It is no secret that Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong are two of the hottest prospects in soccer with Bayern Munich and Barcelona allegedly in pursuit of each player. Ajax is not one to rest on its laurels, however, and the Dutch giant has already begun planning for their respective departures.
A recent report from Bild claims that Bayern youth product Meritan Shabani has been identified as de Jong’s successor with Ajax hoping to bring a deal over the line in the winter transfer window. As the Dutch club seeks to regain its Eredevisie throne from PSV Eindhoven, while also challenging in the knockout rounds of the Champions League, it is viewed as the perfect time to begin integrating the young German into the first team.
The German midfielder currently has a contract with Bayern until 2020 and is training with the first team in Doha over the Winterpause. The promising young play maker is a Munich-native having joined the club at the age of seven and has featured for the first team three times since his debut last April.
First, Meritan Shabani is arguably one of the most promising youth prospects in the Bayern academy and the price should reflect a proper valuation of the player. That being said, Bayern’s first team midfield is a crowded position group, with plenty of young talent vying for minutes.
A route into the first team, without a chance to prove oneself away from the club is unlikely at the moment. If Ajax is resistant to a potential multi-year loan move for Shabani, the Bavarian brass should absolutely consider inserting a buy-back clause or a first-option clause to ensure that efforts to develop the player are not profited on by another top team down the line.
Ajax has implemented a player development model that has produced top talent, including Christian Eriksen, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Justin Kluivert. In addition to the “murderer’s row” of former Ajax players, the current squad includes some of the most widely coveted prospects in Europe, including de Ligt, de Jong, Andre Onana, Kasper Dolberg, Donny van de Beek, David Neres, and Hakim Ziyech.
Needless to say, Shabani would be in good hands with plenty of opportunities to play domestically and in the Champions League. It would be the perfect incubator for his talent.
Bayern may also consider cutting Shabani’s price, or including an inflated buy-back clause or none at all, in order to “grease the wheels” for the potential transfer of de Jong, de Ligt, or both to the Bavarian capital. Considering the pulling power of the clubs grappling over the two Dutch starlets, anything Die Roten can do to get an upper hand in negotiations with the Dutch club is welcome.
For an in depth scouting report on the talented prospect, check out this Bavarian Wunderkind Watch profile.
Do you think we should sell Shabani to Ajax? What would you include in negotiations?