This summer it appears Tottenham Hotspur will need to replace Toby Alderweireld at centre-back. The Belgian is in a contract dispute with the North London club and all the signs are now pointing to his exit. One name that has been linked with replacing him this week is 18-year-old Dutch international Matthijs De Ligt.
He recently starred for the Dutch national team in a 3-0 win against Portugal. He shackled Cristiano Ronaldo whilst also bagging two assists from centre-back.
His signing would continue what has become something of a love affair from Spurs with players groomed at one of the greatest clubs in Europe. De Ligt has come through the youth system at Ajax. The teenager, who has been compared to Ronald Koeman, has been at Ajax since he was nine-years-old and indoctrinated into their style of play.
It is a style similar to that Tottenham try to enforce. The style involves the constant pressing of opposition and retaining the ball when possession is recovered. Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino wants his players to play a similar way. It means tireless work and technical ability are top of his attribute wishlist.
At the moment Spurs have four players with experience of Ajax on their books. Alderweireld is one of them. Jan Vertonghen, the club’s current defensive stalwart is another. Spurs broke their transfer record for Colombian Davinson Sanchez last summer, bringing him to the club from Amsterdam. Meanwhile, Tottenham’s main creative presence is Christian Eriksen. Signed from Ajax in the summer of 2013, the Dane spent five years at the Dutch giants.
Tottenham are being linked with a £50 million move for De Ligt, as reported by Football London. Considering the success Spurs have had with players who have been part of the Ajax system, such a fee could certainly be worth paying for the Dutch club’s current young superstar.