It’s a Groundhog Day summer for the north London club. Last year, they spent £42m on Ajax centre-back Davinson Sanchez, 21, and will now return to the Amsterdam club for 18-year-old Netherlands international de Ligt.
Ajax are understood to value the player at £48m, shattering their record once again. Relentless speculation surrounding de Ligt’s future since Barcelona’s interest became known last year. The Catalans have since dropped their interest in the player.
Arsenal and Manchester United both ran the rule over the youngster last autumn but, as of yet, are not persuaded that the £48m demanded by Ajax represents value for money. It’s left Tottenham with a clear run at the player’s signature.
De Ligt debuted for the Netherlands senior team during the ill-fated World Cup qualifying campaign, in the 2 – 0 defeat to Bulgaria. He has since made six further appearances for the Dutch.
The purchase will be funded by the sale of Toby Alderweireld, 29, to Manchester United. After failing to agree terms with Spurs over a new deal, the Belgian international is set to be sold this summer before a release clause of £25m becomes active after September.
A stalemate emerged with the north London club valuing Alderweireld at £55m, far more than Manchester United are willing to pay. Talks between the two clubs are ongoing.