By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger believes that Holland's long wait for a Champions League winner is down to one thing - money.
Ajax were the last side from the Netherlands to lift the 'cup with the big ears' when a teenage Patrick Kluivert scored the only goal against Juventus in May 1995. Holland enjoyed their fair share of success prior to that - Ajax won a hat-trick of European Cups in the early 1970s - but their 14-year wait for the trophy looks unlikely to end soon.
Current champions AZ face a battle to get out of Group H and could do with at least a point when Arsenal arrive in Alkmaar this evening. The visitors' manager is convinced that the lure of wages elsewhere in Europe is a major handicap for Dutch clubs.
"It is down to money," said Wenger.
"The difference between Holland today and 15 years ago is that the players leave early and the top foreign players don’t come to Holland anymore and go somewhere else because of the difference in financial potential.
"You look at the Ajax or PSV teams that won the Champions League and they had Ronaldo and Romario who played in Holland. Today it is much more difficult for these players to come to Holland because in Brazil you have 200 scouts every week who look at a young player coming out. It has changed and become more difficult for Dutch clubs.
"They still do great work – PSV for years has done very well in South America - but it is more difficult. It is a cycle and only linked to financial power."Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source