No go for Spurs and Man City?
In recent months, both Tottenham and Manchester City have been linked with Ajax’s highly rated central defender Matthijs de Ligt.
Just 19, De Ligt has established himself as arguably the top young central defender in Europe.
Now a critical part of Ajax’s first team, De Ligt has been a regular for the Amsterdam side since the 2016/2017 season.
De Ligt and Davinson Sanchez, now of Spurs, partnered each other in the centre of defence for the Europa League final defeat to Manchester United in 2017.
Any links with Premier League sides now look unlikely to come to fruition with Barcelona already in negotiations to sign de Ligt according to a report in Mundo Deportivo today.
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Negotiations between Barcelona and Ajax already under way
Fernando Polo and Sergi Sole report in Mundo Deportivo that De Ligt has already told Ajax he wants to sign for Barcelona.
Whilst Barcelona have also been linked with Ajax midfielder Frenkie De Jong, their move for De Ligt is much more advanced.
Barcelona see De Ligt as the long term replacement for Gerard Pique, and in the short term a young defender that can relieve the Spanish World Cup winner.
De Ligt has been watched by Barcelona “for a long time” and informal discussions have also been held with Ajax.
“De Ligt loves Barcelona”
Polo and Sole add: De Ligt “loves Barcelona, where he has been on vacation, and Barcelona’s style of playing, similar to the one he was brought up on since he was a child in Ajax.”
With Brazilian Arthur impressing at Barcelona since joining from Gremio, the need for De Ligt is now greater than for De Jong.
Mundo Deportivo do not detail when Barcelona will formalise their move for De Ligt. But judging by the confidence of this report, it would be a surprise if it doesn’t happen before the end of the summer 2019 transfer window.
Video evidence of Matthijs de Ligt in action – video
Related: Matthijs de Ligt impresses again.