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De Ligt a good fit for Barcelona, says Stam

SoccerNews in Eredivisie 16 May 2019

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Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt would be a good fit at Barcelona, according to former Netherlands defender Jaap Stam.

Teenager De Ligt has captained Ajax to a domestic double this term, while they reached the semi-finals of the Champions League only to be shocked in stoppage time by Lucas Moura’s hat-trick clinching goal for Tottenham.

The Netherlands international is expected to move on at the end of the season with Juventus, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Liverpool all reportedly interested in the centre-back.

De Ligt has indicated he is yet to decide his future but Barca, who have already sealed a deal for club and country team-mate Frenkie de Jong, are said to be in pole position, while Ajax director Edwin van der Sar has said the 19-year-old will go to England or Spain.

And Stam believes Camp Nou, where countrymen Ronald Koeman, Johan Cruyff and Patrick Kluivert all excelled, is the right place for De Ligt to continue his development.

“It’s important that he’ll get playing time,” Stam, who is coach at PEC Zwolle and set to take over Feyenoord from next season, told DAZN.

“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.”

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