Matthijs de Ligt

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Rumor roundup: De Ligt talks with Liverpool

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Our top rumors for Sunday reside on Merseyside.

[ MORE: Kompany signed, hired by Anderlecht ]

Liverpool has “been talking” with Ajax center back Matthijs de Ligt in a bid to set up their back line for a long while.

De Ligt’s been linked with moves to Barcelona and Manchester United amongst others, but Guillem Balague says Liverpool has approached the 19-year-old about its project to bring a first Premier League era title to Anfield.

He has almost 10,000 first team minutes for Ajax despite not turning 20 until August. De Ligt has 15 caps for the Netherlands national team, scoring once, and pairing with Virgil Van Dijk could not only help his continued growth but would also give Liverpool one of the best center back pairings in the world.

Ajax will be rubbing its hands together in anticipation of a proper bidding war as the fight for De Ligt may last for some time.


Jordan Pickford is still Everton’s No. 1, but the Toffees will have insurance should the England keeper dip in form or go adventuring again.

That’s thanks to Huddersfield Town’s release of Jonas Lossl, who was outstanding in 2017-18 and just a bit less so this season as the Terriers were unable to keep their Premier League status.

The 30-year-old would take the place of former Fulham backstop Maarten Stekelenburg, who Sky Sports says is expected to leave the Goodison Park set this summer.

Transfer rumor roundup: De Ligt to Man United; Mitrovic to Everton

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The Premier League transfer window is officially open again and that means one thing: transfer reports are going to start kicking up a few notches.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Here’s a look at some of the latest gossip from around the PL…


Manchester United have been linked with a move for Ajax captain and center back Matthijs de Ligt, even though it had been previously reported United weren’t keen on signing the young center back several years ago.

A report in the Daily Telegraph states that United are chasing the Dutch international and that de Ligt is “open to a move to United” as he fancies being the main man in their huge rebuild this summer.

De Ligt, still just 19 years old, starred for Ajax during their incredible run to the UEFA Champions League semifinal but it seems like their entire squad will now be broken up over the summer with Frenkie de Jong already going to Barcelona and Hakim Ziyech also set to move on. His leadership skills are immense and he scored some massive goals from set pieces throughout Ajax’s run in Europe, as he also led them to the Dutch title.

With Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly around at United, the fact they are chasing one of the best center back products in the game suggests one or more of those players will be moved on this summer. Defensive solidity has not been a United hallmark for quite some time and if they were to sign de Ligt it would be a massive coup. Barcelona are the favorites to sign de Ligt, but this latest report suggests it is far from a formality.


Everton are “very interested” in signing Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic this summer, according to Sky Sports.

Mitrovic, 24, scored 11 times for Fulham this season but couldn’t stop them being relegated after the newly-promoted side struggled to adjust to life back in the PL. Although the Serbian striker looked out of sorts in the final months of the season and scored just once in his final 13 games of the campaign, he was always a handful for opposition defenders.

The former Newcastle striker arrived at Fulham last summer for a fee of $25 million and the Cottagers could expect to recoup most of that if Mitrovic was sold. That said, if he stays at Fulham he has already shown how lethal he can be in the Championship as his loan move to Craven Cottage in the second half of the 2017-18 campaign was a huge success as his goals propelled Fulham to promotion.

Everton have Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Cenk Tosun leading the line, but neither have been prolific so it makes sense for Marco Silva to add a targetman who is also a poacher as Mitrovic would link up well with Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Bernard in attack.


Staying with transfers within the Premier League, Man United are said to be interested in signing Newcastle youngster Sean Longstaff, 21, after he impressed in his first full season in the Premier League.

Multiple reports claim United are interested in Longstaff, but Sky Sports say Newcastle have yet to be approached by the Red Devils and they do not want to sell the man they gave a new contract to in December.

Longstaff, a defensive midfielder, suffered a serious knee injury which put a swift end to his superb first season in Newcastle’s first team. The Newcastle academy product looked at home in the PL with his range of passing, reading of the game and tough-tackling and he could fit the bill as United aim to replace midfield terrier Ander Herrera who is leaving the club.

If United are to keep Paul Pogba around and have him at his best, they need players in midfield who can win the ball back and get Pogba further up the pitch. Longstaff is certainly capable of doing that and he fits the bill for United as their main aim this summer is to add young, hungry British players with Declan Rice, Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka all linked with moves to Old Trafford.

Raiola transfer ban extended worldwide by FIFA

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According to reports across Europe, including Sky Sports, superagent Mino Raiola has seen his transfer ban extend worldwide by FIFA’s disciplinary committee.

News of Raiola’s initial suspension came through on Thursday, with the Italian FA banning the agent from performing his representative duties for three months, a suspension that only took effect within the Italian federation. However, the reports on Friday state that the chairman of the FIFA disciplinary committee, Ghanan judge Anin Yeboah, has taken charge of the case and extended it to apply worldwide. This means Raiola is effectively banned from performing any duties as an agent for the duration of the suspension.

