De Ligt has been earning rave reviews since last season for his solid defensive displays at Ajax. The Dutchman has garnered a lot of interest from Europe’s top elites, including Spurs, who are reportedly looking to replace centre-back Toby Alderweireld this summer.
Alderweireld has established himself as one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League. If the Belgian leaves in the summer, it surely would be a big blow for Spurs. That being said, it is better Spurs keep themselves prepared for Alderweireld’s departure and starting planning for his potential replacement.
How about Spurs acquire the services of Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt? That’s exactly what they seem to be planning for.
De Ligt has enjoyed a breakthrough campaign with the Eredivisie giants this season. He has the top potential to be a cornerstone of the Ajax backline for the next decade.
The Dutchman played a vital role in Ajax’s run to last season’s Europa League final, where the Amsterdam outfit lost to Manchester United. Partnering De Ligt at the heart of Ajax defence throughout last season was Davinson Sanchez, whose impressive performances earned him a move to Tottenham last summer.
Since signing for Spurs, Sanchez has been a pillar of strength at the back, establishing himself as a first-choice centre-back alongside Jan Vertonghen. After Alderweireld suffered a hamstring problem, the Colombian stepped up, forming a formidable defensive partnership with Vertonghen.
The partnership still has a long way to go to match the understanding between Vertonghen and Alderweireld but early signs have been promising.
Seeing Sanchez quickly getting adapted to the Premier League, De Ligt’s head might turn. He could be attracted to move to Tottenham after watching Mauricio Pochettino straightaway placing faith in Sanchez, which in turn has seen his former Ajax teammate impress massively in the Premier League this season.
In fact, Spurs should go after De Ligt as an attempt to replace Alderweireld. As a product of the Ajax academy, De Ligt is naturally a composed, ball-playing centre-back, similar to Alderweireld’s style of play.
De Ligt is a physically imposing defender and the way he reads games is impressive, considering that he is just 18.
Pochettino has a history of nurturing young talents and if Alderweireld leaves this summer, the Spurs manager is unlikely to pursue a like-to-like, experienced big-money replacement. Instead, he would be better off spending the cash on a young, promising defender who can hit the ground running in the Premier League.
Spurs’ backline over the last few years has been heavily dependent on Alderweireld and Vertonghen. While Alderweireld could leave the club, Vertonghen has started ageing.
Pochettino must plan accordingly to replace the two Belgian centre-halves and while he has already signed Sanchez, acquiring De Ligt in the upcoming transfer window would be an uphill task. However, if he succeeds, it could turn out to be a masterstroke.
De Ligt and Sanchez, two talented youngsters, have all the potential to become the face of Spurs defence for the next decade and would help Tottenham become title contenders.