'Ajax wonderkids De Jong & De Ligt good enough for any club in Europe'

The duo have both been linked with moves to Barcelona and Manchester City, and are among the highest rated youngsters in the world

Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong are good enough to play for any club in Europe, their Ajax team-mate David Neres believes.

De Jong has been linked with Barcelona and Manchester City, while highly rated 19-year-old centre-back de Ligt is on the wish list of Barca, City and Juventus. 

Premier League champions City are understood to be prepared to break their transfer record for De Jong and pay £62 million ($80m) plus £18m ($23m) in bonuses, with Barca set to give up on signing the Netherlands international.

It is believed De Ligt, meanwhile, will command a fee of £44 million ($57m).

Neres has been playing alongside the Dutch duo since his €15 million (£13m/$17m) move from Sao Paulo in 2017, and has been impressed with what he has seen.

“Both have quality to play in any club in the world,” he told Goal. “They are two really young players, with great potential and so much quality.”

Indeed, strong performances this season have led to comparisons bettwen 21-year-old De Jong and Johan Cruyff, while De Ligt has is set to receive a nomination for the Golden Boy award, presented to Europe’s best player under the age of 21.

However, both were quick to play down the hype after Ajax’s 3-0 win over NAC Breda on Saturday, with De Ligt claiming he does not regard himself as a golden boy.

The defender has received praise from well-established critics though, one being Ajax CEO and former Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar. 

Speaking to Goal earlier this year, van der Sar said: “He looks like he’s been doing this for six or seven years. Matthijs is very mature for his age: he has the physique of a 24-year-old.

“He is also strong with both feet, has an extremely good range of passing, can head the ball, scores goals and is a real leader at the back already at the age of 18.

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“He came into the first team last year and has never looked back.”

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