Ajax's latest signing could be most controversial of transfer window

Paul Macdonald
Steven Berghuis has signed for Ajax, Feyenoord's bitter long-standing rivals

Ajax have made a serious statement in their bid to remain the dominance force in Dutch football after signing Steven Berghuis from bitter rivals Feyenoord.

Ajax will pay Feyenoord €5.5m for the 29-year-old, who has signed until the summer of 2025.

Berghuis has been in sensational form for the Rotterdam giants in previous season, most notably in 2020/21 where he provided 21 goals and 14 assists in all competitions, a superb total for a player who plays predominantly from the right wing.

But the details of the transfers are somewhat irrelevant when considering the landscape of the deal. Ajax and Feyenoord’s rivalry runs as deep as any major derby in international football and the deal has sparked fury and social media vitriol aimed at both club and player.

Feyenoord were forced to tweet a message to supporters that abuse directed at Berghuis would not be tolerated after a slew of messages and death threats were sent to the player.

Berghuis had offers on the table from the likes of Nice in Ligue 1 and was under no illusions as to the magnitude of the move he was making, telling Ajax TV: “I thought about my decision very well, and I spoke about it with the people around me.

“I know that this is quite a step to make, but I am fully behind it. I want to achieve success at this club.”

Feyenoord have already made moves to confirm a replacement, welcoming Alireza Jahanbakhsh on a permanent deal from Premier League club Brighton.