Barcelona targeting Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt

Aditya Devavrat 17:48 11/10/2018
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Matthijs de Ligt

Barcelona have begun laying the groundwork for a bid for Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt, according to Mundo Deportivo.

The 19-year-old Dutch international has been on Barca’s radar for a long time, having consolidated his spot as Ajax’s starting centre-back during the 2016/17 season, which culminated with an appearance in the Europa League final against Manchester United.

De Ligt has reportedly already informed the Catalan club of his desire to join them, and the club are said to be equally impressed by the young Dutchman.

Midfielder Frenkie de Jong, De Ligt’s team-mate for both club and country, has also been a long-term target for Barcelona. But the club are said to be prioritising signing the defender, given Gerard Pique’s struggles to start this season.

De Ligt is represented by Mino Raiola, who is also the agent of rumoured Barca target Paul Pogba, and the controversial figure will be central in any transfer negotiations between Ajax and the La Liga champions.

The market for centre-backs has also been inflated by the transfer of De Ligt’s fellow Dutch defender, for whom Liverpool paid Southampton £75 million in January, and the price may become a sticking point for Barcelona.

However, their need for defensive reinforcements may force their hand.

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