Week celebrates education abroad, international studies

first_imgWhile Notre Dame offers some of the best academics in the country on its campus, International Education Week is intended to highlight the importance of academic and cultural exchange between institutions here and abroad. McKenna Pencak, assistant director for International Student Services and Activities said International Education Week is a national celebration coordinated by the Departments of State and Education. “[This week] celebrates and promotes international education and global exchange,” she said. This year, one of the key events during the week is a memorial fundraiser hosted by the Chinese Friendship Association for sophomore Ziqi Zhang, the Saint Mary’s College international student who passed away in October, Pencak said. The fundraiser will be held Friday at 5:30 p.m. in the Coleman-Morse Center lounge and will benefit Zhang’s family, Pencak said. Throughout the week, there will also be a variety of events on campus highlighting cultural diversity. Pencak said one of the most popular events is The Taste of South Bend. “Students, staff and faculty can sample free international cuisine provided by local ethnic restaurants,” she said. “In years past, more than 300 people have attended this event.” This event, in its third year, will take place Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the LaFortune Ballroom. She said the week is important because of how integral international exposure and study abroad are to the Notre Dame experience. “The University offers a wealth of opportunities for students to study, conduct research and do service abroad,” she said. “Sixty percent of undergraduate students at Notre Dame study abroad and more than 900 international students from nearly 90 countries attend Notre Dame.” The week is a unique opportunity for international students to highlight their diverse backgrounds, Pencak said. “International Education Week provides an opportunity to celebrate and raise awareness of the international student community … [and] provides an opportunity for international students to share their cultures with the campus,” Pencak said. One of the co-sponsors of the week is Notre Dame International, a relatively young branch of the University’s administration, Pencak said. “The University established Notre Dame International two years ago to create even more international learning opportunities for students, facilitate international research collaborations and enhance the University’s reputation as a center for international scholarship, teaching and service,” she said. “Notre Dame International coordinates IEW [International Education Week] as a whole, whereas a variety of cultural clubs, institutes, departments and organizations coordinate individual events throughout the week.” For Pencak, her favorite part of International Education Week is the way it brings the campus together. “It’s great to see both American and international students celebrating cultural diversity and learning about different countries and cultures from one another,” she said.last_img read more

Akuo Energy, Iberdrola win big share of 1.1GW Portuguese solar auction

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Tech:Portugal has unveiled the final results of the solar auction held over the summer, identifying a handful of major foreign winners of a tender hailed as a worldwide milestone.French firm Akuo Energy and Spanish giant Iberdrola reaped together nearly half of the 1.15GW total awarded through the July auction, which made global headlines as reports emerged of bid prices of €14.76/MWh (around US$16/MWh).Released this week, the final list shows the tender assigned 370MW to Paris-headquartered Akuo under a first modality, which offered winners 15-year fixed-price power purchase agreements (PPA). At 150MW, it was the largest of Akuo’s three awarded projects that scored the €14.76/MWh tariff. Its two other winning schemes of 120MW and 100MW were contracted at prices of €20.73/MWh (around US$23/MWh) and €19.78/MWh (US$22.16/MWh), respectively.Joining Akuo under the first, fixed-tariff modality was Power & Sol – with a 100MW project scoring tariffs of €17.19/MWh (US$19.26/MWh) – Everstream Energy Capital’s 50MW scheme and others. The priciest project was Aura Power’s 18MW venture, at €31.16/MWh (US$34.92/MWh).The tender – which had to process 10GW in solar bids – awarded a significant chunk of the final 1.15GW total to Spain’s Iberdrola under a second modality, where developers were made to pay in return for the right to produce at market prices, also for 15 years.Iberdrola pledged contributions ranging €5.1-26.75/MWh (around US$5.68-30MWh) in return for 149MW worth of contracts for its first-ever Portuguese PV projects, which will be split between the Algarve and the Tajo Valley. Iberdrola – already present in Portugal through its energy distribution business and the 1.158GW Támega hydro project – was the main but not the only winner of the second auction category, with a separate 110MW project committing grid payments of €25.46/MWh (around US$28/MWh).More: Portugal reveals winners of record-breaking solar auction Akuo Energy, Iberdrola win big share of 1.1GW Portuguese solar auctionlast_img read more

