Manchester United and Liverpool to go head to head against each other for Ajax Amsterdam starlet Ryan Gravenberch
According to De Telegraaf, Manchester United and Liverpool are set to go up against each other to sign Ajax Amsterdam prodigy Ryan Gravenberch.
The 19-year-old midfielder came through the ranks at Ajax and, despite his tender age is already a regular for the Eredivisie champions. He has so far made 74 appearances for them, scoring ten goals and assisting eight.
His performances have not gone unnoticed in England, with Liverpool and United both keen. The midfield is an area where both teams need reinforcements and in Gravenberch have an excellent long term option.
A central midfielder who can also double up in a defensive role, Gravenberch is an excellent passer of the ball. A competent player in the air, he can also take a pop or two at goal himself. If he continues to develop as expected, the youngster could become a real presence in the middle of the pitch.
United, for their part, have options. But the likes of Fred, Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic are all industrious while lacking dynamism. Their lack of imagination is visible and limits the team’s ability to bring the ball out from the back.
With Paul Pogba’s contract situation also unresolved, bringing in a new midfielder could be a priority rather than a luxury next summer. Gravenberch has shown his ability to perform at the top level and develop into a long term asset at the Theatre of Dreams.
The same can be said for Liverpool, who need an infusion of young blood in the middle of the park. Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara are in their thirties, while James Milner is closing in on calling it a day. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita have injury issues, while Georginio Wijnaldum’s exit has left another void.
Jurgen Klopp has made it a habit of developing promising young talent, and in Gravenberch could land himself another project. Alongside Harvey Elliott, the young Dutchman could be the future of the Reds midfield in the decade to come.
Both clubs do, however, face certain challenges to overcome. Mino Raiola, who represents Gravenberch, isn’t an easy man to deal with. He also represents Pogba in what could be an added issue for United. The treatment of Donny van de Beek, recently linked with a return to Ajax, haven’t done any favours to the club’s reputation either.
Gravenberch’s father is also keen for the youngster to stay put at Ajax and develop his game further. While he is certainly capable, there are certain kinks to be ironed out. Staying put to do so before moving away could make the transition easier.
The young Dutch international’s contract expires in 2023. Ajax have already reached out to the player’s representatives, and it now remains to be seen what he will choose to do.
Gravenberch looks destined for the top and has many years left in him yet. Developing his game before making a big move elsewhere could prove to be the best approach.