Erik ten Hag urged to sign Matthijs De Ligt as Harry Maguire replacement

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has been urged to consider signing his former Ajax star Matthijs De Ligt.

Strengthening the defence could be a priority for the Red Devils, with Ralf Rangnick telling Sky Sports that he was still not happy with the number of goals the team are conceding.

De Ligt played for Ten Hag at Ajax before leaving to sign with Juventus in 2019 for a fee of £67.5 million, spurning interest from Manchester United.

Former Ajax midfielder Jan van Halst has told Voetball Primeur he believes De Ligt would be the ideal centre-back for United to pursue this summer.

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A top option for United

De Ligt has had a mixed two-and-a-half years at Juventus and it is suggested he might benefit from linking back up with Ten Hag at Old Trafford.

Van Halst said: “If you are looking for a replacement for Maguire, because he will be the first to remove it, I immediately think of Matthijs de Ligt.

“He knows Ten Hag, is constructively good and still makes his mistakes defensively, but that is a lot on a communicative level.

“A man runs away in his back because the coordination is not good, but he never had that at Ajax. There was clarity there.”

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De Ligt is only 22 and still has his best years ahead of him. Juventus are not having a great season, positioned fourth in Serie A, and it is not impossible that the Italian side become tempted by a big offer.

Pundit Van Halst was responding to suggestions from Ruud Gullit that Ajax prospect Jurrien Timber might not be the right fit for Old Trafford.

Gullit said: “He is a very good player, but I wonder if he can be a defender in England. You also play against Burnley and West Bromwich Albion and the strikers of the top seven clubs are all world strikers. I doubt he can defend well enough.”

Timber, 20, is a Netherlands international and still only. The Mirror report he is on Ten Hag’s wishlist, although of course, if De Ligt becomes a possibility, he could well become a priority.

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