18-year-old Matthijs de Ligt is the second youngster to be linked with a move to Barcelona after the Catalan club set their sights on the defender and Justin Kluivert.
de Ligt has extended his contract with Ajax until 2021 and a move to the Nou Camp would demand a hefty price tag as the well-rounded youngster has been in fine form this season.
His form has seen him called up to the Netherlands international squad where he got two assists in their recent 3-0 win against Portugal.
Barcelona have joined Bayern Munich in the chase to sign the Dutch international.
At just 18, de Ligt is a Europa League runner-up, starring last campaign alongside Davison Sanchez before his move to Tottenham Hotspur in the summer.
de Ligt may be young, but club CEO Edwin van der Sar identifies his maturity as one of his greatest assets.
“He looks like he’s been doing this for six or seven years.
Matthijs is very mature for his age: he has the physique of a 24-year-old.
He is also strong with both feet, has an extremely good range of passing, can head the ball, scores goals and is a real leader at the back already at the age of 18.
He came into the first team last year and has never looked back.”
After losing his original defensive partner in Sanchez last summer, de Ligt has adapted brilliantly and continued to flourish in a very talented young Ajax side.
Teammate Max Wober has spoken of his growing influence in the dressing room.
“Matthijs is one of those who makes the difference in the locker room,
Just before a match, he takes to the floor and makes sure everyone is super sharp and wants to go all in.”
It appears de Ligt’s performances have led to significant recognition from many influential names in Dutch football. de Boer brothers Frank and Ronald have spoken recently about the “complete” defenders ability.
The former Ajax coach Frank de Boer has claimed,
“De Ligt has everything, he almost defends on his own.
He is everywhere but he lets go of his man at the right time. I really love watching him.”
” The great thing about Matthijs is his natural superiority,
Despite being only 18, he is already busy with the people around him.
Most boys at his age are not that far on yet. The development that Matthijs is going through is amazing.”
Ajax will do well to keep the young talent in Amsterdam after the summer.