Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt has been urged to join Manchester City by former Dutch manager Louis van Gaal.
The 19-year-old is a reported summer target of Barcelona and Manchester United, two clubs Van Gaal previously managed.
The rise of De Ligt. Five key things to know…
- De Ligt made his Ajax debut under Peter Bosz in September 2016, aged 17.
- He’s the youngest player to start for the Dutch national team since 1931.
- De Ligt became the youngest player ever (17 years and 258 days old) to play in a major European club final, when he faced Man Utd in the 2017 Europa League final.
- He’s made 117 appearances for boyhood club Ajax, scoring 13 goals.
- De Ligt is the current recipient of the Golden Boy award.
De Ligt, who has been a mainstay in the Ajax first team since debuting in September 2016, sees his present deal in Amsterdam expire in June 2021.
However, according to manager Erik ten Hag, the chances of him remaining at the 34-time Dutch champions beyond this season is 0%.
A number of Europe’s super clubs have been heavily linked with him, but as far as former Ajax manager Peter Bosz – who handed De Ligt his first appearance – is concerned he should snub Barça and Man Utd and opt for City, which Van Gaal also backed.
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“I think De Ligt fits perfectly with Manchester City,” he told FOX Sports. “Vincent Kompany is already gone and Nicolas Otamendi is not good enough. Then I would love to see him next to Aymeric Laporte.”
“I think exactly the same,” Van Gaal nodded in agreement. “Although De Ligt can go to Barcelona too, because I don’t like their central defenders either. He could play at Barcelona, but he could play for Manchester City also, and in that case I would choose Pep Guardiola over Lionel Messi.”
A season to remember
Playing in his second full campaign, De Ligt ended lifting two major honours as captain. Ajax, for the first time since 2002, achieved a domestic double. Ten Hag’s men defeated Willem II 4-0 in the KNVB Cup whilst claiming the Eredivisie title by three points ahead of PSV Eindhoven.
It could have been more. De Ligt played an instrumental role in Ajax reaching the Champions League semi-finals, a feat they last managed in 1997, but despite scoring in the second leg against Tottenham Hotspur he couldn’t help the Amsterdammers reach the Madrid final.