According to reports, Manchester City are eyeing a move for Ajax sensation Matthijs de Ligt as a potential long-term replacement for Vincent Kompany.
City skipper Kompany’s career has been plagued by injuries and this season was no different either. He managed to play in only eight of City’s final 14 games due to concerns over his fitness.
Other than Kompany, City have Nicolas Otamendi, John Stones and Aymeric Laporte as centre-back options. Pep Guardiola has fears over Kompany’s fragility and wants to find a younger option to take his place in the side.
Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt fits the profile of a young, dynamic, technically gifted ball-playing defender who could easily slot into Guardiola’s style of football at City. De Ligt is just 18 but he has significant first-team experience in a top league and he’s got the potential to develop into a top defender.
The young Dutchman rose to prominence last season, having started the Europa League final against Manchester United in Stockholm. Although Ajax lost 2-0, De Ligt impressed and grabbed a lot of eyeballs. He made 34 appearances in all competitions in the recently concluded season, 16 more than his debut campaign last year.
De Ligt displays all the key attributes of a modern centre-back, having come from the famed Ajax academy. He is confident, composed on the ball and knows how to carry the ball out of defence before passing it to his teammates.
The young Dutch star has top positional sense and hardly gets caught out due to his recovery pace. De Ligt is a top tackler, calm on the ball and aerially dominant. An international already and used to playing in an attacking set-up, the 18-year-old would be perfect for City.
With Otamendi and Kompany forming a strong partnership lately and Laporte becoming a reliable back-up whenever rest was needed, Guardiola’s decisions have worked well. Stones had an inconsistent campaign and will need to step up next season if he wants to be central to Guardiola’s plans.
However, Guardiola cannot rely on Kompany and Stones and must strengthen his defence by signing De Ligt. De Ligt is an accomplished defender in the Eredivisie and is one of the emerging talents of Dutch football. His passing ability is one of the main things that sets him apart from many other young prospects around Europe.
His passing ability and reading of the game make De Ligt a perfect fit for Manchester City.