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Ajax agree new deal with Jorrel Hato

Ajax agree new deal with Jorrel Hato

Jorrel Hato of Ajax during the Dutch Eredivisie match between Ajax v Vitesse at the Johan Cruijff Arena on November 25, 2023 in Amsterdam Netherlands (Photo by Jeroen van den Berg/Soccrates/Getty Images) Arsenal target

Arsenal target Jorrel Hato during the Eredivisie match between Ajax and Vitesse
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ajax announced yesterday that they have reached agreement on a new contract with much-coveted young Dutch defender Jorrel Hato. 

The Evening Standard reported in January that the 18-year-old was being targeted for a summer move by Arsenal, but the price may have gone up significantly after he signed his new deal.

Hato is a left-footed, left-sided centre-back or left-back and has started every Eredivisie match for Ajax this season. He has made 37 appearances in all competitions during 2023-24, including starting both matches against Brighton in the Europa League, being on the losing end both times. 

#ForTheFuture 🌍Ajax and Jorrel Hato have reached an agreement on a new contract. The new contract of the 18-year-old defender will run until June 30, 2028.March 12, 2024

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He also played in the Europa Conference tie against Aston Villa, a 0-0 draw, with the second leg being played tomorrow night.

His new contract will run until June 2028, replacing his previous deal which was due to expire in 2025. In a statement announcing the agreement, Ajax said: “Hato has been playing in Ajax’s youth academy since the summer of 2018, when he joined from Sparta Rotterdam’s youth team. 

“On January 11, 2023, he made his debut in the first team during the Dutch Cup match between FC Den Bosch and Ajax (0-2). The international has made 52 appearances for Ajax’s first team so far, scoring once.”

Hato captained his national side at youth level and did the same for his club side too. Last year he made his debut for the senior national team, coming on as a half-time substitute to replace Virgil van Dijk in a friendly against Gibraltar which the Netherlands won 6-0.

On the club front, Ajax have been struggling this season and are in fifth place in the Eredivisie, trailing leaders PSV by a hang-your-head-in-shame 29 points, which may encourage Hato to consider pastures new.

One defender who already left Ajax for Arsenal is Jurrien Timber. Speaking of that move last year, Hato told ELF Voetbal: “The move to Arsenal was a wonderful one for him. It is also my dream to one day make such a transfer, but I realise that I still have a very long way to go.”

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Andrew Hankinson is a freelance journalist based in the UK. He has written for GQ, Esquire, Sunday Times, New Yorker, The Athletic, Guardian and FT Weekend. Over two decades he has interviewed many footballers, reported on subjects such as the impact of heading on footballers, and travelled to places like the USA and Saudi Arabia to write about how football is changing around the world.

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