3 reasons why PSG must go all out and sign Matthijs de Ligt
After his memorable display against England, helping the Netherlands knock the Three Lions out of the Nations League on Thursday night, Matthijs de Ligt has issued an update on his future: the teenage wonderkid remains undecided.
With all the teams interested in him, he's thinking carefully ahead of his next move and rightly so. LaLiga champions Barcelona were previously frontrunners for the defender's signature, after completing a €75m move for teammate Frenkie de Jong earlier this year.
However, despite the various factors which make him such an exciting prospect to follow, there's one team many have overlooked up to now that really need him more than most. It is none other than Ligue 1 champions Paris-Saint Germain, said to be the new frontrunners to complete a big-money transfer for his services this summer.
Despite their determination to prove themselves as one of Europe's elite sides, they have failed to surpass the Champions League quarter-final stage since the 1990s and they cannot afford to miss out on a player of his ability and potential. With all of that in mind, here's a look at three reasons why PSG must go all out to sign de Ligt over the coming months:
#3 He's a generational talent and the best available on the market
All things considered, it's easy to forget that de Ligt is still only 19-years-old. He'll no longer be a teenager in mid-August, just before the 2019/20 campaign begins - though he has shown on multiple occasions that age is just a number. Leading by example on the pitch, he has already proven his weight in gold for both Ajax and the Netherlands' senior side, partnering Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk at the heart of defence.
Crucially, he plays in the one position where questions have regularly been asked of PSG and where they perhaps lack the world-class quality to see them through difficult periods in matches. Whether it be through reckless challenges, poor decision-making, weak game-management or more besides, there are a number of factors you can attribute to their defeats against top sides in recent seasons.
Manchester United this past season, that collapse away at Barcelona, being humbled by Real Madrid, defeats to Chelsea and more have hurt their credibility as one of the world's big guns. As it continues to happen, despite their best efforts to resolve their issues, the tag of being serially not good enough is thrown around more rigorously.
Slowly but surely, the phrase "lacking bottle" is also a recurring theme, while the fact their league's simply not competitive at the top proves more a hindrance than a help when it comes to facing far better sides in European competition.
A star-studded attack, quality in midfield but their defence has always been viewed as the weakness within their side. Julian Draxler is very good, sure, but where is his best position? Leandro Paredes is not suited to their playing style, Thiago Motta's presence hasn't been adequately replaced and deciding to let Blaise Matuidi leave was a baffling one to, say the least.
Marquinhos has been flexing his versatility in defensive midfield but that speaks volumes for their lack of quality options to partner Marco Verratti, their one true world-class player in that role. Their backline has too much emphasis on one player, which leads onto my next point.