Borussia Dortmund's Julian Rijkhoff could be set for Ajax return

Borussia Dortmund u19 striker Julian Rijkhoff may be set for a return to former club Ajax, per reports.
AC Milan v Borussia Dortmund: Group F - UEFA Youth League 2023/24
AC Milan v Borussia Dortmund: Group F - UEFA Youth League 2023/24 / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages

According to reports coming out of the Netherlands, Eredivisie side Ajax are working in a deal that could possibly see former academy player Julian Rijkhoff return to Amsterdam. Rijkhoff initially signed for Borussia Dortmund back in January of 2021, when the player made the move from Ajax's under-17s to Dortmund's under-17s.

At youth level, Rijkhoff has had an impressive stint with Borussia Dortmund, very quickly becoming one of the main goal threats at both u17 and u19 level for the club. This season alone, the Netherlands u19 international has scored 7 times and provided 3 assists in 8 appearances in the u19 Bundesliga West. The issue for Rijkhoff has been asserting himself on the upper echelons of Dortmund's football hierarchy.

Ahead of the current season, there was a lot of speculation about what the next step in Rijkhoff's development would be. The player's enviroment seemed to be pushing for a fast-track to the first team, but the club clearly had their reservations. Rijkhoff was a mostly unused sub for a handful of BVB II games before he was returned to the u19 level, where he has once again excelled.

Dortmund's cautious approach with Rijkhoff may end up being the reason that pushes him back to his boyhood club. The player has not been selected to join the senior team for their winter training camp, which further limits the chances that he will break into the first team, or at least certainly puts a longer timeframe on his prospects. Further, Dortmund seem perpetually poised to sign new strikers, with FC Nürnberg’s Can Uzun also now linked with the club. More compeitition in an already bloated area of the squad may also have some effect on Rijkhoff's evaluation of his current prospects at the club.

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Because of this, it is said that Rijkhoff seems willing to make the jump back to his boyhood club; a move that would see one of Dortmund's brighter prospects leave before he could really make his mark. Losing Rijkhoff to Ajax would have to go down as a failure for the club, even if they were to sell him for a profit and even include a buy-back clause. There would be no incentive for the player to return in the future, making any such clause a hollow attempt at retaining the propsect of seeing him in black and yellow again.