Mauricio Pochettino and his Tottenham set-up will have been casting their eye far and wide across Europe throughout this season as they look for a replacement for defender Toby Alderweireld. Now, the latest reports suggest that they have found their man: Matthijs de Ligt.
The 18-year-old Ajax man has become a stalwart at the heart of the Eredivisie side’s defence and for the Dutch national team, with The Sun on Sunday saying that Tottenham are considering a summer bid worth £45 million whilst Barcelona are also interested.
Given his style, calm in possession and always looking to play out from the back, De Ligt would be an ideal option for the Lilywhites.
He has been likened in the Netherlands to the man that he may replace, Alderweireld, particularly given his strength both in the air and in the tackle.
There is little doubt that De Ligt has huge potential and would be a superb signing, but at £45 million will not come cheaply and it will be a far higher asking price than is typically paid by Daniel Levy and his club.
Add into that the fact that 2017/18 has been his first season as a regular in first team football and it could be a substantial gamble for Pochettino to rely so heavily on the youngster to fill far more experienced shoes.
Any lack of concentration or focus, as has rarely been evident in his game, would be pounced upon in defence. Similarly, Davinson Sanchez has performed well in such a set-up having made the same move last summer, but having both in the same back three would be a risky move from the Spurs coach.
Pochettino clearly favours such a style, after all the current strongest back three all rose to fame with Ajax and De Ligt would maintain that, but given that such a fee would make him the club’s major defensive signing, he cannot afford to wait around for him to develop.