It is still unclear what the reason for the suspension is, as neither the Italian FA nor FIFA have officially stated the reason for the disciplinary action. However, Gazzetta dello Sport reported Thursday that the suspension has to do with the 2015 transfer of Gianluca Scamacca from Roma’s youth system to PSV. Scamacca, now 20 years old, was just 16 at the time, and the transfer reportedly angered Roma. The report did not explain what rule Raiola may have violated during the proceedings of that transfer.

The exact start and end dates of the suspension are not known, but theoretically, if it were to take effect yesterday, that would mean Raiola could resume duties on August 9, exactly one day after the close of the summer transfer window in England.

The ban could have a significant affect on the transfer market this summer, with Raiola representing a number of high-profile players who are the subject of heavy transfer speculation. The most notable two Raiola clients are Paul Pogba and Matthijs de Ligt, with Pogba reportedly unhappy at Manchester United and de Ligt a highly sought-after young defender set to play in the Champions League final with Ajax in a few weeks. Raiola will likely have coworkers and colleagues who could perform the duties he would otherwise complete during a normal, uninterrupted transfer window, but it could leave Raiola clients in a tricky situation if they are unable to communicate with their agent normally.

Raiola said Thursday that he would challenge the suspension legally, calling it “a sentence dominated by political willing, without taking into the right consideration the reason of law.”

Edwin van der Sar says Ajax defender de Ligt will move to England or Spain

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Ajax CEO Edwin van der Sar has spoken after the Dutch club’s shocking late defeat to Tottenham in the Champions League semifinals, and said he believes the end is near for 19-year-old captain Matthijs de Ligt at his boyhood club.

According to the Ajax chief executive, de Ligt is most likely to move to a big club in Spain or England. Speaking to Sky Sports Italia as quoted by Goal.com, van der Sar said, “I think these will be De Ligt’s final games with Ajax, but I hope he goes out on a high. He’s been here since he was a child and will end up at a big club. I think he’ll go to England or Spain.”

[ MORE: Paying tribute to a memorable Ajax run ]

De Ligt has set all kinds of marks at his young age, adding to his value this summer. He is the youngest ever in Ajax history to reach 100 appearances for the club, a crowning achievement given Ajax’s history as a developer of young talent. He is the club’s youngest-ever captain, and the first defender ever to win the Golden Boy award for Europe’s best player under 21 years old.

The 19-year-old has been linked to the likes of Barcelona, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Juventus over the past month or two, and his future remains wide open. The team that seems to make the most sense would be Barcelona, where his current Ajax teammate Frenkie de Jong is already confirmed to be headed at the end of the season. The Barcelona back line is in serious flux, with 32-year-old Gerard Pique seemingly starting to decline, while Samuel Umtiti struggled with injuries and Clement Lenglet failed to consistently perform.

Manchester City is always a player for top talent with the money it possesses, and they could look to de Ligt to replace an aging Vincent Kompany, but he may not want to compete with fellow youngsters in John Stones and Aymeric Laporte for playing time. Manchester United could absolutely use a defender of de Ligt’s youth and caliber, but their lack of Champions League play could put them at a disadvantage. Liverpool would love to have an international teammate to partner with fellow Dutchman Virgil Van Dijk, especially with injuries decimating the back line this season which left Joel Matip as a consistent starter.

The one team shattered by this statement would be Juventus, who would be considered a major player with Giorgio Chiellini now at 34 years old and Leonardo Bonucci at 32. Also not helping Juve is de Ligt’s agent Mino Raiola being given a three-month transfer ban in Italy, which would cover this summer’s window. Raiola said he is appealing.

Van der Sar also said the club will do its best to keep head coach Erik ten Hag, with the former Bayern reserve boss now a wanted man after the Champions League run. “We intend to keep hold of Ten Hag, that is our intention,” van der Sar said. “We know there will be a lot of changes within the squad, but we’d at least like to confirm the coaching staff.”

Much of this will have to wait until the season concludes, as Ajax continues to battle for the Eredivisie title as well as the KNVB Beker trophy to wipe away the tears of the Champions League collapse.

AT THE HALF: Ajax up 3-0 on Spurs, 45 mins. from UCL final (video)

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The incredible story that is Ajax’s 2018-19 UEFA Champions League run is showing no sign of letting up, at least not through the first 45 minutes of their semifinal second leg against Tottenham Hotspur.

[ MORE: Where does Liverpool’s amazing UCL comeback rank all-time? ]

In fact, the Dutch side’s lead has only ballooned — from 1-0, to 3-0 — from minutes 91 to 135.

Thus far, the second leg has looked quite similar to the first leg: Ajax in complete control and playing some of the smoothest attacking soccer anyone has seen in quite some time. A comeback the likes of which the world hasn’t seen in 24 hours is the only thing that can save Tottenham now.

Matthijs de Ligt made it 2-0 on aggregate after just five minutes, followed by a second — in mouth-watering fashion — from Hakim Ziyech.