The Balance of Power

first_imgIt’s the year 2050. Solar panels and wind farms abound and all 50 states plus D.C. rely entirely on renewable energy sources. Is this wishful thinking imagined by well-meaning environmentalists or a realistic vision of the country weaning itself from centuries-long dependence on fossil fuels? For Stanford University professor and researcher Mark Jacobson, the answer is clear.“It’s not only feasible—it’s necessary,” Jacobson said. “It’s the only solution to the problems of catastrophic global warming and our pollution mortality on a worldwide scale.”Jacobson, who’s been studying sustainable energy and its problem-solving potential since the 1990s, has published several studies outlining energy plans for states and countries all over the world. In 2015 he and a team released The Solutions Project, a culmination of his research that lays out how the U.S. (plus 139 other countries) can eliminate use of natural gas, oil, coal, and nuclear power and operate on 100% clean, renewable energy.The project maps out all 50 states’ energy mix, or precisely how each state would be powered. In Virginia, for example, the plan says that 50% of the commonwealth’s energy could be provided by offshore wind, with the remaining half made up by 25.5% solar photovoltaic (PV) plants, 10% onshore wind, 5% concentrating solar power (CSP) plants, 4.2% residential rooftop PV, 3.5% commercial/government rooftop PV, 0.5% wave devices, 1.3% hydroelectric and 0.1% tidal turbines.The state-by-state plan also includes figures projecting construction and operation jobs created (89,632 and 57,779, respectively, in Virginia), plus the percentage of state land needed for new generators, avoided health costs per year, and future energy costs.As a researcher, Jacobson said he has no financial interest in the discussion, and no real dog in the fight (aside from a longtime vested interest in the health of future generations). He’s not interested in arguing with anyone about the merits of his research or convincing climate change skeptics that global warming is not only happening but a direct result of human activity. What he’s interested in is sharing indisputable facts about renewable energy.“You don’t have to believe in global warming to believe that clean energy will improve health and the economy and create jobs,” he said. “This is really an information problem—most people are not aware of the benefits and what it entails to transition. If people were actually aware of the facts about it, they’d ask why we haven’t already done this. It’s just so obvious.”Recent policy changes reveal that some states are on board with Jacobson’s vision. In 2015, Hawaii enacted the country’s first 100% renewable energy standard (30% by 2020, 70% by 2040 and 100% by 2045), and states like New York, California, Oregon, and Vermont have all since followed suit with similar legislation. Other parts of the country, like the South, have been slower to hop on that bandwagon.“Southern states have a history and culture of not being on the forefront of environmental legislation,” said Virginia Tech History of Technology Professor Richard Hirsh, who described Jacobson’s proposal as admirable but “highly aspirational.”Hirsh said the plan may be technically feasible, but everything from policy to technology development to public acceptance would have to go smoothly and align with one another. And if you ask him, the chances of that happening are slim to none.“In Virginia we have a political system in the energy realm that is dominated by a few companies, and they don’t want to see this happening,” Hirsh said. “You’d have to get all the politicians in Richmond on board…and that’s not gonna happen.”Jacobson’s proposal calls for 4.2% residential rooftop panels in Virginia, which Hirsh said may be possible given the amount of sun and sheer number of rooftops in the commonwealth. But it’s not that simple.“Virginia generally doesn’t provide any tax incentives for renewable energy,” he said. “There are federal incentives, but who knows how long those are going to last.”Shortly after President Trump’s inauguration, the White House website was updated to reflect the new administration’s “America First Energy Plan.” The plan promises to roll back President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which includes climate science and land and water preservation, and the Waters of the U.S. rule, which protects thousands of waterways and wetlands under the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers.It also states that the administration is “committed to clean coal technology, and to reviving America’s coal industry, which has been hurting for too long.” The term “renewable energy” does not appear in the text of the plan.“It would be really hard for me to say what the new administration is going to mean for renewable energy,” said Angela Navarro, Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources in the Office of Virginia Governor McAuliffe. “The governor’s office recognizes the potential for renewable energy to really grow our economy, and I think there’s definitely a lot more interest in these types of resources to become a great share of our energy portfolio in Virginia.”Hirsh said he’s seen efforts around renewable energy on the local level, like Solarize Blacksburg, a collaboration of Community Housing Partners, the Town of Blacksburg and solar company VA SUN that allowed 30 to 40 Blacksburg residents to purchase PV cells at a discounted price. He also sees “well-advertised efforts” by Appalachian Power and Dominion to incorporate more solar, though not on nearly the same scale as in other states.“One could argue that these efforts are sort of greenwashing, good for public relations,” he said. “There are efforts they’re pursuing slowly and that’s fine, but they’re nowhere near where California was 30 years ago, and we’re not going to get to Jacobson’s goal by 2050 with these baby steps.”According to spokesperson Daisy Pridgen, Dominion Energy’s $2.6 billion investment in renewable energy since 2013 (with $800 million in solar power in Virginia) has helped establish more than 1,000 megawatts (MW) of large-scale solar in eight states. She listed several projects that Dominion has taken on, like converting three coal-powered stations in Virginia to operate off renewable biomass and working on design plans for an offshore wind demonstration project in Virginia. As for realizing Jacobson’s goal of 100% renewable energy, though, Dominion isn’t ready to let go of fossil fuels.Mark Jacobson has a grand plan for the entire country to rely entirely on renewable energy by the year 2050. Here’s the resource breakdown for the renewable plan across the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states by the numbers.Residential rooftop photovoltaics: 6%Solar PV plants: 31%Concentrated solar plants: 8%Commercial/government rooftop PV: 4%Onshore wind: 5%Offshore wind: 43%Wave devices: 1%Hydroelectric: 2%Construction jobs created in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic: 900,000+Operation jobs created in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic: 650,000+last_img read more

