Dusan Tadic has exploded into life since leaving Southampton’s relegation battle behind and joining Ajax last summer and took to the pitch in the semi-finals of the Champions League this week.
He was always among Southampton’s most creative players but not many Saints fans could have seen this transformation coming – from middling playmaker to spearhead of an attack that is now just 45 minutes away from the final of the Champions League.
Southampton must be ruing their decision to let Tadic go. But why did he want to trade the English top flight for Ajax? He blames tactics and referees as he explained to the Telegraph: “I left the Premier League because I got kicked all the time. If you don’t play for one of the top six, you cannot dominate games. You spend a lot of time without the ball.
“You don’t get much protection, it seems to be 80 per cent for the defender and 20 for the attacker. In Europe, you are protected more and I’ve loved playing for Ajax. We look to dominate against every team we play.”
Mark Hughes has also got to take his share of the blame for letting Tadic go when he was one of the few creative influences on a side that lacked direction.
Ralph Hasenhuttl has had the imagination to turn Southampton back into a vibrant, forward-thinking side, but Hughes didn’t seem to have much time for Tadic.
But between tactics, the referees or Mark Hughes, Tadic wanted to leave and that’s to the great cost of Southampton.