Manuel Veth –
It has been a breakout season for Ajax Amsterdam attacking midfielder Amin Younes. After a strong season with Ajax Amsterdam, the 23-year-old left-winger was nominated by Germany’s national team coach Joachim Löw for the 207 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.
Although Germany will rest several star players for the tournament being nominated is still a significant achievement for Younes. The son of Lebanese immigrant Younes was developed by Borussia Mönchengladbach’s youth academy, and he debuted in the Bundesliga in 2013.
But in two years with Gladbach Younes failed to nail down a starting place in the first eleven. A loan move to Kaiserslautern was supposed to bring much needed playing time, but Younes struggled to adjust to Bundesliga 2 football, and Kaiserslautern did not make the loan move permanent.
Amin Younes and his surprise move to Ajax
What followed was the surprising transfer to the Netherlands to Ajax Amsterdam in the summer of 2015. Ajax knew that they had an exceptionally talented player at their disposal, but they also were aware of the fact that Younes needed to play to regain his confidence.
Ajax, therefore, parked the attacking midfielder at Jong Ajax in the Jupiler League (second division). Playing at the lower level allowed Younes to regain his confidence, and also to get used to Ajax Amsterdam’s style of play. Frank de Boer then nominated Younes for the starting eleven on September 26, 2016, and Younes exploded scoring eight goals, and nine assists for Ajax in the 2015-16 season.
Ajax, however, lost out on the title, and Frank de Boer decided to leave the club for Inter Milan. Ajax hired Peter Bosz, who went on to recreate Ajax’s formula of focusing primarily on young talent. Ultimately the squad once again missed out on the Eredivisie title, but at the same time, Ajax managed to reach the final of the Europa League.
With an average age of 22.7 Ajax are set to recreate the golden generation of the 1990s when the club last won an international title. Facing Manchester United on Wednesday could, therefore, be a crowning achievement for a young up and coming squad. Furthermore, the title could help Younes to cement a place in Germany’s starting eleven in Russia.
Younes has been stellar in Europe
It was, in fact, the performances against Schalke 04 in the quarterfinal of the Europa League that put Younes back on the radar in his native Germany. Ajax Amsterdam steamrolled Schalke in the first leg, and Younes had a standout performance.
Ajax won the first leg 2-0, and it was Younes, who won the penalty that led to the opening goals for the Dutch side. Then in the return leg, Ajax almost gambled it all away, as Schalke managed to equalize the scoreline in regular time, and even took a 3-0 lead in the first half of extra time. But Ajax came back to score, and then in the 120 minute, Younes made it 3-2, which was the end of Schalke’s comeback.
Speaking to the German magazine kicker Younes has called the Europa League final “a once in a lifetime opportunity.” Winning title against Manchester United would indeed brush over the disappointment of having lost out on the Dutch Eredivisie title this season.
“I still have time to win that title, after all, I still have a contract with Ajax next season,” explains Younes. But whether Younes will stay in the Netherlands remains to be seen. Several Bundesliga teams, first and foremost RB Leipzig, have noticed Younes’ development in the Netherlands, and it would not be a surprise if the winger receives several offers this summer to return home to Germany.
But first, he will want to shine this Wednesday against Manchester United, and then for Germany in Russia this summer. A Europa League triumph and minutes in the national team are after all the best arguments when it comes to making a move to a top club in the Bundesliga.
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist, social media junior editor at Bundesliga.com, and podcaster for WorldFootballIndex.com. He is also a holder of a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.