Matthijs de Ligt has officially joined Bayern Munich in a move that lands him twice on the list of top five most expensive defender signings. He’s signed up until 2027 in Bavaria, after three seasons each with Juventus and AFC Ajax and two successive mega-transfers. So, how do Ajax fans feel about their former wonderkid’s trajectory? I caught up with one to find out!
Readers and listeners here may recall 433 podcast’s Sam van Raalte from when I went on their show to discuss Sadio Mane’s transfer from Liverpool to Bayern:
Sam is also a life-long fan of Ajax as well as a season tickets holder — which means he can provide some excellent insight and context for us.
De Ligt’s formative years spent at Ajax were arguably more promising than his Juventus tenure in a similar number of appearances (77 versus 87 in Turin), and that’s reflected in his somewhat lower fee this time around. At Ajax, he’d captained a side that defied all expectations to march to the Champions League semi-finals in 2019.
So, what kind of player is Bayern getting in this transfer window? How excited should we be?
Here’s what Sam had to say:
Well, from what we have seen at Ajax, De Ligt is a born leader, was the Ajax captain as a teenager already and for good reason. He was brilliant for us, both on the ball and defensively. I was in the away section in Turin when he headed the match-winning goal in versus Juventus for Ajax to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League; that was epic. Haven’t seen much of him since he joined Juventus. He seemed to struggle a bit the past two seasons, as Juventus struggled as a whole. But I think Bayern and the Bundesliga will fit perfectly. I believe [Julian] Nagelsmann will be the perfect manager for him now, as the style of play will be more like what De Ligt was used to at Ajax.
There’s plenty of excitement for what’s to come for De Ligt at Bayern and I’m sure I speak for many when I say that I can’t wait to see him become that commanding presence in our backline. Bayern could be just the right platform for De Ligt to get back to his meteoric rise.
Thanks again for the insight, Sam!
LINKS to all of Sam’s work.
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