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Who is Matthijs de Ligt? Ajax youngster on the radar of Man City and Tottenham

August 2, 2020

first_imgMATTHIJS DE LIGT is firmly on European football’s most wanted list after a stellar rise to stardom which has seen him become Ajax captain and an international, aged 18.Centre-back De Ligt only made his debut for Ajax in October last year but is being pursued by a host of clubs including Manchester City, Tottenham and Barcelona.7 Matthijs de Ligt is preparing himself for a big-money move this summerCredit: GettyAnd reports in the Netherlands claim de Ligt has told Ajax he wants a move this summer.Our friends at Football Whispers have studied the Dutch dynamo to see what the fuss is all about.Who is Matthijs de Ligt?7 Matthijs de Ligt is already Ajax captain and a Holland international, aged 18Credit: AFPIt’s easy to get carried away by hype surrounding young talent but everything points towards De Ligt becoming one of the world’s best defenders.As so many Dutch legends before him, he is a product of the Ajax academy and at 18 has already accumulated 60 first-team appearances as well as five international caps.When he lined up against Manchester United in last year’s Europa League final at the age of 17 years and 285 days he became the youngest Dutchman to play in a European final in history.Considering the volume of talent the country has churned out down the decades, that is some accolade and if his development continues at the same rate he will become very special indeed.Born in Leiderdorp, just 20 miles outside Amsterdam, De Ligt’s first love was tennis before he took up football when he was six.7 Man City, United and Tottenham are three Prem teams interested in Matthijs de LigtCredit: GettyHe joined Ajax aged nine and spent his early years as a midfielder before eventually moving into defence where his physical attributes were an obvious fit.That schooling helped deliver the footballer we have to today as De Ligt looks as smooth and comfortable on the ball as any young midfielder.He made his first appearance for Jong Ajax – the club’s reserve team – in August 2016, playing 90 minutes of a second division match against FC Emmen.Within two months he had broken into the first-team set-up under Peter Bosz, making his debut in a cup tie against Willem II.As if his rapid elevation into the full Ajax side wasn’t enough, De Ligt scored 26 minutes into the match with a near-post header from a corner.Justin Kluivert and Matthijs de Ligt The four Ajax wonderkids revealed MORE FOOTBALL FEATURESExclusiveCURSE FEARStrictly curse sees plans for stars and celebs to isolate together scrappedSAM SO SUMPTUOUSVictoria’s Secret Angel Sara Sampaio wows as she poses in racy lingerieExclusiveWAYNE’S AWAYWayne Bridge is selling his mansion — after John Terry moved in nearbyExclusiveRISKY BUSINESSRyan Thomas stops van on dual carriageway to treat himself to a Mr WhippyExclusiveBED GRIME STORYStormzy in talks to write series of children’s books about diversityTUNED INWhat the stars of Chris Moyles’ R1 show are doing now – from marriages to big jobsLive BlogBLUES NEWSChelsea news LIVE: Follow all the latest updates from Stamford BridgeLive BlogUNITED LIVEMan Utd news LIVE: All the latest updates and transfer gossip from Old TraffordExclusive’IT’S BEEN TOUGH’Alan Carr reveals lockdown pressures tempted his husband to drink againBUMPING ALONG NICELYKate Ferdinand shows off her growing baby bump during holiday with RioHe became the club’s second youngest goalscorer after Clarence Seedorf and joined the likes of Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten as players who found the net on their first Ajax appearance.His career looks to be taking a similar path to that collection of Dutch icons as since then he’s developed to become a fixture in the first-team and an international regular.The Netherlands may be going through a tough time having not qualified for Russia 2018 but De Ligt, along with team-mates Frenkie De Jong and Justin Kluivert, leads a promising new generation.His international bow came way ahead of schedule after Danny Blind called him up in March last year following just two Eredivisie starts and put him in the XI for a World Cup qualifier in Bulgaria.It was a rude awakening for De Ligt as he was caught out for both Bulgaria goals in a 2-0 defeat and was substituted at half-time.However, that brief set-back has only made him a better player. This season, in his first full