Ten Hag before a Champions League match against Dynamo Kyiv during his time at Ajax.

Where are they now? Erik ten Hag’s first 15 signings as Ajax manager

Before Erik ten Hag became the ringleader of the travelling circus that is Manchester United, he was a really good football manager.

If you’re brand new to football, you might be wondering why people keep expecting Man United to be better then they are, or how on Earth this spooky Dutchman managed to get a job as a Premier League manager. But, let us tell you, Ten Hag’s Ajax were something else.

The Dutchman led Ajax to a Champions League semifinal, and was very unlucky not to reach the final itself. His Ajax side had a 73.9% win ration during his tenure, and won three Eredivisie titles.

They were free-flowing and fluid and glorious. Ten Hag had a tendency to bring out the best in his players, so let’s take a look at the ballers Ajax signed during the Dutchman’s time in charge of the club, and what became of them.

Nicolas Tagliafico

Ten Hag left Amsterdam, and Tagliafico promptly won the World Cup with Argentina. After winning football’s biggest prize, the left-back signed for Lyon and is now charging up and down the left flank in Ligue 1.

Rasmus Kristensen

The Danish right-back was plucked from FK Midtjylland by Ten Hag’s Ajax as a youth prospect. Kristensen didn’t spend long at Ajax before heading off to Red Bull Salzburg in Turkey.

Following three successful years in Salzburg, Kristensen joined Leeds in the Premier League, only to get relegated with the Whites. He’s now on loan at Roma whilst Leeds fight to get back to the top tier.

Zakaria Labyad

If you played FIFA a couple of years ago, you’ll know that Labyad was a sort of backup Hakim Ziyech. Zakaria never quite nailed down a starting place at Ajax, and moved back to his previous club Utrecht. He’s now in China with *consults Wikipedia* Yunnan Yukan.

Dusan Tadic

When Dusan Tadic left Southampton, many people, us included, thought that would probably be the last we saw of the Serb. We were so wrong.

Tadic thrived at Ajax. Ten Hag played him as a false 9 for a little while and, good grief, he was so good at it.

A prime example being the Champions League tie during which he span through Real Madrid’s defence at will, like a prime Zinedine Zidane. He earned a 10/10 rating from L’Equipe for that performance.

A rating like that from the French publication is about as rare as a Jamaal Lascelles hat-trick.

Dusan is now frightening Turkish defences for Fenerbahce in the Turkish Superlig.

Ajax forward Dusan Tadic celebrates scoring against Real Madrid in Madrid, Spain, March 2019.

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name Ajax’s XI from their 4-1 CL win over Real Madrid in 2019?

Daley Blind

Blind spent six months at Bayern Munich in the first half of last year, but barely played.

He decided to make the switch to Girona in La Liga, where he has been the veteran holding the hands of the Spanish side’s young talents, leading them to an almost certain Champions League finish for the first time in the club’s history.

READ NEXT: 7 players who have fallen out with Erik ten Hag: Martial, Sancho, Ronaldo…

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every club to win the Champions League/European Cup?

Lisandro Magallan

The Argentine defender barely featured for Ajax, and spent most of his time there out on loan all over Central and Southern Europe.

He’s at Pumas in Mexico, these days. You know, the team with the cool gold and blue kit with the puma’s head on it?

Bruno Varela

The goalkeeper played a total of three games for Ajax. One in the league, one in the cup, one in Europe. He’s now keeping goal for Vitoria Guimaraes — not Bruno’s mum, but a football team in Portugal’s top division.

Quincy Promes

A super-speedy FIFA legend, Promes had a successful spell at Ajax, chipping in with goals and assists all over the shop.

He’s since moved to Spartak Moskow but, as to where he is now… we’re just going to let you do your own googling there. We don’t want any lawyers knocking on our door.

Razvan Marin

Marin came up through the Gheorghe Hagi Academy in Romania, and it was from here that local team Viitorul Constanta signed him up. Standard Liege took a punt on the midfielder, bringing him to Belgium, where he made a spot in the starting XI his own.

His stellar performances in Belgium persuaded ten Hag’s Ajax to snap up the young Romanian but, after just ten league appearances, he was shipped out on loan to Cagliari.

He signed permanently with the Sardinians in 2021, but is now in the second year of a loan at Empoli in Serie A.

Lisandro Martinez

The Butcher of Amsterdam followed his boss to Manchester United, where he has been plagued by injuries. When Martinez has played, he has been integral to the team, and the Red Devils will be hoping they can keep the Argentinian healthy.

Although, if you believe the reports, Ten Hag might be on the move shortly. Will Lisandro follow him again if the Dutchman goes?

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Rasmus Hojlund, Alejandro Garnacho.

READ: 6 Man Utd players that Sir Jim Ratcliffe needs to build the club’s future around

Kik Pierie

This fella has one of the most apt names for a footballer we’ve ever come across. He’s literally called Kik.

We didn’t know much about Kik, so here is some fun knowledge about him:

  1. Kik was actually born in Massachusetts, USA, as his father was working at Harvard Medical School at the time.
  2. His father played field hockey for the Netherlands.
  3. He’s a centre-back capped at every youth level for the Netherlands, but never at senior level. So, if USMNT are every looking for a centre-back, maybe give Kik a call.

Kjell Scherpren

Scherpen is 6’9″. Absolutely massive. Two or three inches taller than Big Dan Burn. He was 19 when he signed for ten Hag’s Ajax, but never managed to establish himself in Amsterdam, so he moved to Brighton.

The goalkeeper is currently in the midst of his third loan spell, this time at Sturm Graz, and is clearly seen as one for the future by the Seagulls.

Bruno Valera

This is not a misprint. Erik decided to loan Valera twice despite never playing him. What this goes to show is that Bruno Valera must bring absolutely impeccable vibes to the dressing room.

Edson Alvarez

The Mexican holding midfielder played a lot of games for Ajax during his time there, becoming an integral part of their squad.

He’s since been signed by West Ham to help plug the gaping hole left by Declan Rice since the Englishman’s move to Arsenal — a nigh-on impossible task.

Ryan Babel

Babel had three separate spells in Amsterdam. Once at the start of his career, once in the middle when he was sick of his life at Hoffenheim so bought out the remainder of his contract and returned to his boyhood club, and one weird little loan a year into his time at Galatasaray. Why not?

The Dutchman is retired now, after an Indian summer at Eyupspor (every Yorkshireman’s favourite Turkish football team).