AFC Ajax are a club well-versed in securing the best young talent and nurturing them into world-beaters.
Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten came through the club’s much-vaunted youth system, while the Dutch side that reached the 2010 FIFA World Cup final boasted nine Ajax graduates, including Wesley Sneijder, Rafael van der Vaart and Nigel de Jong.
As well as honing the talent of young Dutch players, the Amsterdammers are famed for their in-depth scouting knowledge across the world that has seen the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Cristian Chivu and Steven Pienaar, amongst others, grow from virtual unknowns to world beaters under their tutelage.
For a club whose success is based on spotting talent, their failure to identify Balazs Dzsudzsak’s ability is somewhat surprising.
“I made my debut for Hungary’s national side in an international friendly against Italy in 2007,” he said earlier this year. “There were several scouts in the stands for me and of them was from Ajax.
“I put in an outstanding performance and pretty much everything I tried worked out perfectly. Full-back Massimo Oddo had a terrible evening.
“Ajax scouted me again when I played with Debrecen a few days later. I wasn’t used to playing two big games in only a couple of days and was less impressive than against Italy. Ajax told me shortly after that they thought I wasn’t good enough yet to join them.”
Dzsudzsak was naturally disappointed by the rebuffal but another Dutch giant swooped to snaffle the precocious winger just months later as he joined PSV Eindhoven on a five-year deal.
Just three years on, PSV are leading the Eredivisie at a canter as managerless Ajax lie six points behind in fourth place.
Furthermore, Dzsudzsak has gone on to establish himself as one of the most-sought after wingers in Europe and linked to a hoard of football’s elite clubs, including Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid.
“I got really emotional when I heard about the rumours linking me with Real Madrid,” he said. “I gave my father a call and I was really delighted with the news.
“I’d definitely be interested in leaving PSV for a club in Spain. I wouldn’t turn down an offer from Valencia or Atletico Madrid in case they are willing to match my minimum fee release clause.
“However, it’s not like I’m desperate to leave PSV. Eindhoven feels like home to me and I still have a lot to learn before I’m ready to join a European powerhouse.”
Dzsudzsak is believed to have a 10 million euro release clause written into his contract, which by today’s standard would be a mere snip for the aforementioned European giants.
The Hungary international has developed into a key player for PSV since joining from Debrecen, helping the rood-witten secure an Eredivisie title, Dutch Super Cup crown and considerable success on the continental stage.
Dzsudzsak himself has accrued a string of personal accolades and has been the Eredivisie’s outstanding player during the first half of the season.
The 23-year-old kept up his goal ratio of more than a goal every other game this campaign by netting in last weekend’s 3-1 defeat of Roda JC, which saw an emotional goodbye to Barcelona-bound midfielder Ibrahim Afellay.
With Dzsudzsak in such imperious form, you would not bet against him joining Afellay in Spain sooner rather than later.