Sulejmani:Better late than never

So far the 2007/08 season is still the best in his short career. That season, the then 18 year old Miralem Sulejmani was at SC Heerenveen . He made 34 Eredivisie appearances, scored 15 goals and made 10 assists. After weeks of speculation, Sulejmani’s transfer-saga finally ended on 4 July 2008 when AFC Ajax announced on the official website that Heerenveen and Ajax had reached an agreement of the transfer of Sulejmani. Ajax paid €16.25 million to Heerenveen, breaking the Dutch transfer-record.

Now the Serbian is 22 years old but he is not as good as he was back then. That has to change this season. Ajax have begun the season on a bright note. They won their first home game 5-1 against SC Heerenveen, and he was one of the goal scorers. It was his third goal in two league matches. He has already scored five goals in seven Eredivisie games. Speed and explosiveness: Sulejmani has potentially everything an attacker needs to outwit defenders.

On 11 August 2010, West Ham United confirmed that they had agreed terms with Ajax and with Sulejmani to take him on a year long loan subject to the granting of a work permit, however the work permit application was denied the next day.Sulejmani owes his change in fortune to his trainer Frank de Boer, who has given him back his confidence. Sulejmani has also played a personal part in his metamorphosis. He spent the whole summer training under the supervision of his personal trainer in order to get fit for this season.

Both Marco van Basten and Martin Jol had to figure out for a very long time what his ideal position was in a 4-3-3 formation. Left winger, main striker, playing behind the striker; Sulejmani failed to excel in all those positions. As a left winger, he was unable to produce good crosses and he scored rarely. Playing as a number 10, the Serbian was a flop . Sulejmani was then made to play on the right side of Ajax’s attack , but under Van Basten and Jol he failed to make that position his own because Ajax had a better player in that position: Luis Suarez.

Technically-gifted frontrunner Luis Suarez joined Liverpool in January.This move has been a blessing in disguise as Sulejmani is enjoying his football again.The Serbia international has come to life since the departure of the Uruguayan to Liverpool in January and he again showed his immense potential in Ajax’s 4-1 away win over De Graafschap in the opening day of the Eredivisie.

The world will not be able to see Sulejmani’s talent at the next European Championships because Manchester United’s Vidic missed a penalty yesterday and cost the Serbs a place in the tournament. The young Serbian is now showing glimpses of what he was supposed to do some three years ago.Better late than never.


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