifinal run in 23 years.

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