With the domestic leagues winding down, the usual suspects of European football have been circling the likes of Lyon and Ajax Amsterdam, looking to strip those clubs of their prized assets like a school of piranhas.
Ndombele, Aouar, Ziyech, Depay, Neres. Those names have all been making the rounds among back page headlines for the past few weeks. Few names, however, are going to generate as much electronic ink this summer as Matthijs de Ligt’s. The Ajax captain has skyrocketed in prominence thanks in part to an eye-catching Champions League run by the Eredivisie club.
Long suspected to be Barcelona-bound, alongside his compatriot and teammate Frenkie de Jong, there have been noises indicating that the defender might be considering other options (perhaps Liverpool’s 4-0 stunner had something to do with that?). Former Manchester United star Jaap Stam, of all people, mentioned that Anfield might be a decent place for the young Dutch international to end up.
Now, more transfer watchers’ hearts will be set aflutter after Spanish journalist Guillem Balagué dropped a “huge, if true” hint about Liverpool’s possible intentions in this particular transfer race. As reported by the Liverpool Echo, Balagué - speaking to BBC Radio 5 - has suggested that the Reds have already been talking to De Ligt about a move.
There has been scant reason to think that Jürgen Klopp is looking for another central defender, given that the back line has performed superbly and it’s unlikely that both Joël Matip and Dejan Lovren will be allowed to leave over the summer. These latest reports are indicative of one of two things: either the Reds’ plans for reinforcements are more ambitious than anyone suspects, or some people are trying to encourage actual suitors to start a bidding war. You can probably guess which is the likelier scenario.