Why Tottenham Must Splash £45m On Ajax Sensation Matthijs de Ligt
According to the Sun, Tottenham Hotspur are lining up a £45million summer swoop for Ajax teenage prodigy Matthijs de Ligt. Mauricio Pochettino sees De Ligt as the long-term replacement for Toby Alderweireld, who is set to leave Tottenham at the end of the season.
Alderweireld has established himself as one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League. Physically imposing and technically solid, the Belgian has gained a lot of experience since moving to England from Atletico Madrid a few years ago.
With Alderweireld set to depart in the summer, Spurs need a centre-half capable of filling the big boots of the Belgium international.
Speaking about Tottenham’s interest in De Ligt, the Dutchman is one of the hottest young prospects in European football. Rising through the famed Ajax academy, De Ligt has played more than 50 times for the Dutch giants despite being just 18 years old.
The Dutch defender caught everyone’s eyes with a string of commanding displays in Ajax’s run to the Europa League final last season and has continued to impress this campaign. He possesses all the ingredients of a modern centre-back, having the confidence and understanding of the game at such a tender age.
De Ligt is supremely poised and incredibly comfortable with the ball at his feet. The Ajax system is based on ball possession that requires extremely gifted centre-backs that can keep the ball and churn possession. De Ligt has that attribute as he often looks to maraud forward with the ball and play quick passes between the lines. He also possesses the ability to play a long diagonal cross right to the feet of a winger.
What makes De Ligt stand out from other defenders of his age is his extreme composure and ability to remain unflustered in pressure situations. He is powerful, commanding, very aggressive and has the pace to fall back and dispossess a player. Not to forget, the 18-year-old is also very accomplished in tackling and is a threat from set-pieces.
De Ligt has all the qualities required to go on and establish himself as a top centre-half but he is still a rough diamond and has few weaknesses to work upon.
A manager like Mauricio Pochettino would be ideal to shape his rough edges of the game and take his game to the next level. Because of his strong frame, De Ligt would also be able to compete physically in the Premier League, leading to an easy transition from Dutch to English football.
Ajax will fight tooth and nail to keep hold of a player they have developed for the past ten years but Spurs must get De Ligt on board this summer as the young Dutchman has sky-high potential to be a rich success in North London.