Dušan Tadić has put Europe on notice this season thanks to his scintillating form for Ajax.
The 30-year-old Serbia international arrived at the Johan Cruyff Arena last summer, but he has shown why the Eredivisie title-challenging side were right to splash out €11.4m (which could rise to €13.7m through add-ons) to take him away from Southampton.
The Ajax ace has made 48 appearances for his side across all competitions this season, in which he has scored 32 times.
Impressive, right? Well, Tadić is proving why he is an integral part of the team’s success through his assists, too.
That’s right, the former Southampton and Vojvodina star has been instrumental in pulling the strings in the midfield alongside Barcelona-bound Frenkie de Jong
and supporting Ajax forwards Hakim Ziyech, David Neres and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
According to Transfermarkt, Tadić has 19 assists to his name across all competitions.
Aside from focusing on the stats alone, the in-form attacking midfielder’s performances speak volumes for his ability on the pitch.
Of course, one only needs to look at his incredible performance against Real Madrid in their second-leg Champions League clash in February.
Tadić’s threat was noticeable from the moment that he picked up the ball in the opening half, finding himself surrounded by four of the Madrid players and only to proceed by skinning Casemiro apart with a brilliant roulette.
He wasn’t done there: he slotted the ball perfectly into the path of Neres, who scored Ajax’s second of the match.
It’s also worth remembering that happened after he assisted Ziyech for the opener of the match.
With two assists to his name in the first half, Tadić ended up getting himself on the scoresheet when he fired in a peach of a strike past Thibaut Courtois.
Tadić’s performance was so impressive that it earned him a rare 10/10 score from French publication L’Équipe, with only eight of those ratings being handed out before his masterclass of a performance made him the ninth player to reach that feat.
While it might be easy to sing his praises now, there’s no doubt that Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag knew exactly what the club were paying for in Tadić.
When he signed for the club, the 49-year-old Dutch manager explained what Tadić would bring to his side.
“When it all comes together, Dušan Tadić will be a fantastic reinforcement, a top professional,” he said.
“That makes him an example for his fellow players, both on and off the field. We have many young players, many big talents that the top teams in Europe are after. They can fit together perfectly with such a player to help Ajax win trophies.
“Tadić has great individual qualities. He always knows how to choose the right position, sees the final pass and can play football well. It is a pleasure to watch. He has a phenomenal kick and thereby gets returns in his game.”
Tadić played his part in Ajax’s 6-2 thrashing of Excelsior on Saturday, in which he scored in the first half and completed his brace in the second half when he fired home from the spot kick.
Huntelaar scored a hat-trick for Ajax, with Kasper Dolberg also adding his name to the scoresheet.
Ajax will be hoping Tadić puts on another Champions League masterclass when they travel to Turin for the second-leg quarter-final match with Juventus.
The first leg ended 1-1 at the Johan Cruyff Arena earlier this week, with Cristiano Ronaldo opening the scoring in the first half and Neres scoring the equaliser in the second half.
Who will progress to the semi-finals out of Ajax and Juventus?
Let us know in the comments.
Featured Image Credit: PA