The young duo have attracted attention from across Europe, but ex-Ajax striker John van Loen believes two clubs in particular stand out
Matthijs de Ligt is made for Manchester United while Frenkie de Jong would fit in perfectly at Barcelona, according to former Ajax star John van Loen.
The two youngsters have been at the forefront of the Dutch giants’ Champions League adventure this season, helping the side to the last 16.
A series of fine performances and a team based on a mixture of youth and experience has drawn comparison with the great Ajax squads of the mid-1990s, while also drawing transfer links with some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
And Van Loen, who lifted the UEFA Cup with the team in 1991-92 and also represented Netherlands at the 1990 World Cup, has tipped the pair to shine at the very top.
“Barcelona is the best place for De Jong because they play football, not kick and rush, and he is good with the ball,” the former striker explained to Goal.
“I think Manchester United is perfect for De Ligt. I hope De Ligt rejects Juventus’ offer – Italian football does not suit him and the Premier league is much better and stronger.”
Ajax now face a formidable challenge in the knock-out stages as they look to continue their Champions League adventure.
Real Madrid, winners of the last three editions, stand between the Amsterdam outfit and the quarter-final; but Van Loen is confident of an upset.
“I think Ajax will beat Real Madrid in the last 16. I know Real Madrid’s players have the experience but I see them every week and they won the Club World Cup against normal teams, not good teams, and Ajax play better,” he added, while also predicting a European champion in 2018-19.
“I think Liverpool will win the Champions League this season. Barcelona and Juventus are not good in the knock-out stages and I do not think they will make it.
“Barcelona and Juventus have special players like Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but Liverpool have Mohamed Salah and he is good because he has players behind him that do the dirty work for him.
Van Loen added that as well as De Ligt and De Jong, his former employers may have to rebuild next season as they brace themselves for a flurry of outgoing transfer activity.
“I hope nobody else leaves Ajax and the end of the season, but I think Ziyech, Tagliafico, Onana, and Van de Beek could go,” he admitted.
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