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Manchester City Transfer News: Matthijs de Ligt Reportedly Targeted, Top Rumours

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMay 6, 2018

EINDHOVEN, NETHERLANDS - APRIL 15: Matthijs de Ligt of Ajax during the Dutch Eredivisie  match between PSV v Ajax at the Philips Stadium on April 15, 2018 in Eindhoven Netherlands (Photo by Aaron van Zandvoort/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Manchester City are reportedly preparing a £50 million move for Ajax centre-back Matthijs de Ligt as they search for a successor to club captain Vincent Kompany.

Simon Mullock of the Mirror reported City manager Pep Guardiola has identified De Ligt as the man he wants to replace Kompany, 32, at the heart of City's defence.

The 18-year-old has enjoyed a breakout campaign with Ajax this term and has made 32 Eredivisie appearances, almost three times the 11 league appearances he made last season.

Kompany, on the other hand, is approaching the end of his career and has missed 22 matches this season because of injury, per Transfermarkt. That has led Guardiola to pose some questions over his captain's long-term future, as Goal shared:

Goal @goal

Kompany's Man City future is in his own hands, insists Guardiola https://t.co/N2IGByEA28

The Belgium international will go down as one of the most significant players in the club's history and is undoubtedly one of the best central defenders in Europe when fully fit.

City have a crop of other capable players in the role, including Aymeric Laporte, 23, John Stones, 23, and Nicolas Otamendi, 30, who has enjoyed his best season to date at City en route to the Premier League title.

Eliaquim Mangala, meanwhile, has spent only six months of the past two seasons at the Etihad Stadium—going on loan to Valencia and Everton—and it seems his time at the club could be drawing to a close.

Mullock mentioned Arsenal, Barcelona and Bayern Munich among the parties interested in De Ligt, while Simon Collings of Hayters provided quotes from the teenager when quizzed on speculation of a move to Tottenham Hotspur:

Simon Collings @sr_collings

Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt quizzed by FOX Sports about rumours he is joining Tottenham. "I do not know anything about it. And my agent does not know anything about it."

A move to City would excite almost any player in the world following their Premier League triumph, but one has to question whether joining such a talented squad would be an optimal choice for De Ligt at this stage of his career.

At 18, he has shown how much potential he has in the Eredivisie, which was recognised by the Godenzonen with an end-of-season award:

AFC Ajax (English) @AFCAjax_EN

Player of the Year ⏩ Hakim Ziyech! 🎩 Talent of the Year ⏩ Matthijs de Ligt! 👑 #ajaaz https://t.co/HFjwZ4UQUi

The Citizens would be signing a Netherlands international if they were to bring in De Ligt, although his progression could be at risk through duelling for a starting berth with the likes of Kompany, Otamendi, Laporte and Stones.

Kompany's injury woes have sown the seeds of doubt at City, who are seemingly looking to recruit an asset who mixes long-term potential with ready-made quality in De Ligt.

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