The transfer saga surrounding Ajax’s 19-year old teenage sensation Matthijs de Ligt has been a central theme for this summer.
The Dutchman had a stellar season with Ajax both domestically and in Europe, leading his side to their first Eredivisie title in five years and their first Champions League semi-final since 1997. He also excelled with the Netherlands, playing a key role in their UEFA Nations League campaign.
Captaining an Ajax side at such a young age shows Matthijs de Ligt’s supreme talent and world-class potential. The 6.2ft defender is precedent to the modern centre-back: tall, robust and an immaculate passer of the ball.
Top European clubs like Manchester United, Manchester City and Barcelona were battling for the Dutchman’s signature, however, French giants Paris Saint-Germain have reportedly overtaken the rest and are on the verge of signing de Ligt, according to Sky Sports’ Gianluca Di Marzio.
Former Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo is set to rejoin the Ligue 1 champions after stepping down from AC Milan. The Brazilian has an excellent working relationship with de Ligt’s agent Mino Raiola and he could be key in brokering a deal for the Dutchman. Leonardo has previously signed Raiola’s agents Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Maxwell for the French club.
Matthijs De Ligt recently hinted that Barcelona might not be his “best option”, even though his former Ajax and Holland teammate Frenkie de Jong has already signed a contract with the La Liga champions.
“Barcelona have great defenders and it is logical and normal that there is competition, but it is not something that frightens me,” de Ligt told Mundo Deportivo.
Of course it would be nice to play with De Jong and [Lionel] Messi at Barcelona, but I must look at what is best for me.”
Manchester United offered the defender a staggering £350,000-a-week contract, which was reportedly turned down by the player and his agent. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted to make de Ligt the “poster boy” of their summer rebuild, however, the English heavyweights have lost ground to other teams in the race to sign him.
De Ligt claimed that money will not be a factor when he decides his destination for next season. “Money is not the problem. The most important thing is knowing in the team where you go [that] you will have prominence and play many games”, he said.
“I still don’t know what my heart says. On my holiday, I will be able to think it over and decide what I am going to do with my future. I don’t know when I’m going to have it figured out, but I’m going to take my time”, he added.
It is no secret that Paris Saint-Germain are one of few clubs in Europe who have the money to fund de Ligt’s heavyweight transfer. The Dutchman would also look forward to work with the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, as well as manager Thomas Tuchel.