Moisander thrilled to return to Ajax from AZ

AFC Ajax have replaced Jan Vertonghen with Finland defender Niklas Moisander, six years after the AZ Alkmaar man left his "dream club" without making a first-team appearance.

Niklas Moisander has returned to Ajax
Niklas Moisander has returned to Ajax ©

Dutch champions AFC Ajax have signed Finland defender Niklas Moisander from AZ Alkmaar.

Moisander, 26, has signed a three-year contract after moving for an undisclosed fee. Originally at Ajax between 2004 and 2006 after leaving TPS Turku, Moisander never made a senior appearance and moved on to FC Zwolle before transferring two years later to AZ, where he won the title in his first season and went on to be appointed captain.

Taking over the No4 shirt from Tottenham Hotspur FC-bound Jan Vertonghen, Moisander said: "I am his successor. That is shown by my position and my number. But to me Jan was the best player in the Eredivisie last season, so I am not going to try to copy him, but will fill his place in my own way. I have every faith that I will succeed in that."

Capped 21 times, he added: "It was a hectic summer, but I am glad it all turned out fine in the end. Ajax are my dream club. I am in peak condition and I want to make my debut quickly. With my experience, I want to be important to Ajax. I accept that Siem de Jong is team captain, but I also want to take on a leadership role."

While Ajax are sure of their place in the UEFA Champions League group stage, AZ face FC Anzhi Makhachkala over the next two Thursdays in the UEFA Europa League play-offs.