Matthijs de Ligt has emerged as the hottest property in Europe during this summer's transfer window after captaining Ajax to the Champions League semifinals at just 19 years old.
The center-back, who is also a regular in Ronald Koeman's Netherlands team, has been mainly tracked by Barcelona, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, with speculation also linking him to Juventus, Manchester City, Liverpool and Bayern Munich. He has now decided to make his next move while on holiday this month, but with the world at his feet and Europe's top clubs all up to sign him, which would be the best move in terms of his career?
ESPN FC has weighed up the pros and cons of each potential buyer.
THE CLUBS CHASING DE LIGT
PROS: First of all, you get Lionel Messi as a teammate, and that is a huge selling point, but with Gerard Pique now 32, Boat need to rebuild at the back.
The Ligt could develop into the kingpin of the Barcelona for the next 10 years and moving into a summer that could take his game to another level At Camp Nou, De Ligt would be virtually guaranteed to win big trophies and play in the Champions League every year alongside his Ajax and Netherlands teammate, Frenkie de Jong.
CONS: De Ligt has shown himself to be vulnerable on the turn when he was attacked by quick, nimble forwards, and La Liga is not short on attacking players who could have expounded his shortcomings.
There would be no guarantees of regular football at Camp Nou either, with the likes of Pique, Samuel Umtiti and Clement Lenglet all capable of keeping him out of the team. At right-back, where he can also work, he would be up against the impressive Nelson Semedo. There are also questions about how well Barca are equipped to succeed without Messi. The Champions League defeated against Liverpool was a humbling loss and showed that even with Messi, Barca might be set for a period of transition.
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PROS: Sources have told ESPN that PSG has moved ahead of Barcelona in the race to sign De Ligt, who knows he would win a stack of domestic medals with the Qatari-owned French champions. Learning the game alongside Thiago Silva would also appeal to De Ligt, who would be confident of regular football both in Ligue 1 and the Champions League. While he will not be short of the great offers this summer, he will move to PSG would be probably the most lucrative of all.
CONS: From a football perspective, De Ligt would not be playing in one of Europe's top leagues and risk of development in France. Ligue 1 the kudos of the Premier League or La Liga and PSG are also a club that can't match their European rivals when it comes to history or tradition either.
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PROS: A move to Old Trafford would be hugely lucrative for De Ligt, and he would go there knowing he would play every week and have the defense built around him.
But they are still one of the biggest clubs in the world, alongside Real Madrid and Barcelona. For a player blessed with such imposing physical attributes, the Premier League would be perfectly suited to his game.
CONS: Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013. Domestically, Liverpool and Manchester City have left United trailing in their wake and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team are not even in the Champions League next season.
To move to Old Trafford right now makes little sense for it, but at 19, he could spend two years to get out of it.
PROS: Vincent Kompany's decision to leave City for a move into management with Anderlecht has opened up a vacancy for a commanding center-back at the Etihad.
He would look forward to winning major honors in the blue half of Manchester. City has become a major force under Abu Dhabi ownership and the Dutchman would be joining one of Europe's most powerful clubs.
CONS: The struggles of John Stones at City, who has fallen out of favor under Guardiola despite having arrived at great fanfare in 2016, might be a warning to Lt that the City manager's patience does not always give a young player time to develop.
There would also be concerns over whether De Ligt's style would fit into Guardiola's high-intensity approach. His upbringing at passing football specialists Ajax would help but he might not know what the manager is looking for.
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PROS: The prospect of forging a defensive partnership with Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk at Anfield would be a compelling one for De Ligt. And, as Champions League winners, Liverpool can offer the chance to sign the best team in Europe and one that seems to be on the brink of a successful new era under Jurgen Klopp.
Liverpool are young, exciting squads and De Ligt could take himself, and the team, to a new level if he moved to Anfield.
CONS: It is difficult to find a way to Liverpool right now, although the one area where they are competing with their rivals is on a financial level. De Ligt could guarantee bigger wages elsewhere.
Despite winning the Champions League, Liverpool won the league title since 1990, and if Manchester City continue to dominate, the defender might find it easier to win major honors elsewhere.
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PROS: Playing for the biggest and most wealthy club in Germany would guarantee De Ligt both a bulging pay packet and a well-stocked trophy cabinet. I know what to do in the UEFA Champions League any season. And although Bayern are in a rebuilding process, their dominance of German football ensures that he would still be winning during their transitional period.
CONS: In a similar fashion to PSG in France, Bayern have killed off domestic competition in the Bundesliga (though only just this season), so De Ligt might be moving to comfort zone if he chose to leave Ajax for them.
There is uncertainty over the long-term future of coach Niko Kovac and the departures of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, and the potential sale of Mats Hummels, have left several question marks hovering over the Allianz Arena.
PROS: Just to sign for Barcelona would enable De Lig to play with Lionel Messi, to move to Juventus would give the youngster the opportunity to play and train with Cristiano Ronaldo.
Defensively, to move to Turin would be like going to school for center-back by learning from Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci. Financially, Juve are big payers, and their dominance of Serie A should ensure plenty of winners' medals for De Ligt.
CONS: The appointment of Maurizio Sarri as Juventus coach has raised two eyebrows to his playing and lack of a title win on his, so De Ligt could be moving to Juve just as their domestic dominance begins to wane.
As he displayed himself at Chelsea, Sarri said he was relegated to watching behind Chiellini and Bonucci.
Wherever Ligt ends up this summer, he will be at the top club with a hugely increased pay packet. But if he could hand-pick his best destination, Liverpool would be top of the pile to the strength of the team and the opportunity to play alongside international teammate Van Dijk.
The smart money is on De Ligt moving to PSG, who look to have outbid Barcelona, but Liverpool would be the best option for the Ajax defender.
. (tagsToTranslate) soccer transfers (t) Matthijs de Ligt (t) Ajax Amsterdam (t) English Premier League (t) Spanish Primera División (t) French Ligue 1 (t) Paris Saint-Germain (t) Liverpool