Simmons finds a hero in Lincoln

first_imgSimmons finds a hero in Lincoln Simmons finds a hero in Lincoln May 15, 2006 Regular Newscenter_img Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Relations between the Florida Legislature and the state court system, especially the Supreme Court, have dramatically improved in recent years, but that doesn’t mean a little friction between branches of government is something to avoid.“Disagreeing with the courts is not a bad thing. As a matter of fact, it’s been the case for over 200 years. The friction is actually healthy,” according to Rep. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs. “Disagreement done agreeably actually fosters the good debate about the responsibilities of the court system, as well as the legislative or executive branches.”Healthy debate is certainly something Simmons has become familiar with during his three terms in the House. In his first year, he played a major role in the nursing home litigation reform and followed that the next year with legislation to overhaul and tighten DUI laws. He also pushed legislation allowing judges to order outpatient treatment for Baker Act patients.As chair for two years of the House Education Appropriations Committee, Simmons has played a major part in changes to the state’s education system.“If we can do a great job educating our children, many of the other social ills that we have will go away, whether it’s crime, whether it’s heavy use of social services,” he said.For the past four years, he’s chaired the House Judiciary Committee.Last year, he oversaw legislation that placed a constitutional amendment on this November’s ballot that, if approved by voters, would require all future constitutional amendments to have 60 percent of the vote to pass. The committee crafted and Simmons oversaw the passage of bills implementing amendments 7 and 8 approved by voters in 2004, dealing with medical malpractice issues.This year, Simmons pushed an amendment — which passed the House — barring the theory the Supreme Court majority used in striking down the state’s Opportunity Scholarship program earlier this year. He has been rigorous in explaining that while he has the highest regard for the court, in this case he thinks it used faulty reasoning. (That measure died in the closing days of the session as the Senate version of the bill failed to be taken up in the Senate Judiciary Committee. See story, page 4)The committee has also approved amendments which require a two-thirds vote to approve a constitutional amendment which would have a significant fiscal impact on the state, which Simmons is handling. (That measure was pending as this News went to press.)He also managed the House version of a proposed amendment to streamline the state constitution and move some provisions from the constitution to state statutes. (That was also pending as this News went to press.)With so much at stake — and subject to lively debate — Simmons sees the legislature as a natural place for lawyers, both because their training suits them for legislative work but also because they understand the importance of the court system.“When I first got in the legislature in 2001, I thought it was a pretty rocky relationship [with the courts],” he said. “I believe that has improved dramatically. I believe the lawyers in the legislature have gone a long way to showing other members how important the judiciary is to our state for the ability for business to actually have a good environment for the resolution of disputes.”Simmons added, “The judicial system is the essential element to a free and democratic society; the trust and belief if in fact you enter into a contract that you can enforce it and you’ll get a fair shake in the process. People live up to their words simply because we have an excellent judicial system where people can enforce what’s right.. . . “What attorneys bring to the legislative process is a very thorough understanding of statutory drafting, interpretation, and critical thinking — logic.”One benefit of more attorneys serving, he said, is an improved public perception of the profession — something Simmons has kept in mind in his legislative endeavors.“So long as attorneys are perceived by society as facilitators of justice, we’ll always have a place. But as long as people think of lawyers as taking more than we’re entitled to or impeding justice, then they’re going to try to cut us out of the adjudicatory process,” he said. “When we are able to keep lawyers as the facilitators of justice for both the rich and poor, there will always be a place for them.”Simmons came to the legal profession by a circuitous route. He enrolled in physics at Tennessee Technological University, but switched to mathematics, where he graduated first in his class. But other interests had already prompted him to switch his career course.“I have a hero and it’s Abraham Lincoln,” Simmons said. “When you read books, you find someone; you read and you find someone you want to emulate.”He enrolled in the Vanderbilt University law school, where he received his degree in 1977. After graduation, he moved to Florida and joined The Florida Bar. His practice is in commercial and civil litigation, including complex trials. He is certified by the Bar in civil and business litigation, and also certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.last_img read more

