Matthijs de Ligt is a man in demand and he has revealed the lengths some clubs are going to in order for him to join them this summer.
The 19-year-old center back played for the Netherlands in their 1-0 defeat to Portugal in the UEFA Nations League final on Sunday, and immediately after the game Portugal’s captain Cristiano Ronaldo had a little word with De Ligt.
Barcelona, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and now apparently Juventus are in the running for the powerful defender who led Ajax to the domestic treble and the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League.
De Ligt told Netherlands’ NOS television after the game that he didn’t expect Juventus star Ronaldo to ask him about a move to Turin.
“I didn’t understand him at first. I was a little shocked, so I laughed. But I didn’t say anything,” De Ligt said. “So soon after the game you are not at all concerned with it. You are disappointed that you have lost and that is the only thing you are thinking about.”
The Ajax defender revealed he will now go away on vacation and then decide his future in the weeks ahead.
Where would be the best fit for him?
Long-term Barcelona seems like the best solution, as Gerard Pique is in the twilight of his career and it is clear the Catalan club need serious help defensively. They should break the bank, if they can, to get De Ligt.
Manchester United are in the midst of a huge rebuild and De Ligt would be the main man at Old Trafford, but given the fact that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears to be targeting young British players and United aren’t in the Champions League next season, they are outsiders.
Juve is an interesting option, with their usually staunch defense opened up by Ajax as they crashed out of the UCL at the quarterfinal stage. Ronaldo will be pushing hard for De Ligt to sign as he knows Juve’s defense must improve if they’re going to seriously challenge for the European title next season.
Then, there’s PSG. Like Juve, they know they have the attacking talent but their dramatic collapse against United in the UCL proves they need a top-class center back to balance their lineup and De Ligt fits the bill.
Simply put, Ajax know they have the most in-demand player in Europe right now and we are likely to see the world record transfer fee for a defender — Virgil Van Dijk joined Liverpool from Southampton for $100 million in January 2018 — shattered as De Ligt’s age, leadership ability and incredible talent is clear for all to see.