Matthijs de Ligt is ready for a move to Barcelona, according to Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who believes that products from the Ajax academy are galvanising Netherlands after they missed out on the World Cup in 2018.
The Dutch are preparing to face England in the inaugural UEFA Nations League semi-finals and have been buoyed by an injection of fresh talent, some of which has come from the Ajax team which reached this season’s Champions League last four.
Frenkie de Jong’s move to Barcelona from Ajax has already been announced while De Ligt has been tipped to follow him to Camp Nou, despite rumours of interest from the likes of Manchester United.
The 19-year-old has already addressed the speculation surrounding his future and he will wait until after the Nations League matches in Portugal over the next few days before making a decision.
Former Chelsea striker Hasselbaink, who played 23 times for his country, hopes that De Ligt does move on to bigger things with Barcelona, and also expects the new generation of Dutch footballers to end a spell out of the international spotlight.
“The Dutch have always been not afraid to put young players in. In that aspect, they have done a really good job and we can finally say that the national team has a really bright future ahead,” Hasselbaink told Goal.
“De Jong, De Ligt, [Virgil] Van Dijk, Kenny Tete, [Stefan] De Vrij. The majority of the players are yet to reach their full potential. The best is yet to come and I think they will push England in the Nations League.
“Frenkie de Jong is going to Barcelona. An exceptional talent who is good with the ball and he has a really bright future ahead. He has been fantastic for Ajax this season in the Champions League and domestically.
“De Ligt has already been doing it for a long time. He is the first real quality defender to be at Ajax since Jaap Stam. At Netherlands, he has Van Dijk alongside him, he looks like he will follow De Jong to Barcelona which would be a good move.”
Netherlands face England on Thursday in Guimaraes for the chance to then play in the final of the Nations League against either Portugal or Switzerland in the final on 9 June in Porto.