Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt has the required level of quality to break into the Barcelona team straight away, says Jaap Stam.
19-year-old De Ligt enjoyed a remarkable campaign on route to helping Ajax win a domestic double in the Eredivisie and the KNVB Cup. He also played a big part in the club’s run to the Champions League semi-finals.
The Netherlands international’s impressive development in Amsterdam has reportedly captured the interest of several European giants. Barcelona, Juventus and Bayern Munich have been the most frequently mentioned ones.
Although Manchester United did allegedly have a €70m offer turned down by De Ligt earlier this month.
While the teenager insists no decision has been made yet, Barcelona are firm favourites to sign him. The Catalan club have already captured his Ajax and Holland team-mate Frenkie de Jong for this summer.
And Stam is certain a switch to Barcelona would serve De Ligt well.
“It’s important that he’ll get playing time,” said the ex-Manchester United defender, via Yahoo.
“If you look at the squads: Barcelona, after losing to Liverpool, probably wants to strengthen their squad, especially in defence, if you ask me. The question is how they are going to solve that problem.
“I think that Matthijs de Ligt would be a good fit though. It will be great to see how he performs against better players in a better league, not just every few weeks, but every weekend.
“Same goes for Liverpool. We all know who is their biggest defensive star – his Dutch colleague [Virgil van Dijk] – the other players, [Dejan] Lovren and [Joel] Matip, rotate quite a lot.
“The big question is if he’ll immediately play all matches. I think he has enough quality to do so.
“In those big leagues, it’s normal to have to deal with rotation, especially at the start you will probably start on the bench a bit more often.
“After that, you have to get used to the level and the quality of your opponents. I think the people around him, and Matthijs himself, are smart enough to pick the option with the most playing time. In that case, money won’t make a difference.”
De Ligt managed seven goals and four assists in 55 appearances for Ajax this season.
— Johan Cruyff (@JohanCruyff) May 16, 2019