Daley Blind and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar rolling back the years alongside Ajax's young guns

Blind and Huntelaar the elder statesmen in an Ajax squad bursting with exciting young talent

epa07549403 Klaas Jan Huntelaar (2-R) of Ajax Amsterdam in action during the Dutch Cup final match between Willem II and Ajax Amsterdam in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 05 May 2019.  EPA/OLAF KRAAK
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The list of young prospects in the Ajax ranks with the potential to progress to world-class should be celebrated well beyond the confines of the Amsterdam club's fabled youth system.

The 21-year-old Frenkie de Jong will this summer become the latest in a long and distinguished line of Dutchman to move to Camp Nou after signing for Spanish champions Barcelona in a €75 million (Dh308.5m) deal.

Fellow midfielder, Donny van de Beek, is another off the Ajax assembly line that has generated player sales well into the hundreds of millions over the past half century. The 22 year old was on target as the Dutch club pulled off a 2-1 win in Turin to eliminate Juventus in the quarter-finals and it is his goal from the first leg in London a week ago that has given Ajax a one-goal cushion to defend against Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday when the two clubs meet again in the semi-finals.

Another who looks destined for a move to one of Europe's powerhouses before long is the 19-year-old captain Matthijs de Ligt. The teenage defender looks ridiculously comfortable on the biggest stage - as was the case in his masterful display against Real Madrid in the quarter-finals.

As is the Ajax way, De Ligt is calm under pressure, comfortable receiving the ball in tight situations, and is a lightning rod for instigating quick attacks from defence that has been a highlight of this season’s Champions League.

A downside to that success is that the likes of De Jong, De Beek and De Ligt are, sooner more often than later, sold to the highest bidder. This is a model Ajax has long made its peace with; the circle of life.

And yet while the production line keeps on churning out talented youngsters it is two old boys that are enjoying a renaissance in their careers.

At the ripe old age of 25, Daley Blind left it late in his career, by Ajax standards, to test the waters at one of Europe's bigger clubs. His four-year spell at Manchester United was by no means a failure, but then neither was it a roaring success.

A move back to the club where the versatile defender learnt his trade has seen Blind, 29, form a formidable partnership alongside De Ligt. The younger man would do well to pick the brains of his more experienced teammate before deciding on his career path.

Blind opened the scoring in Sunday's Dutch Cup final as Ajax clinched the first of what they hope will be three trophies - they are also top of the Eredivisie with two rounds left to play - by season's end with a 4-0 hammering of Willem II.

Another seasoned campaigner was also on target in Rotterdam. At 35, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is the grandaddy of Erik ten Hag's young squad and it was the Dutch striker's two goals, either side of half time, that killed off any lingering hopes of Willem pulling off an upset.

The prolific Dutchman scored over 100 goals during his first spell at the club from 2005 to 2009 before a nomadic career saw him take in brief spells at Real Madrid and AC Milan before going on to establish himself as one of Europe's best finishers in his seven seasons at Schalke.

While Huntelaar’s brief is very much a watching one in European games, with Ten Hag preferring Dusan Tadic in a false 9 role to compliment the swift interchanges of wide attackers David Neres and Hakim Ziyech, the former Netherlands international has still managed an impressive return of 22 goals in 41 matches in 2018/19.

Being able to call on a player with almost 390 career goals for clubs and country is a luxury few others have.