Ajax have announced a contract extension for full-back Sergino Dest after his first-team breakthrough.

The 18-year-old full-back received his first senior minutes for the Eredivisie champions this season, starting two of their three league matches thus far, and appearing another time as a substitute.

He also has made three appearances during Ajax’s Champions League qualifying campaign, helping the club reach the group stage of the competition.

And Dest, who has been with the club since 2012, has been rewarded for his early-season performance with not only official promotion to the first team, but also with a new contract, which extends his previous term by a season.

Dest’s previous deal had been set to expire in June 2021, but will now go through 2022, with the club holding an additional option year as well.

His club future now secure for an additional season, focus will now turn toward Dest’s international destiny.

The United States and the Netherlands are in a battle for the defender, who has featured on multiple youth levels for the USA but was born in Holland.

After featuring for the USA at the U-20 World Cup in May, Dest received his first senior team call up for the USMNT for the September friendlies against Mexico and Uruguay.

Dest started both contests for the USMNT, a 3-0 loss to Mexico and a 1-1 draw with Uruguay respectively, but as friendlies, he remains free to file a one-time switch with FIFA to represent the Netherlands.

The USMNT will play against Canada and Cuba in Concacaf Nations League clashes in October, and those matches would tie Dest to the Americans permanently if he were to appear.

That timeline is why Netherlands U-21 head coach Edwin van de Looi admitted last week he wished to speak with Dest soon about his international future.

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In the meantime, Dest returns to domestic action with Ajax this weekend, when they face Heereneven.

The club then return to the Champions League group stage on Tuesday, hoping to match their surprise run to the semi-final last year.

Ajax will match up against Ligue 1 runners up Lille in their opening game of the group stage.


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Ben Valentine