Ajax have opened talks with defender Toby Alderweireld over extending his contract in Amsterdam, coach Frank de Boer has revealed.
The 22-year-old has been linked with a move abroad after impressing for the Eredivisie champions this season, with Newcastle thought to be keen on him.
The Belgium international's current deal is due to expire in 2014 and De Boer wants to tie him down on a long-term basis.
"Toby is an important player for us and he is developing well," the coach told Voetbal International. "Hence we wish to keep him at the club for longer."
Alderweireld is open to staying in Amsterdam to continue his development rather than rushing into a foreign move.
The defender is keen to follow in the footsteps of fellow Belgian Thomas Vermaelen, who spent six years at Ajax before making a high-profile switch to Arsenal.
"I have plenty to learn," said Alderweireld. "It would be foolish to leave now. You need to be at the right age and I am only 22.
"The route taken by Thomas Vermaelen was a good one. Thomas played six seasons at Ajax and didn't go to Arsenal until 2009."