North Lindenhurst Boy, 6, Drowns in Pool

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 6-year-old boy died hours after being found unresponsive by his grandmother in the family’s backyard swimming pool in North Lindenhurst on Tuesday evening.Suffolk County police said the boy was pronounced dead Wednesday morning at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip, where he was initially listed in critical condition.The victim’s grandmother had found her grandson in the pool at the house on Bedell Street, pulled the child out and called 911 shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday, police said.First Squad detectives are continuing the investigation.The case marks the 11th apparent drowning on Long Island so far this year and follows two this weekend.last_img

Days of work in tourism in Osijek, Zagreb and Split

first_imgAfter successfully holding the first Tourism Job Days 2017, which brought together over 110 leading employers in tourism and hospitality and with over 14.000 visitors looking for seasonal employment, this year the event will be held in Osijek, Zagreb and Split during January and February.The first event will take place January 17 in Osijek in the Sports Hall Gradski vrt in Osijek (23 Kneza Trpimira Street) from 09:00 to 15:00. Business Days in Tourism will continue January 26 in Zagreb in the Congress Hall at the Zagreb Fair (Avenija Dubrovnik 15) from 09:00 to 15:00. The final event will take place February 2 in Split at the Gripe Sports Center (Osječka 11) from 09:00 to 15:00.Job Days in Tourism is a project organized by the Ministry of Labor and Pension System, the Ministry of Tourism, the Croatian Employment Service, the Croatian National Tourist Board, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts, the Croatian Employers ‘Association and the Hotel Employers’ Association. tourism and employment opportunities provided by the tourism sector.Related news: INVITATION TO EMPLOYERS TO EXHIBIT AT TOURISM DAYS 2018last_img read more

Argentina exceeds 300,000 coronavirus cases, 6,000 deaths: Health ministry

first_imgTopics : “The highest points for the City of Buenos Aires could have been the last days of July and the first days of August,” he told Reuters TV. “Now the infection curve has stabilized at a plateau, but a high plateau. In South America, you call it the altiplano, as opposed to the lowlands.”The recent peaking of cases saw the government last week renew restrictions for Buenos Aires that had been relaxed in many parts of the nation.The announcement was greeted by thousands taking part in a street protest on Monday against the measures, which have cause further economic pain in a country already in deep recession. “It seems to me that, as in other countries, we should be trusted to behave like adults and responsibly resume work and moving the country forward,” said Patricia Velvisi, a 52-year-old worker.On Tuesday, the director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said the COVID-19 pandemic and associated shutdown had provoked an unprecedented mental health crisis due to stress and drug and alcohol use.  Argentina confirmed 6,840 new cases of coronavirus and 172 new deaths on Tuesday, taking it simultaneously over the 300,000 case and 6,000 death threshold as the Latin nation battles a surge of contagions in recent weeks.The country’s health ministry reported a total of 305,966 cases and 6,048 deaths.Dr Luis Camera, a member of the Argentine government’s health advisory group, said while cases, intensive care admissions and hospital bed occupancy rates were not still climbing, they had settled at an unsustainable level.last_img read more

