“It’s an honour to be linked” – Ajax defender flattered by Man Utd interest

Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt admitted he was flattered by Manchester United’s interest in him, reports the Independent. The 18-year-old has been linked with a host of European clubs in the last 12 months and could be spoilt for choice when deciding his future.

United are one of many sides keen on procuring his signature, with manager Jose Mourinho potentially having to replace up to three centre-backs this summer and de Ligt revealed to Italian outlet Tutto Mercato that he was delighted to hear so many big clubs are monitoring his development.

“I’m not in touch with anyone yet,” he said. “I’m here with my national team, focused on this. Of course, it’s a real honour to be associated with some big clubs but it does not change for me, I just have to continue to play well.

“I hope I can grow as much as possible and that’s why it’s important to play every week at high levels. Who would I choose between Juve, Barcelona and United? It’s difficult, they’re all great teams.

“We must think about it, understand what is the best step to do. At the moment I do not know, I’m on vacation and I can think about it.”

United could be losing Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Victor Lindelof this summer with the trio having fallen down the pecking order. Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly have been preferred by Mourinho, and sales could ensue in the coming weeks as competition could be fierce for game time.

Blind and Rojo spent last season on the periphery and will both be out of contract in 12 months, while Lindelof has been linked with a loan move to newly-promoted Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers after a forgettable debut season at Old Trafford.

De Ligt is highly-rated and has already become a regular at Ajax despite his young age, boasting 62 appearances in all competitions for the Dutch Eredivisie side, so he could make an instant impact if he was persuaded to come to England. The Independent say he would cost between £35-44m.

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