campaign for Ajax, he’s impressed with his reading of the game and leadership.7 Matthijs de Ligt has grown more and more comfortable this seasonCredit: GettyThe loss of Davinson Sanchez to Tottenham left a hole in defence in which De Ligt has seamlessly filled while he’s also taken the captaincy from Joel Veltman.He’s always been quick and strong for his age but is now developing the mental side of the game to match his physical and technical attributes.As his agent Barry Hulshoff said: “His mind is constantly occupied with what it takes to be a good defender.”He sets targets for himself, which he will accomplish if there are no injury problems.”Those targets seem to have progressed beyond Ajax after Hulshoff has entered into partnership with Mino Raiola and sure enough this week it was made clear De Ligt wants a move away from Amsterdam.How much will he cost?7 Matthijs de Ligt is said to want a move away from Ajax this summerCredit: GettyDe Ligt is under contract with Ajax until 2021 which will put his price at a premium.As clever as they are in finding and developing talent, the Amsterdam giants are also pretty smart sellers.Sanchez left last summer for a Dutch record £40m and Arek Milik’s departure the previous summer cost Napoli £30m.De Ligt will likely be in the region of €50m given not only how good he is a player now but how special he could become.What else plays in Ajax’s favour is, unlike Sanchez, the volume of clubs who are interest in him which will undoubtedly encourage a bidding war.Manchester City, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Tottenham are four known suitors but De Ligt’s availability could also bring others into the equation.MOST READ IN FOOTBALLRETRACING STEPSJack Charlton’s granddaughter Emma Wilkinson ‘would love’ to visit IrelandROY RAGEFurious Roy Keane launched foul-mouthed rant at Pique over Fabregas friendshipPicturedTOP FORMBrazil icon Ronaldo soaks up sun with partner Celina Locks on yacht in FormenteraPicturedON THE PAOLPaolo Maldini shows off shredded physique at 52 while on holiday with wifeLive BlogUNITED LATESTMan Utd transfer news LIVE: All the gossip and updates from Old TraffordExclusiveLOCK CLOWNPaul Scholes flouts local lockdown rules by throwing huge 7-hour birthday bashPicturedMADD FOR ITPrem aces Dele, Maddison & Grealish enjoy hard-earned break in sun-soaked IbizaLive BlogBLUES NEWSChelsea transfer news LIVE: Havertz deal LATEST, Willian move updatesLive Bloggunners newsArsenal transfer news LIVE – Latest updates from the EmiratesMISS-RON IMPOSSIBLERonaldo LOSES Golden Boot race after axe from Juve squad for final gameWhat’s his most likely destination?7 Matthijs de Ligt could find himself at Barcelona by the start of next seasonCredit: ReutersCity are an obvious fit given Pep Guardiola’s love of defenders who can pass, keep possession and build attacking plays from defence.De Ligt is two-footed and looks comfortable and assertive in a four or three-man defence with Guardiola also a huge admirer of flexible, adaptable players.With John Stones and Aymeric Laporte seen as the present and future of the club, however, there is no obvious place in the first XI.Barcelona also make sense as Gerard Pique turns 32 next season and at 6ft 2ins, De Ligt is of a similar style to the Spain international and would form a formidable future partnership with Samuel Umtiti.But people who have worked with De Ligt comment on how mature and reserved he is as a person and that the promise of a super-club may not necessarily appeal at this stage of his career.7 Matthijs de Ligt is being tipped to have a big future ahead of himCredit: AP:Associated PressRaiola’s influence may push him towards the Champions League elite, where he’ll be more financially rewarded, but De Ligt may find himself more suited to a club like Spurs.He’ll be fully aware of how many matches Sanchez has played under Mauricio Pochettino and how he’s enhanced his game while Spurs have that strong link with Ajax.It would also be a transfer that wouldn’t come with the same political baggage as Barcelona with the pressure to be the “next Pique” who has been a figurehead for the Catalans for the last ten years.Raiola’s close relationship with Ed Woodward may also see Manchester United begin to move into the picture, with Jose Mourinho also keen to add another centre-back.Full Wednesday Premier League preview including Chelsea vs Huddersfield and Leicester vs Arsenallast_img

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