?A number of top European clubs have been put on red alert with the news that the highly rated Ajax centre back ?Matthijs de Ligt wants to depart Amsterdam for a new challenge this summer.

According to Dutch outlet ?De Telegraaf, ??Tottenham are among a number of potential suitors for the 18-year-old Netherlands international defender.

De Ligt has emerged as one of the finest young defenders on the continent this season, with accomplished performances for Ajax leading to an international call up from Ronald Koeman in March, becoming the youngest debutant for the Netherlands since Mauk Weber in 1931.

The defender has gone on to win five international caps to date, and his rapid emergence has reportedly caught the attention of European giants including Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City.

The news that de Ligt is keen to depart Ajax at the end of the season is sure to spark a huge bout of interest across Europe in the starlet’s services during the summer transfer window.

It is reported that Spurs are among those most keen to snap up the Dutchman and view him as an ideal defensive replacement for contract rebel Toby Alderweireld, who seems increasingly likely to depart the club having failed to agree on fresh terms in north London.

Standing at 6 ft 2 in, the defender certainly possesses the physical stature to cope with the physical challenges of the English game.

His rise through the ranks of the famed Ajax academy from the age of nine means that de Ligt has been coached with strong technical competency, making him an ideal fit to meet the technical demands of the modern centre back.

Having only signed a new contract with Ajax in August last year, and still only making his first strides in the Ajax first team this season at the age of 18, it may be seen as premature for de Ligt to make a big move to one of Europe’s bigger clubs so early in his career.

The likes of ?Mauricio Pochettino and Pep Guardiola are, however, notorious for their desire to coach young talents and bring the best out of players with such potential, and therefore a move to the Premier League with either Pochettino’s Spurs or to ?Manchester City under Guardiola may make sense as the next step in de Ligt’s career development.

It is claimed that de Ligt is disappointed with Ajax’s lack of titles in recent years, having gone four years without winning the Eredivisie title, and once again seeing PSV claim the crown ahead of them this season.

Moving on to a major European club this summer could provide de Ligt with the title challenges which he craves, and also further his growing reputation as one of the continent’s hottest young properties.

Tottenham forked out a club record £42m to sign de Ligt’s former teammate and fellow centre back Davinson Sanchez from Ajax last summer.

It is reported that Daniel Levy would now be prepared to bid in the region of £45m to prise away the Amsterdam club’s next best defensive star and reunite the pair at Spurs’ new home at White Hart Lane next season.