Arsenal emerge as shock contenders for Ajax defender Matthijs De Ligt

The 19-year-old Dutch defender has worked with Gunners legends Dennis Bergkamp and Marc Overmars and is a gigantic admirer of the Londoners.

But Arsenal boss Unai Emery will have to boost his summer transfer budget by qualifying for the Champions League AND offloading Mesut Ozil — to wipe his £350,000 seven days off the pay bill — to most likely meet Ajax’s £70million valuation.

Emery will have a budget of just £40m if he fails to finish in the top four — or qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League — in his tenderfoot Premier League season.

De Ligt is seen as an elite player after an amazing start to his career in Eredivisie and has already been given the Ajax captaincy.

But Man City consider him a long-term option to eventually replace Vincent Kompany.

And Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp also wants a centre-back to compete with van Dijk and Gomez.

Serie A giants Juventus are preparing to bid for De Ligt in the mid year.


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