It is no secret that Manchester United need a new centre-back. But there is one they should be focusing on above all others.
Matthijs de Ligt may only be 19, but he is among the best defenders in Europe already. And he is only going to get better.
The Ajax captain has racked up 95 senior appearances and is exactly the kind of player United should be targeting.
It would be easy to dismiss De Ligt because of his age. But it would also be wrong. Because the 13-capped Dutchman is the real deal. He would also be worth whatever it takes to bring him to Old Trafford.
Kalidou Koulibaly and Milan Skrinier may be older than De Ligt, but he could easily surpass them both.
He has a contract at Ajax until the summer of 2021, meaning his price-tag is likely to drop the longer it runs without extension.
United can afford to spend big on a new centre-back and they should make a decision that would benefit them for the next decade and beyond.
It is no exaggeration to say that De Ligt could be United’s superstar stopper for 15 years. So a considerable outlay would be repaid in no time.
United do not need a more experienced head to play alongside Victor Lindelof. They must trust the Swede to take on that mantel and allow De Ligt to blossom alongside him.
That pairing could, ultimately, be as good as any in world football.
The Manchester Evening News has already reported United’s interest in the youngster. Ed Woodward just needs to be smart about it, and come in with an offer Ajax cannot refuse this summer.