The Eredivisie has been producing world class talents since the 1960’s, primarily the players from AFC Ajax, who has seen the emergence of Johan Cruyff – three time Ballon d’Or winner.
Notable names developed from the Amsterdam outfit includes Luis Suarez, Frank Rijkaard, Edwin Van Der Sar, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Clarence Seedorf, Wesley Sneijder, and Patrick Kuivert just to name a few.
In recent years, two names top the list for Ajax – Matthijs De Ligt and Frenkie De Jong.
The latter has already secured a 75 million fee to Barcelona over the summer, and De Ligt looks to follow suit.
De Ligt took home the Golden Boy honors of 2018, becoming the first defender to ever do so. The 19 year-old is already the captain at Ajax and was as dominant as a veteran in the back during Ajax’s surprise 4-1 knockout of Real Madrid from the Champions League.
De Ligt’s had the opportunity to partner with Liverpool’s wall Virgil van Dijk on many occasions for Oranje, and has since sparked rumors of heading to Merseyside to join his compatriot.
“Virgil (van Dijk) is a player who has experience in the top leagues,” De Ligt said in an interview. “Of course, you would want to learn from him. It’s very helpful playing alongside him in the Dutch team.
“It could happen. He plays for Liverpool, a good club, but I’m not focused on them. I focus on Ajax and then I’ll see where I end up.”
Van Dijk’s addition to Liverpool’s back-line has emerged as potentially one of the best in the world since joining Liverpool for 75 million last summer from Southampton. Just last season, Liverpool had one of the worst league’s defences – conceding 38 goals for the season despite knocking in 84 – second in the league.
This year however, with eight games left to play, the Jurgen Klopp’s men has seen a dramatic improvement in their defence, leading the league in fewest goals conceded at just 15.
De Ligt has made his name as one of the most highly-rated youngsters in Europe after putting some commanding performances for his side at the heart of defence. His leadership qualities surpass way beyond his years after being made the club’s youngest ever captain at just 18 years old.
Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars recently said “De Ligt can play easily on any of the six best teams in the world right now.”
Barcelona confirmed their interest in signing De Ligt earlier this week, with president Josep Maria Bartomeu saying: “His name is on the table.
“Where there is such talent away from Barcelona, we’re always looking at them.”
Barcelona face some serious competition for the centre-back though, with Man United, Chelsea, Man City, Juventus and PSG and Bayern Munich all rumored to be fighting for his services.
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