Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt has emerged as one of the top talents in Europe, but Man Utd reportedly missed out on a chance to snap him up.
Despite their Champions League heartbreak in midweek, Ajax have the chance to land a domestic double this season and have been widely lauded for their style of play and the impact several of their youth products have had.
De Ligt, 19, has been a major part of that, making 53 appearances across all competitions, and as well as emerging as a defensive stalwart, he has bagged seven goals and four assists too.
Judging him on his displays this year, there is little concern about his physicality and fitness, but according to The Mirror, Man Utd turned down the opportunity to sign him over concerns that he would lose his fitness and become fat as his career progressed, based on his father’s weight, a claim also made by ESPN.
It’s added that the Dutch international is now valued at around £75m, but with a chance to bag a bargain at the time last season, scout Marcel Bout is said to have convinced the club not to make a move for him despite initially recommending him.
It looks as though they will live to rue that touted decision, as while De Ligt will naturally lose some pace in the latter stages of his career, it will be down to his professionalism to stay in shape and continue to be a physical presence at the back rather than looking at the genetics side of it.
He looks strong and healthy for such a young player, and with United shipping 52 goals in 37 league games this season, giving them the worst defensive record of the top nine sides, they could certainly have done with a player of De Ligt’s quality this season.