By 90Min
March 06, 2019

Few players on the planet are causing as much of a stir in the transfer market as Ajax's teenage defender Matthijs de Ligt.

The Netherlands international is breaking the mould of young players stepping into senior football, following in the footsteps of the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappé by being considered world class before they've even turned 20.

His outstanding display against Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League knockout stage match - where Ajax knocked Los Blancos out of the competition - has once again thrown de Ligt into the limelight, prompting questions over where he will be next season.

Here's a rundown of the teams who've been linked with de Ligt throughout this season and how likely a move to each club actually is.


Manchester City

Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

Questions might have been raised when Manchester City splashed £58.5m on Athletic Club defender Aymeric Laporte last season, but the France international defender has already established himself as the best centre-back at Etihad Stadium.


The 24-year-old has highlighted that the Premier League champions can upgrade their title-winning partnership of Nicolás Otamendi and John Stones, but options are scarce across the continent.

Pep Guardiola will certainly be keeping an eye on de Ligt ahead of the summer transfer window, but the Citizens are at the back of the pack of clubs who are chasing the teenager's signature.

Likelihood rating: 3/10


Bayern Munich

FRANCK FIFE/GettyImages

It's football's worst kept secret right now that Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich are going to take a gung-ho approach to the summer transfer window.

De Ligt's name has unsurprisingly landed on a shortlist of defensive players for Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, but the Bavarian club's decision makers already to have placed their eggs in baskets outside of Amsterdam.

Stuttgart's Benjamin Pavard - a centre-back with his club but full-back for France - is going to be moving to the Allianz Arena at the end of the season, while they're also heavily interested in versatile Atlético Madrid star Lucas Hernandez.

Bayern Munich will break their transfer record this summer and they will be bringing in a few defenders, but it looks increasingly unlikely that Ajax's de Ligt will be among the new arrivals.

Likelihood rating: 4/10


Liverpool

PATRIK STOLLARZ/GettyImages

It might seem like a transfer rumour that's a little to easy to make due to de Ligt's connection with international teammate Virgil van Dijk, but Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool could be convinced of making a move if they once again miss out on silverware this season.


One position at a time, Liverpool have been turning their top four contending squad into genuine title challengers. 

And having already seen the impact that van Dijk has had on their defensive stability, de Ligt could be the final piece of the puzzle which sees the Reds cement their place back among Europe's elite.

But for Liverpool to have any chance of competing with clubs who are bigger, richer, or even both, in the race for de Ligt's signature, they have to prove their ambitions by ending their 29-year wait for a Premier League (or top flight) title this season.

Likelihood rating: 5/10


Paris Saint-Germain

FRANCK FIFE/GettyImages

Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain have already missed out on signing one Netherlands international star from Ajax this season, with midfielder Frenkie de Jong opting to pick Barcelona over the financially greater offer in the French capital.

But Thomas Tuchel's side won't want to miss out again and they're looking to make a statement by bringing Europe's most promising defender to the Parc des Princes this summer.

A caveat for the French champions, however, is that one of their first-team players will probably have to be moved on if they signed de Ligt, as Marquinhos, Presnel Kimpembe and summer signing Thilo Kehrer are currently fighting with each other to partner Thiago Silva in defence.

On top of that, it looks increasingly likely that de Ligt will follow in teammate de Jong's footsteps by snubbing more money in favour of trying to build a legacy at an already established club at Europe's top table.

Likelihood rating: 5/10


Manchester United

FRANCK FIFE/GettyImages

José Mourinho might be gone, but Manchester United's hunt for a new defender didn't stop when the Portuguese head coach was shown the exit door at Old Trafford.

But while names like Kalidou Koulibaly and Alessio Romagnoli might be nearer the top of United's wishlist ahead of the summer transfer window, the recent performances of Ajax's de Ligt could convince the club to turn their heads away from the already established defenders.

This season, Victor Lindelöf has emerged as someone who can offer the club a long-term option in the centre of their defence, but there is still a space open for Manchester United to splash the cash on filling this summer.

Although the club might have fallen from grace somewhat over the last few years, they remain one of the biggest clubs on the planet and can match anyone's pulling power in the transfer market with ease.

Likelihood rating: 6/10


Barcelona

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/GettyImages

It's one down, one to go for Barcelona.

The announcement that Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong would be joining for €75m was a real statement that the club were looking to build a new squad which could have the same long-lasting legacy as Pep Guardiola's treble-winning side from 2009.

Along with a new midfielder, Barcelona have also been keeping their eye on the defensive market. They've already fast-tracked Jean-Clair Todibo's move from Toulouse and the Frenchman is expected to make his debut soon, but Barça remain fixated on signing de Ligt too.


They were heavily linked with the 19-year-old before de Jong's arrival and were reportedly in talks to complete a double deal. 


Even though so far Barcelona have only been able to get one deal over the line, their president has already confirmed that they will be in the mix for de Ligt's signature this summer.


Likelihood rating: 8/10 


Juventus

MARCO BERTORELLO/GettyImages

For any young defender across the world, the prospect of joining an infamous Juventus side will certainly get the heart racing, and it's no different for de Ligt.

Juve's shrewd business in the transfer market - either signing players on the cheap or for free - helps to free up funds for marquee signings, like with Cristiano Ronaldo at the start of this season or Gonzalo Higuaín in 2016.

Things won't be any different this season, but it will be at the other end of the pitch that Juventus will look to make their biggest splash in the transfer market.

Daniele Rugani remains the club's only centre-back under 30, while returning loanees like Stefano Pellizzari, Francesco Pezziardi and Dario Del Fabro are way off being anywhere near their first team.

With manager Massimiliano Allegri looking increasingly likely to leave at the end of the season, Juventus' decision-makers will want to give their new head coach a marquee defensive player and there is no one better suited for that than Ajax's de Ligt.

On top of everything, Juventus can use their close relationship with de Ligt's agent Mino Raiola - who also represents Juve's Blaise Matuidi and Moise Kean - as a way of getting instant access to the teenager ahead of their European rivals.

Likelihood rating: 9/10

You May Like

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)