Liverpool owners FSG are plotting a summer move for Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt as the Merseyside club aim to build on their remarkable success this season.
Italian outlet Calciomercato have reported that the Reds are thinking about making a move for the Dutchman in the summer transfer window, although Barcelona and Chelsea also appear to be in the running for the centre-back.
The report states that De Ligt has a new two-year deal waiting on the table, with a plan to reduce his €125m (£106m) release clause as well.
Liverpool’s success this season has seen Jurgen Klopp further enhance his reputation, and with a summer which could be full of transfer activity, it may seem surprising that the club have been linked with another centre-back.
With Van Dijk, Ibrahim Konate, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez all in situ, De Ligt wouldn’t be coming to Anfield to sit on the bench.
The 22-year-old is valued at £63m by Transfermarkt and if – admittefly it’s a big if – Liverpool sign him, they could have one of Europe’s finest talents in their hands.
The comparisons to Van Dijk are natural, as both are Dutch and play in the same position, but De Ligt has been lauded to “be better than Van Dijk”, and this may well be true as age is firmly on his side.
At 22, the Liverpool centre-back was playing for Celtic before landing at Southampton in the Premier League two years later, whereas De Ligt is starring for one of the finest teams in Italy at the same age.
While it is hard to tell at this moment in time whether or not the Juventus centre-back will reach the heights of Van Dijk, the statistics certainly show that, in certain areas, he is actually outperforming the 30-year-old.
FSG may be reluctant to pay De Ligt’s lofty release clause given their frugal reputation, but just imagine an all-Dutch centre-back partnership of him and Van Dijk at Anfield…