Biden out on his own as Trump hospitalized for COVID-19

first_imgTopics : “We’re going to make sure that things work out,” he said, adding that First Lady Melania Trump — who also contracted the virus — was “doing very well.”Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump was receiving the anti-viral drug remdesivir following consultation with specialists. The president was “not requiring any supplemental oxygen,” she said in a statement late Friday.Earlier, she said that medical experts recommended Trump work from the presidential offices at Walter Reed “for the next few days.”The hospitalization indicated an intense effort to make sure the president’s reportedly “mild” symptoms do not deteriorate. The development also highlighted the uncharted waters for the US election on November 3, with Trump — who is well behind his Democratic opponent Joe Biden in the polls — having to freeze much of his campaign.At first, aides gave rosy assessments, with Trump’s chief of staff saying the president, 74, had only mild symptoms, was in “good spirits” and feeling “very energetic.”But later Friday White House physician Sean Conley said Trump received a single dose of Regeneron’s antibody cocktail, a treatment not yet approved by regulators.”He’s being evaluated by a team of experts, and together we’ll be making recommendations to the President and First Lady in regards to next best steps,” Conley wrote.The president’s son Donald Trump Jr told Fox News his father was “obviously taking it very seriously, but he’s a fighter.”Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden (L) greets local labor leaders ahead of a virtual event at the union’s state headquarters on Labor Day, September 07, 2020 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Biden’s campaign has organized more virtual events, engaging with supporters using video teleconferencing. (Getty Images/AFP /Chip Somodevilla)Biden out on his own Trump’s illness upended the White House race, with Biden suddenly finding himself alone on the campaign trail — and able to argue that his more cautious approach to Covid-19 had been vindicated.Biden has made Trump’s frequent downplaying of the pandemic and mixed messaging on mask-wearing a central campaign theme, while Trump has tried to shift the narrative to areas where he feels stronger, like the economy.The former vice president, who stood in close proximity to Trump for 90 minutes during their ill-tempered first debate Tuesday, announced that he and his wife Jill tested negative Friday.Underlining his sudden advantage in the bitter race, Biden, 77, traveled to Grand Rapids, Michigan, going ahead with a previously scheduled campaign stop.Biden said he was praying for Trump and his family, and his campaign announced it would take down all negative ads.However, Biden also reminded voters that he has pushed consistently for taking seriously the coronavirus, which has killed more than 208,000 Americans, unlike his opponent who has mocked the Democrat for his rigorous use of masks.”Be patriotic,” Biden told supporters in Michigan through a blue surgical mask. “It’s not about being a tough guy. It’s about doing your part.”Campaign grounded Trump’s shock diagnosis was a huge blow to his reelection effort, triggering a freeze on plans to barnstorm the country in an attempt to catch up in the polls.The Trump campaign said all planned events involving the president were either being postponed or going virtual — starting with the cancellation of a Florida rally Friday, one Saturday in Wisconsin and others in western states like Arizona next week.Even the second Trump-Biden debate, scheduled for October 15, is now in some doubt.Rallies are such a key part of the Trump brand that his sudden inability to travel leaves the campaign scrambling to reinvent its strategy. In addition, Trump has made his argument that coronavirus dangers are overblown a central plank of his reelection platform.Hope Hicks, an advisor to US President Donald Trump walks to Air Force One to depart Washington with the president and other staff on campaign travel to Minnesota from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, US September 30, 2020. (Reuters/Leah Millis )Contact tracing News of Trump’s infection came after one of his closest advisors, Hope Hicks, tested positive — sparking fears of a cluster of cases emanating from the heart of the White House.Trump met with dozens of people through the week and reportedly went to a fundraiser in New Jersey after it was known that Hicks had contracted the virus.The White House said it was carrying out contact tracing, while Melania Trump’s spokeswoman said the couple’s 14-year-old son Barron had tested negative.Vice President Mike Pence and other senior figures tested negative. The White House said Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett was negative too.Former White House top aid Kellyanne Conway, however, announced late Friday she had tested positive with “mild” symptoms.Trump’s campaign manager, 42-year-old Bill Stepien, said he had tested positive, US media reported, and was in quarantine with mild symptoms.In his 70s and technically obese, the president is in a higher-risk category.Daniel Griffin, an infectious disease specialist, told AFP Trump had an estimated 20 percent chance of developing severe disease requiring oxygenation.As the news rattled global stock markets, leaders including Germany’s Angela Merkel, Britain’s Boris Johnson, and Russia’s Vladimir Putin wished the president and first lady a speedy recovery.Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama noted the US is “in the midst of a big political fight” but set aside the bitter election battle to extend “best wishes” to the first family.center_img President Donald Trump was hospitalized Friday and given an experimental Covid-19 treatment, but said he was “well,” following bombshell news he had contracted the virus, knocking him off the campaign trail a month from the US election.After having not been seen in public since the shock announcement, the president walked out of the White House Friday evening, wearing a mask, and flew by helicopter to the Walter Reed military hospital outside Washington.In an 18-second video recorded inside the White House and released on Twitter, Trump broke his silence, saying he was being hospitalized but “I think I’m doing very well.”last_img read more

Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang booked for Black Panther celebration

first_img Comment Advertisement Advertisement (Picture: REX)Aubameyang promised last week he had a new celebration in the works and had planned to show it off against Manchester United.But the forward could not find the mask when he converted his penalty against United last Sunday.There were no such issues against Rennes, as Aubameyang quickly found his bag and celebrated his 22nd goal of the season.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man City The striker doing the Wakanda salute (Picture: BT Sport)Black Panther was last year’s blockbuster superhero movie and was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. Wakanda is the fictional African country in the film that Black Panther hails from.ADVERTISEMENTThe goal was Aubameyang’s second of the game as the Gabon international inspired Arsenal to a fantastic comeback against the French side.AdvertisementAdvertisementSead Kolasinac laid it on a plate for Aubameyang in the 72nd minute as Arsenal overturned a 3-1 deficit from the first leg to lead 4-3 on aggregate.From Batman to Black Panther! Aubameyang grabs his second and celebrates. The Gunners have one foot in the Endgame.🙅🏾‍♂️ Wakanda Forever 🙅🏾‍♂️ pic.twitter.com/lUoc4Ojyu8— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 14, 2019 Black Panther was last year’s blockbuster superhero movie (Picture: BT Sport) Aubameyang celebrates his second goal (Picture: Rex Features)Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was booked for breaking out a new masked celebration for Arsenal on Thursday night in the Europa League.The striker scored Arsenal’s third against Rennes at the Emirates, and grabbed a Black Panther mask he had stowed behind the goal.Aubameyang put on the mask and celebrated in front of the home fans with the Wakanda salute. Aubameyang collected the mask from behind the goal (Picture: BT Sport) Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang booked for Black Panther celebration (Picture: Rex Features) Coral BarryThursday 14 Mar 2019 9:49 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link4.9kShareslast_img read more

Why Manchester United should break Liverpool’s transfer record to sign Matthijs De Ligt

