Barcelona are set to battle Bayern Munich in pursuit of Ajax prodigy Matthijs de Ligt, with both the clubs registering their interest in the towering centre-back.
According to Dutch publication AD, Ajax prodigy Matthijs de Ligt is of particular interest to Barcelona and Bayern Munich. The towering Dutchman has been on the radar of a few top clubs in the last year or so. And there seems to be a battle brewing between Barcelona and Bayern Munich for the centre-back.
Possessing incredible height and a maturity far beyond his young age, de Ligt has sent waves across the entire Europe, with his prodigious displays for Ajax. Merely 18, the player has already featured for Ajax in a total of 48 senior appearances, with a European final also on his already impressive resume.
The 2017-18 campaign has thrust him even further into the limelight, with the player one of the first names on the team sheet at Ajax whenever fit. Add to that the fact that the player, just 18 years of age, has already made his senior debut for Netherlands and is touted as one of the future pillars of Dutch soccer in the years to come.
It’s beyond insane what Matthijs de Ligt does on a weekly basis. Wondering how many 18-year-olds are this mature under such pressure. Each European top club is following him closely, but he just keep doing his thing. pic.twitter.com/gFh6IzEO2I
— Sjors van Veen (@SjorsvanVeen) January 23, 2018
The interest from Barcelona and Bayern Munich seems justified, once put into the aforementioned context. Barcelona have recently bid adieu to Javier Mascherano, with Yerry Mina arriving to mitigate the loss of a centre-back. But, despite Mina’s arrival, the Catalans are short of depth in the said position.
Gerrard Pique, Samuel Umtiti, Yerry Mina and Marlon Santos remain the options for Valverde, with Pique not really having the best of times, especially after the whole controversy surrounding the Catalonian independence. And unlike Marlon Santos, De Ligt could be thrust straight into the setup, due to his experience in Europe and at a top league like Eredivisie.
At Bayern, there are similar problems at hand. Mats Hummels is the only experienced centre-back, especially with Jerome Boateng only recently recovering from what was a long injury layoff. Apart from the two, Bayern have Niklas Sule, with Felix Gotze also being introduced into the senior setup.
Bayer Munich scouts were in the ArenA on Sunday to watch Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt. The German giants see the defender as a future recruit. (AD) pic.twitter.com/uCIO0WdQ0G
— Football-Oranje.com (@FootballOranje_) January 21, 2018
Still, like Barcelona, the club are looking to add a more ready option for the senior team, which is where de Ligt comes in. Despite 18, there are suggestions that he has grown beyond the Eredivisie and needs a step up soon in order to continue his progression.
Former Netherlands manager Danny Blind is also of the same opinion.
“If De Ligt continues to develop in this way, a step over a year and a half to a top competition is logical. That is too bad for the league, but then he really needs better opponents every week. Not only occasionally in Orange, or during a European Cup-competition. The physical picture with him is complete. That he is so big and strong, is of course in the genes, but he does it in the right way. ”
Be it Barcelona or Bayern Munich, de Ligt seems to be well on his way to join a club that is embedded into the history of the game. And the same should be his vision, to etch his own legacy.