Former Manchester City winger Shaun Wright-Phillips believes Ajax wonderkid Matthijs de Ligt would be the perfect heir to Vincent Kompany’s much-vaunted throne at the Etihad.
The teenage sensation is one of the most sought-after players across Europe, and City are in need of a new centre-back following the departure of Kompany.
Could City sign De Ligt? Five key things to know…
- At just 19, De Ligt captained Ajax to a Champions League semi-final run in 2018/19.
- His performances caught the eye of a number of elite European clubs, including Barcelona, Manchester City and Man Utd.
- City are supposedly locked in a bidding war with the cream of the continent for the tyro’s signature.
- Pep Guardiola will be keen to find a replacement for the outgoing Kompany.
- And Wright-Phillips believes De Ligt would be an excellent acquisition to fill the Belgian’s void.
The Belgium international called time on his illustrious career in the north west and will take up a player-manager role at boyhood club Anderlecht this summer.
With Kompany’s departure, and uncertainty over the future of Nicolas Otamendi, Pep Guardiola will be keen to bolster his defensive ranks, and De Ligt could be the man to whom he turns.
The Dutchman was instrumental as Ajax reached the Champions League semi-final, and Wright-Phillips – who made 275 appearances for the Citizens across two spells – believes the teenage talent would be able to remedy the gaping hole left by Kompany – but only for the right price.
He told 888sport: “I wouldn’t say there are big names coming in but the club definitely needs some big characters because Vinny Kompany is a big character both on and off the pitch. He is going to be almost impossible to replace.
“But if you can start off by replacing him on the field then I’d love to see De Ligt at Manchester City. After watching him play this year and especially being so young I think him and [Aymeric] Laporte would be a great team.
“People will try and take advantage because it’s Manchester City but considering what he’s worth and capable of City should keep going for him.
“I’m not saying £180m or something stupid like that but I’d like to see him there because he’s such a good player.”
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Wright-Phillips: Sane may need new challenge
Among the other changes which could take place at the Etihad is the possible departure of speedster Leroy Sane, who has garnered plenty of attention from Bayern Munich.
The Bavarian powerhouse will look to find replacements for Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, who will both leave this summer, and reports suggests Sane could join the German outfit, though club president Uli Hoeness has questioned City’s valuation of the player.
Whether a move materialises or not, Wright-Phillips believes Sane may need to seek a new challenge as City possess far too much quality for consistent playing time.
He added: “What it boils down to is whether he is happy.
“He might simply just want to go back home. And these are not questions that any of us can answer.
“What we do know is that with Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling playing so well how do you drop them?
“That’s the downside of playing for one of the top teams: that no matter how well you play, sometimes you have to step aside.”