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Report: Tottenham to end interest in Ajax star

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Rage, rage against the dying of de Ligt!

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Tottenham Hotspur’s plans to overhaul their back line might have gotten a bit more complicated. According to Alasdair Gold at football.london, Tottenham Hotspur are planning to back off their pursuit of teenage Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt, and will not make an approach to sign him this summer.

De Ligt, 18, is considered a potential star in the making, and is coming off an excellent season with Ajax. However, he would not come cheap — super-agent Mino Raiola is apparently advising de Ligt and his family on a potential transfer and there are reports that Ajax is demanding £50m for his services. That’s a lot for a teenager that may or may not develop as planned! Mauricio Pochettino apparently was very high on the kid but the idea of spending that kind of cash for a young Eredivisie defender, Davinson Sanchez notwithstanding, might have been too much to contemplate.

If true, this is also a blow to Tottenham headline writers everywhere, and it would mean I wouldn’t get to use any of these beauties:

  • Afternoon de Ligt: Dutch star becomes Spurs’ latest signing
  • De Ligt-ful, delicious, de-lovely
  • Matthijs de Ligts up Arsenal with late winner
  • De Ligt on the Piazza: young Spurs defender shows his maturity in Champions League win over Juventus

So what does this mean? Well, it could mean that Spurs will move on to other defensive targets. Spurs have been linked with Swansea’s Alfie Mawson and Newcastle captain Jamal Lascelles this summer, and there have been nominal links with 22-year old Bayer Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah. Spurs could also move Eric Dier to CB permanently and double-down on obtaining a new defensive midfielder.

There’s also the possibility that this changes the calculus on the Toby Alderweireld sale as well. United have yet to make an approach for Toby, and while PSG have shown some interest we haven’t heard anything on that front in a while either. It’s possible that Toby staying around and either departing next summer for £25m or even (gasp) signing a new short-term contract might be in the frame as well. It’s too soon to say. Keeping Toby and potentially adding Anthony Martial would be pretty exciting!

Whiffing on an exciting young prospect wouldn’t be great and it’d be neat to have the next John Stones developing at Tottenham Hotspur, but it’s not as though Spurs would be out of options if they do back off of de Ligt. We’ll have to see how this plays out — it’s still early June, and there’s plenty of time.