Fulham came calling for Martin Jol after Roy Hodgson departed for Liverpool. He was keen and had agreed personal terms, but Ajax weren't interested in talking turkey. Both points of view are easy to see: the lack of obvious names for a replacement is the obvious one for Ajax while the ongoing financial constraints at the Amsterdam club may hamper Jol's ambition. What does that say about Ajax and the Dutch league as a whole?
There is virtually no way that Ajax will match last season. Scoring over a hundred league goals in finishing a point behind champions Twente whilst attempting to reduce the squad and wage bill was quite an achievement. The Marco van Basten legacy was a bloated squad full of wasters. Dario Cvitanich was palmed off on Mexican club Pachuca, but takers couldn't be found for the likes of Miralem Sulejmani who cost an eye-watering €16.5m and has done pretty much nothing. Jol clearly doesn't want him at the club or he'd at least have played some games last season. Marko Pantelic has been let go despite his goals as the club couldn't/wouldn't offer him more than one year. His replacement? Serial failure Mido. Mounir El Hamdaoui has joined from AZ, but while expensive imports like Oleguer linger then sales of star players like Gregory van der Wiel (about to join Louis van Gaal's Dutch enclave in Munich) and Maarten Stekelenburg (Arsenal looking to take him on after his stellar World Cup) will have to make up the shortfall, undermining any manager's ability to get into that all-important Champions League group stage (a qualifier against PAOK begins tomorrow) and maybe challenge for the title next season.
But the same problems afflict the other runners and riders. Twente have always been a selling club. On finishing second two seasons ago, they lost Eljero Elia and Marko Arnautovic. This time, veterans Blaise N'Kufo and Kenneth Perez have gone and new boss Michel Preud'homme has all on to keep hold of Bryan Ruiz. Feyenoord are still undergoing their own financial restructuring as their big money players come to the end of their careers. Roy Makaay and Gio van Bronckhorst have gone and Jon Dahl Tomasson will soon follow. PSV did similarly over the last couple of years while AZ's financial meltdown arrived last season. There are plenty of other sides in trouble too, NAC for one, which will hamper the ambition of any side in the league. It may make it more open in the league, but not in a good way so far as Ajax are concerned.
Compared to a nice little sinecure in west London, managing any of the big five clubs in the Netherlands looks like a hassle anyone could do without.