A number of reports across the Spanish media today have suggested that Barcelona are inching closer to sealing a deal for Ajax star Matthijs de Ligt.
de Ligt, a 19-year-old central defender, is widely-regarded as one of, if not the finest young talent on the planet.
Despite his tender years, the gifted stopper has already established himself as a regular at both club level with Ajax, and on the international stage with the Netherlands.
de Ligt’s combination of physique, athleticism, aggression, reading of the game and ability with the ball come together to form the package of a complete, modern centre-half.
In fact, so impressive has the Dutchman been during the early years of his fledgling career, that he was last year named both Ajax’s youngest ever captain, and the first ever-defender to win the Golden Boy award.
| GOAL! |
There’s a reason Matthijs de Ligt has plenty of suitors around Europe’s big leagues…
He’s just put Ajax 3-1 up with this… 👇 pic.twitter.com/CEQ8PxCwAx
— Eleven Sports (@ElevenSports_UK) December 2, 2018
de Ligt in-demand
As such, it has come as little surprise to see more-or-less all of European football’s top clubs named as admirers of de Ligt’s talents.
Of the clubs to have been touted as potential destinations for the gifted teen, Barcelona, Manchester City and Juventus have been the most heavily-linked, with the favourites to actually secure a deal for the stopper seemingly changing by the hour.
But, as per a number of updates across the Spanish media today, La Liga giants Barca appear to have taken a clear lead in the race to secure de Ligt’s signature.
First off, the reliable Fernando Polo of Mundo Deportivo reported that the Ajax prodigy had informed agent Mino Raiola that ‘the time to go to a ‘big’ has already arrived’ and, crucially, ‘that his choice is Barcelona.’
This claim was subsequently followed by a further report from fellow MD journalist Miguel Rico, who provided an insight into the Blaugrana’s plans for the summer transfer window.
With Frenkie de Jong’s signature having already been secured for a hefty 75 million Euro plus bonuses, the Spanish champions will reportedly only be able to afford one more high-profile addition at the end of the season.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 23, 2019
And Rico claims that Barca have come to the definitive decision to target de Ligt, rather than Antoine Griezmann, who has once again been linked with a move to the Camp Nou of late.
Adriano Del Monte, meanwhile, has backed Fernando Polo’s report of de Ligt’s sights being firmly set on a Catalunya switch:
— Adriano Del Monte (@adriandelmonte) March 21, 2019