Manchester United and Manchester City have joined the race for highly-rated Ajax defender Matthijs De Ligt.
Premier League clubs and local rivals Manchester United and Manchester City have thrown their hats in the ring for the signature of 18-year old defender Matthijs De Ligt, according to a report from Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo.
The Ajax and Netherlands starlet is considered as one of the best young defensive talents in the game and has been garnering interest from all quarters across Europe, with the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich also said to be keen on signing De Ligt.
It is understood that Barcelona, who enjoy good relations with Ajax, have informed the club to be kept updated on the teenager’s situation and about interest in him from other potential suitors.
The Catalans were believed to be interested in signing De Ligt in the January transfer window itself, with Javier Mascherano leaving the club. However, they instead ended up signing Colombian centre-half Yerry Mina from Palmeiras, but are still keen on landing the Dutch international in the summer.
And now, it is being claimed that both the Manchester clubs have expressed their interest in signing De Ligt and have established contact with his representatives to gage his situation. The report also adds that United and City’s Premier League rivals Arsenal too have gotten in touch with the player’s camp.
Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal have been in touch with Barry Hulshoff, representative of Ajax centre-back Matthijs de Ligt (18), to register their interest in the player. [Mundo Deportivo] pic.twitter.com/qrhG9FF0Rt
— City Watch (@City_Watch) February 21, 2018
Having come through the Ajax academy, De Ligt made his debut for the senior team in September 2016 and soon established himself as a regular under then manager Peter Bosz. The teenager also started in the UEFA Europa League finals last year, which Ajax ended up losing to Manchester United.
Known for his impeccable ball playing abilities and passing range, De Ligt, till date has notched up 52 appearances for the Ajax senior side, scoring five goals and registering two assists. The 18-year old has taken the field 28 times in the ongoing campaign, netting twice.
Impressed with his rapid development, De Ligt was handed his international debut for Netherlands in March last year and he has appeared for the Oranje Army twice more.
De Ligt isn’t likely to come on the cheap in the summer, given that he has a contract till the summer of 2021 with Ajax. And his chances of moving away from Netherlands would be heavily dependent on the amount of first-team opportunities that would be coming his way at his new club.
All of the interested parties, be it Bayern, Barcelona or the two Manchester clubs, are quite well stocked in the defensive department. But given how gifted De Ligt is, it is likely that they could look to clear out some dead wood from the squad and try and bring in the 18-year old, around whom they can build for the future.