Ajax’s Matthijs De Ligt has shown that the 18-year-old Dutchman can be a future world-class center back. Barcelona, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Spurs are in the hunt for the talented teenager.
The Dutch teenager has been a defensive force in the Eredivisie all season; helping lead Ajax to second in the league table. De Ligt’s performances caught the eye of several top clubs across Europe, and the Dutch club will be lucky to hang on to the teenager for much longer.
Matthijs De Ligt made quite an impression in his senior team debut for Ajax on September 21, 2016. The Dutchman scored in 25th minute of the Domestic Cup Competition against Willem II Tilburg en rout to Ajax’s 5-0 victory. The goal was a sign of things to come for the then 17-year-old center back. De Ligt made his Netherlands National Team debut on March 25, 2017 and should be a fixture for the Oranje.
All the Tools
De Ligt possesses all the tools to be a world-class center back. The Dutchman’s height allows him to challenge for any aerial threat in his own box, as well as in the opponents penalty area. De Ligt is an excellent passer; he has the range to pass the ball all over the pitch but makes the simple pass when necessary. De Ligt’s 90.4% passing accuracy leads all Eredivisie defenders this season. His 2 assists for the Oranje in the 3-0 demolition of Portugal on March 26 showcased his ability to find his teammates. The first assist to Ryan Babel came from a beautiful ball in from De Ligt that undoubtedly had the scouts salivating over the 18-year-old.
The match against Portugal showcased De Ligt’s defending as well. The Ajax man controlled the Dutch penalty area and continually headed away any aerial threat. De Ligt even managed to get under the skin of Cristiano Ronaldo and Ronado found himself fouling the Dutchman out of frustration throughout the latter stages of the match.
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Following in Famous Foot steps
Ajax has been one of the top clubs in the Eredivisie for many years and has produced excellent footballers; Johan Cruyff, Dennis Bergkamp, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic began their careers at Ajax before making the move to larger clubs. Matthijis de Ligt looks to emulate more recent Ajax players that have made the move to the Premier League. Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen both starred at Ajax before ending up at Tottenham as arguably one of the best center back pairings in Europe. Luis Suarez left Holland to join Liverpool and became one of the better goal scorers in the Premier League; prompting his move to Barcelona. Before Christian Eriksen was pulling the strings at Spurs the Dane was in the heart of the Ajax midfield.
What’s Next for De Ligt?
Matthijs De Ligt has a major decision to make in the summer. All the top clubs in Europe covet the talented teenager. Barcelona’s Sameul Umtiti has hinted at his desire to leave the club; the Cameroon center back’s departure would open the door for De Ligt to move to Camp Nou. De Ligt would be an excellent fit for Barcelona and could prove to be a long-term upgrade over Umtiti.
Tottenham Hotspur is another likely destination for the Dutchman. Spurs and former Ajax center back Toby Alderweireld have stalled in contract negotiations; leaving the Belgian’s future in North London in doubt. If Alderweireld departs in the summer De Ligt would have an opportunity to reunite with former Ajax teammate Davinson Sanchez. The Columbian has excelled in his first season of English football and De Ligt would fit in well if Mauricio Pochettino decides to go with 3 center backs. The move would also give Spurs some added depth on the back line.
A move to Liverpool would be an immediate upgrade over Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan. De Ligt could partner with fellow Dutchman Virgil van Dijk; the two would immediately become one of the top center back duos in the Premier League. The move would put Liverpool in contention for the Premier League and Champions League trophies every season.
What move would be the best for Matthijs De Ligt’s career?
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