This won't quiet any transfer interest in the Ajax rising star.

By 90Min
December 17, 2018

Ajax youngster Matthijs de Ligt been named the 2018 Golden Boy, amid transfer interest from the likes of Manchester City and Barcelona.

The much-coveted award - organized by journalists from a range of European newspapers - is presented to a promising young footballer from Europe each season, with the likes of Paul Pogba, Lionel Messi and Sergio Agüero all being crowned in the early stages of their careers. 

Two English players have previously won the award: Wayne Rooney in 2004, and Raheem Sterling a decade later.

The 19-year-old defender triumphed over likes of Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold, AC Milan's Patrick Cutrone and Roma's Justin Kluivert to claim the honor. Kylian Mbappe, last year's winner, was surprisingly omitted from the five-man shortlist for the award despite his role in helping France win the World Cup. Given de Light's exceptional defensive talents at such a young age, transfer interest in him high, with a number of elite European sides believed to be on his tail.

It is currently unclear who the frontrunners are to sign the prodigious youngster. While the report suggests that Barça are leading the race, others have suggested that Serie A serial winners Juventus could swoop in and capture the player. De Ligt already has 13 caps for the Netherlands national side, forming a defensive partnership with Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk.

Manchester City, given Pep Guardiola's reputation for developing young players, are also believed to be in with a shot of signing de Ligt. The club's spending power could give them an upper hand in the transfer battle, but may find that the lure of the Camp Nou, or indeed the Allianz Stadium, sees the player escape from their clutches.

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