first_imgWhy Manchester United should break Liverpool’s transfer record to sign Matthijs De Ligt Matthijs De Ligt impressed for Ajax against during the 2017 Europa League final, despite his side’s 2-0 defeat (Getty Images)It is difficult to disagree with that assertion given how much De Ligt has already crammed into his burgeoning career. That he was appointed Ajax’s club captain last summer when only 18 suggests that he is mature his years both on and off the pitch.Daley’s dad Danny Blind saw fit to call him into the Dutch national team set up at 17 with De Ligt going on to become his country’s youngest debutant in 86 years. Last year, he followed in Kylian Mbappe’s footsteps by being named Europe’s ‘Golden Boy’.A testament to how influential he has been for Ajax, meanwhile, is that since the start of the 2017-18 season, he has failed to start in only two of their 62 Eredivisie matches, while this season he ranks top in their squad for clearances (108), shots blocked (23) and aerial duels (107). He has also been dribbled past just 11 times in 27 league games.AdvertisementThose statistics point to a defender adept at the basics of his role but as someone schooled in Ajax’s outstanding academy set up since he was nine years old, De Ligt is technically excellent and accomplished at bringing the ball out confidently from the back, as a 90% pass accuracy rate hints at.United aren’t exactly short of central defenders, but it is the one key area in their squad in which they are lacking a player who genuinely belongs in the top bracket. David De Gea and Paul Pogba are amongst the world’s best in their positions, while Marcus Rashford is firmly on the right track to becoming an outstanding centre forward.Not since the days of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic have United possessed a truly elite centre-back. Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have all made improvements under Solskjaer but it is debatable that any of them will ever be considered world-class. CommentShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitter73Shares By Oliver Young-MylesFriday 5 Apr 2019 10:00 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link73Shares De Ligt has demonstrated his leadership qualities this season with Ajax currently second in the Eredivisie (Getty Images)De Ligt, like Rashford, is a player for the here and now as much as the future. If United were to pay Van Dijk money to lure him away from Ajax, they would be acquiring a player who could slot into their team immediately and stay there for a decade or more, perhaps even becoming club captain at some point.Following reports that United are set for another summer of expensive shopping, critics have questioned the wisdom in handing Solskajer a bag full of cash and buying whoever he pleases citing the failures of his predecessors – Messrs Moyes, Van Gaal and Mourinho – in the transfer market despite investing heavily.AdvertisementThere is some wisdom to that argument considering many of the post-Fergie era signings have failed to hit the mark but as Liverpool have shown with Van Dijk and others, spending big money is an excellent way to progress so long as the players in question are the right fit.It is impossible to say definitively that De Ligt could have a similarly transformative impact on United’s defence as Van Dijk has for Liverpool but considering his talent and room for progression, he surely has as big a chance of doing so as anyone else.At just 19, De Ligt isn’t too far behind the leading defenders in world football already and should he maintain his development, he could emulate his teammate Van Dijk in becoming one of the very best.More: Manchester United FCRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starNew Manchester United signing Facundo Pellistri responds to Edinson Cavani praiseEx-Man Utd coach blasts Ed Woodward for two key transfer errorsBoris Johnson rejects Marcus Rashford’s plea to extend free school meals It didn’t take long for Manchester United fans to come up with a catchy refrain in homage to their popular former player turned manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the Norwegian’s immediate impact in the dugout.With each passing win, the chant ‘Ole’s at the wheel’ grew increasingly louder around Old Trafford and at other grounds up and down the country, but that wave optimism has subsided somewhat following a few below-par defeats. Suddenly, the wheels look to be in danger of coming off.United have been beaten three times in their previous four fixtures, losing twice to Wolves at Molineux as well against Arsenal at the Emirates. Those results have offered some perspective; for all the progress that the team have made under Solskjaer, there remains plenty of work still to be done.AdvertisementAdvertisementAccording to reports, Solskjaer is keen to add five new players in the summer, with as many as six members of the current first-team squad expected to move on to pastures new. Not for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, it is shaping up to be a pivotal summer for the club.ADVERTISEMENT Virgil Van Dijk and Matthijs De Ligt have formed an impressive partnership for the Dutch national team (Getty Images)If they were merely interested parties before, Europe’s gaggle of super-clubs are now likely to be falling over themselves in their pursuit of De Ligt this summer given the manner in which he has expertly steered an exhilarating Ajax side beyond Real Madrid and into the Champions League quarter-finals.Barcelona, who have already snapped up his club and international colleague Frenkie De Jong in a deal worth £68m, are said to be particularly keen on landing him as they look for a long-term replacement for Gerard Pique, while Liverpool, naturally given the Van Dijk link, have also been mentioned as a possible destination.AdvertisementAdvertisementBut with Solskjaer reportedly planning on signing at least one central defender this summer, Manchester United will also surely be in the mix. Other more stablished names such as Kalidou Koulibaly, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire and Toby Alderweireld have all been touted as possible targets.The obvious difference between De Ligt and that quartet of defenders is his relative lack of experience, however, Jesper Olsen, who represented both Ajax and Manchester United during his playing career, does not think that should count against the Dutchman.Speaking to Omnisport, Olsen said: ‘No doubt about it [he could play for United]. Playing at Ajax, you have to be a quality player. So, of course, he could [play for United], no doubt about it. He could fit into any top team at the moment.’ Manchester United’s season has hit a speed bump in recent weeks (Getty Images)One of the positions that Solskjaer has identified as an area requiring strengthening is at centre-back. Liverpool’s £75m capture of Virgil Van Dijk 15 months ago has proven to be a game-changer for them and United need someone of a similar ilk. Van Dijk’s international partner Matthijs De Ligt, is one who would fit the bill.Following a few years in the international wilderness, the Netherlands appears to be on the right track once more having reached this summer’s inaugural Nations League finals and pivotal to their renaissance has been the presence of Van Dijk and De Ligt at the heart of their defence.De Ligt has no doubt benefited from playing alongside arguably the best central defender in world football right now, but the 19-year-old has developed just fine away from Van Dijk with his club Ajax where he is already the captain and a veteran of over a century of appearances.Having broken into Ajax’s regular side two seasons ago, establishing himself alongside Tottenham’s Davinson Sanchez during the 2016-17 season run-in and impressing in the Europa League final defeat to United in Stockholm, De Ligt has been the radar of big clubs since his formative first steps in the professional game. 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