In football, bigger and shinier is usually considered better. Tag any given player with dart throw links to Barcelona or Real Madrid coupled with a hastily-edited Youtube highlight video set to house music and the next Messi/Gerrard/Ronaldo you will have.
Ajax wonderkid Matthijs de Ligt currently finds himself as one of the bigger shinier prizes at the moment, with the classy center back earning himself admirers amongst some of the biggest clubs in the game.
At only 19 years of age, the Netherlands international has already earned 10 international caps, including appearances partnering Liverpool’s own flying Dutchman, Virgil Van Dijk.
The Reds’ £75m man has been effusive in his praise of the young star in the making, hinting that he would gladly play a role in recruiting the in-demand player to Anfield were he ever to become a transfer target.
“He is already very far, especially at that age,” the record-setting defender said of his compatriot in a recent interview with the Metro.
“A good defender, good boy, calm, knows what he wants and hopefully he makes the right choice in his next step.”
When asked if that next step might be with Liverpool, the 27-year-old admitted that de Ligt will “be on the [transfer] list, because they have enough scouts at the club…if they need my opinion at Liverpool, I will give it.”
While center back might have been a priority for the Reds prior to the season with 1st and 2nd choices to partner Van Dijk in Dejan Lovren and Joël Matip both ailing to start the campaign, the emergence of the 21-year-old Joe Gomez has put those concerns to bed and, for some, cemented a center back partnership that could last for years to come.
However, the rumor mill cares not for such reasoning and will continue to grind inexorably on.