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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
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By ESPN Staff

Van Basten wields the axe to streamline Ajax

Ajax boss Marco van Basten has told eight first-team squad members they are surplus to requirements at the Amsterdam ArenA.

Van Basten joined the club at the start of July after leading Holland to the Euro 2008 quarter-finals and began his reign with a squad of 30 first-team players.

The 43-year-old coach has now liaised with technical director Danny Blind and decided to cull the squad.

Albert Luque, Michael Krohn-Dehli, Edgar Manucharyan, Robbert Schilder, Nicolae Mitea and Leonardo have all been told that they can find new clubs while Mitchell Donald and Vurnon Anita are available on loan.

"These eight players all know what they have to do," Ajax technical director Danny Blind says in AD Sportwereld.

Youngsters Jan-Arie van der Heijden, Gregory van der Wiel and Siem de Jong, who have all come through the academy at Ajax, will stay in the first-team squad for the whole season. All three have made their Eredivisie debuts and have attracted interest from other clubs but Ajax are keen to keep hold of them.

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