Liverpool have been linked with a move for Dutch sensation Matthijs De Ligt, who still has two years left on his Ajax contract but is expected to move this summer.
The Reds are set to compete with Barcelona, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus who have also been linked with 19-year-old, with the Catalan club being the favourites to sign him.
Mino Raiola, who is De Ligt’s agent, is known to play hardball, however, when it comes to getting his clients to get better contracts worth more money.
De Ligt at Anfield: What will he add to the team?
De Ligt first burst onto the scene when he became the youngest player ever to feature in a European final, the Europa League final against Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United where Ajax lost the game. Since that defeat, he has come a long way.
The Dutch International is a tactically astute defender whose speed, strength, passing and defensive positioning have been so good, that’s hard to believe he is still only 19.
De Ligt stands in at 6ft 2in tall, which helps him dominate opposition attackers, and offer a set-piece threat as well. The young Ajax sensation averaged a whopping 88.7 pass success percentage, and 3.8 aerial duels won per 90 minutes last campaign.
His header against Juventus, which knocked out Ronaldo and co. in the Champions League quarter-final stage, showed how aggressive he can be when needed. The Dutchman’s defensive contribution in terms of interceptions, tackles and clearances has also been top notch.
The Dutchman managed an average of 1.2 interception, 1.1 tackles and at least 4 clearances per game last season, which determines his solidity as a centre-back.
De Ligt’s long diagonals from the back are a constant threat for the opposition as he has good game awareness of when to play it short and when to go long. He played 3.1 long balls per game on an average last season, keeping the opposition players on their toes at all times.
Despite playing such a high defensive line, Ajax had nothing to worry about with De Ligt at the back. Apart from his skills on the pitch, it’s also worth mentioning that he is a leader on the pitch despite being just a teenager, which says a lot about how much potential he has, and how important a player he can be for Liverpool alongside Virgil van Dijk.
The only issue, though, is Liverpool duo Joel Matip and Joe Gomez impressed alongside van Dijk, and signing De Ligt for such a high fee doesn’t make sense when the Reds’ defence was one of the best in Europe and in the Premier League.