Ajax Starlet Matthijs de Ligt Scoops Golden Boy Prize Amid Interest From Barcelona & Man City


​Ajax youngster Matthijs de Ligt been named the 2018 Golden Boy, amid transfer interest from the likes of Manchester City and Barcelona.

The much-coveted award – organised by journalist from a range of European newspapers – is presented to a promising young footballer from Europe each season, with the likes of Paul Pogba, Lionel Messi and Sergio Agüero all being crowned in the early stages of their careers. 

Two English players have previously won the award: Wayne Rooney in 2004, and Raheem Sterling a decade later.

Tthe 19-year-old defender triumphed over likes of Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, AC Milan’s Patrick Cutrone and Roma’s Justin Kluivert to claim the honour. Given his exceptional defensive talents at such a young age, interest in de Ligt is high, with a number of elite European sides believed to be on his tail.

It is currently unclear who the frontrunners are to sign the prodigious youngster. While the report suggests that ​Barça are leading the race, ​others have suggested that Serie A serial winners Juventus could swoop in and capture the player. De Ligt already has 13 caps for the Netherlands national side, forming a defensive partnership with​ ​Liverpool‘s Virgil van Dijk.

​Manchester City, given Pep Guardiola’s reputation for developing young players, are also believed to be in with a shot of signing de Ligt. The club’s spending power could give them an upper hand in the transfer battle, but may find that the lure of the Camp Nou, or indeed the Allianz Stadium, sees the player escape from their clutches.

Meanwhile,​ City talisman Kevin de Bruyne has claimed that Liverpool will push his side until the end of the season in the race for the Premier League title, but has insisted that his focus is entirely on his team. After 17 matches, Liverpool are currently top of the table with 45 points, while the Citizens sit in second place with 44.

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