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Matthijs de Ligt Will Move to England or Spain in Summer, Says Edwin van der Sar

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2019

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - MAY 08: Matthijs de Ligt of Ajax looks dejected as he acknowledges the fans after the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg match between Ajax and Tottenham Hotspur at the Johan Cruyff Arena on May 8, 2019 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)
Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images

Ajax CEO Edwin van der Sar has said he believes Matthijs de Ligt will leave the Dutch side in the summer, and he's likely to end up at a big club in the Premier League or La Liga.

The former Juventus and Manchester United goalkeeper spoke to Sky Sport Italia (h/t Goal's Sacha Pisani) before Ajax's 3-2 UEFA Champions League loss against Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday.

He expressed hope the Ajax captain would go out on a high note, as the side are still battling for the Eredivisie title: "I think these will be De Ligt's final games with Ajax, but I hope he goes out on a high. He's been here since he was a child and will end up at a big club. I think he'll go to England or Spain."

UEFA Champions League @ChampionsLeague

🕵️‍♂️ #UCL Scout: 💯 Youngster player ever to reach 100 games for @AFCAjax ✔️ ⚪️ Youngest Ajax captain in history ✔️ 🔴 Youngest player ever to start in a European final ✔️ ⚪️ First defender to win Golden Boy award ✔️ 😍 Matthijs de Ligt 💪 https://t.co/l1uNHfchT7

Per the report, the defender has been linked with Barcelona, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Juventus. The Catalan giants are seen as the favourites for his signature and have already secured team-mate Frenkie de Jong.

Ajax missed out on doing the treble with their shock exit at the hands of Spurs on Wednesday, but they can still do the Dutch double. They've already won the KNVB Cup by beating Willem II 4-0 on Sunday, claiming their first trophy since 2014.

De Ligt scored the opening goal on Wednesday as Ajax cruised to a 2-0 lead in the first half. Spurs produced a stunning comeback, though, with a Lucas Moura hat-trick handing them the win and a ticket to the final.

The aggregate score was 3-3, and Spurs held the away-goal tiebreaker (U.S. only):

B/R Football @brfootball

1-0: de Ligt 5' (2-0 agg.) 2-0: Ziyech 35' (3-0 agg.) 2-1: Moura 55' (3-1 agg.) 2-2: Moura 59' (3-2 agg.) 2-3: Moura 96' (3-3 agg. Spurs win on away goals) To see more Champions League highlights, download our app 📲 ➡️ https://t.co/LyKs58mIyF https://t.co/aKESrHy9PO

It was a disappointing end to what has been a sensational European campaign for the 19-year-old. Statman Dave shared some of his key stats:

Statman Dave @StatmanDave

Matthijs de Ligt in the Champions League this season: 58 accurate passes per game 4.2 aerial duels won per game 4.2 clearances per game 1.5 tackles won per game Also chipped in with a couple of big goals. 🇳🇱 https://t.co/RZeGzbkpdD

Along with big goals against Juventus and Spurs, his highlights also include epic battles with Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo in back-to-back ties. Both the Real Madrid and Juventus forwards scored in the first leg of their respective ties, but they were bullied by the teenager in the return fixtures.

A product of Ajax's vaunted academy, De Ligt made his international debut at the age of 17, forming a strong partnership with Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk. Despite his young age, he's bursting with confidence, per Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News:

Samuel Luckhurst @samuelluckhurst

Been a while since there was a Dutch footballer as charmingly arrogant as De Ligt. Confidence of this Ajax side is something else. #AJATOT

A big summer transfer seems likely, especially if Ajax do the Dutch double and win the Eredivisie. With two matches left to play, the Amsterdammers are tied with PSV Eindhoven for the lead. 

Ajax's progress to the Champions League semi-finals was something of a Cinderella run, and with star midfielder De Jong departing for Barcelona, they're unlikely to replicate that success next season.

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