Amsterdam football club Ajax is favourite to take the league title this season among commentators for broadcaster NOS.
All but one of the broadcaster’s seven regular commentators put the Amsterdam club on top. Vitesse and PEC Zwolle are tipped to be this season’s surprises.
Ajax last took the championship in the 2013/14 season, having given way to PSV Eindhoven three times and Feyenoord of Rotterdam once in the past four seasons.
‘Ajax will be champion, it just has to be,’ said commentator Arman Avsaroglu. ‘The transfer period is not yet over but the way things look at the moment, the case is closed.’
This year’s Eredivisie competition starts on Friday evening with a meeting between PEC Zwolle and SC Heerenveen. Ajax meet Heracules on Saturday while PSV and Feyenoord are both in action on Sunday.
The Financieele Dagblad, in its annual analysis of club finances, said on Friday that the difference between the big three and the other teams in the Eredivisie in terms of money is becoming more obvious.
Ajax, Feyenoord and PS have all increased their budgets this season. However, the relegation of FC Twente, one of the richer Eredivisie clubs, means just AZ and Vitesse remain to challenge the leaders, with budgets of €20m to €30m this season.
FC Utrecht, which did not qualify for European competition this season, has seen its budget drop to below €20m, and, the FD says, its most recent financial results show the club was in debt.
AZ, which survived the bankruptcy of its biggest patron, has firmly established itself in the sub top, the FD said. Vitesse, however, is spending more than it has and is fully depended on guarantees from its owner, Russian Valeri Ojf.
FC Groningen, which had a budget of €17m in 2011, says it will spend €16m this year and has sold fewer than 10,000 season tickets, for the first time in years.