Barcelona are reportedly interested in and are plotting a shock January deal for Ajax wonderkid Matthijs De Ligt.
According to Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona are looking to secure their future at the back and are showing interest in AFC Ajax wonderkid Matthijs De Ligt. The Dutch prodigy has started the season well and finds himself on the radar of one of the biggest clubs in the world as the Catalans eye a January transfer.
According to the report, Barcelona sporting director Robert Fernandez is keeping a keen eye on De Ligt’s progress at Ajax, with RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano the other name mentioned as a viable target.
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With Barcelona lacking young centre-backs in their first-team squad – Yerry Mina and Marlon Santos being the only ones, Pep Segura and the Barcelona board are convinced they need fundamental investment in building a youth core at Nou Camp.
Matthijs De Ligt has truly taken – not just the Eredivise but the entire Europe by storm. Joining Ajax in 2009, the player climbed up the ladder of youth levels with exorbitant pace and found himself on the brink of the firs team in the 2016-17 season.
And as the opportunity presented itself, the youngster grabbed it with both hands, making 20 first team appearances in the entire season. De Ligt earned exemplary reviews for his performances in the UEFA Europa League in particular.
The player was linked to various clubs in the summer, with none converting it into a real offer. De Ligt has started the present season strongly, featuring in every Eredivisie game for the Dutch giants thus far.
With De Ligt an established starter at Ajax at the age of 18, Barcelona’s interest has also heightened. The Catalans had been interested in Davinson Sanchez, who moved to Tottenham in the summer. Hence, the current La Liga leaders have been forced to look at other burgeoning prospects.
Barcelona have Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti as the only current options at the heart of defence, with Marlon Santos and Yerry Mina seen as the future. Javier Mascherano and Thomas Vermaelen are both in the twilight years of their footballing careers while Pique himself has also crossed the 30 age barrier.
The Catalan club may decide to hold off until the summer of 2018 to pursue De Ligt as well. Upamecano is also a viable target but is likely to command a higher fee and greater competition from other clubs. For now, they continue to monitor the 18-year-old as he continues to produce displays well beyond his age.