Since Ajax dumped Real Madrid out of the Champions League in spectacular fashion this week, questions have been asked of Celtic after someone highlighted the Dutch club’s annual wage bill was £10million lower than Celtic’s current staff wages.
It seems to have given birth to a lazy comparison, something Chris Sutton has fallen hook line and sinker for in his column so he has something to talk about.
Sutton writes in Record Column: ‘It was also a message of hope to all sides that money isn’t everything, even when it comes to the millionaire playground. Ajax are not even top of the table in Holland.
Celtic fans have been constantly told the club haven’t got the resources to cut it at the very top level any more but interestingly, Ajax have a wage bill that is more than £10m less each year.”
Ajax as a club have spent (Figures from Transfer Markt)
- 18/19 – £45.59m
- 17/18 – £25.79m
- 16/17 – £31.95m
That’s over £100million shelled out in the past three seasons alone to build a team that was capable of shocking a privileged Real Madrid side.
Last season, Ajax couldn’t even beat Rosenborg after spending over £60million on personnel in the 16/17, 17/18 season.
Consider Celtic’s last three seasons spend.
- 18/19 – £13.08m
- 17/18 – £10.64m
- 16/17 – £8.46m
So last season Celtic got into the Champions League, further than Ajax managed and got into the last 32 of the Europa League again, further than Ajax managed. Nobody was clamouring then to tell Ajax that they should be following Celtic’s model.
There are lessons to be learned from the Dutch side, their youth system is world renowned but to say Celtic’s youth system hasn’t been paying its own dividends is silly. There is a massive pool of hungry dutch talent coming through the ranks, a bigger pool than Celtic would be able to get their hands on.
To make a direct and lazy comparison about wages is very misleading. The wage bill has grown exponentially over the Rodgers era as the club tried to satisfy their ambitious manager. Celtic are spending money on players wages who have not cut the mustard in Glasgow and the Irishman has left behind a massive squad which will be trimmed in the summer due to natural attrition.
Can Celtic go spend £100million on just wages alone over the next three years to try and compete in the Champions League? No, it just isn’t feasible – to spend that amount of money for a club in Scotland would be wildly negligible. The Dutch side has kept their wage bill down thanks to bringing youngsters through and not having to offer players as much as Celtic would have to offer to get them to Scotland.
Ajax are in a position where they can spend £10m on a Dusan Tadic and not blink. When Celtic spent £9m on Edouard, it was with a view to moulding the striker and selling him down the line for a profit. That’s the market Celtic are in.
Could the bhoys buy Daley Blind from Manchester United for £14million, no.
We have to look at Ajax in the way we have our own achievements in Europe in the last 10-15 years. They’re punching above their weight this year after shelling out a hell of a lot of money.