Barcelona could face fresh competition in pursuit of Matthijs de Ligt, with Arsenal emerging as a potential suitor for the Ajax prodigy.

According to The Mirror, Matthijs de Ligt is the latest name to be included in the list of summer transfer targets at Arsenal. The Gunners are in for a summer overhaul and are now looking to provide competition to Barcelona and others in pursuit of the Ajax teenager.

Matthijs de Ligt has had a brilliant start to his senior career. At 18, de Ligt already has an envious record along with the fact that he has become a full-fledged Netherlands international. The defender has missed just one Eredivisie game, that too due to accruing a yellow-card suspension.

The towering Dutchman though, could soon exit Ajax, with interest coming from all the top clubs in world football – two of them being Barcelona and Arsenal.

Rising reputation. (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)

Rising reputation. (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

Barcelona have been looking at de Ligt for a while now and had even thought of putting in a bid for the youngster in January, only to back out after spending ludicrously to bring Coutinho in from Liverpool. Their interest will now increase all the more, given the fact that the club is in a very realistic danger of losing Samuel Umtiti to either Real Madrid or Manchester United in the summer.

But, Arsenal could now play spoilsport, by joining the race. The Gunners themselves, are looking to freshen up their defensive options come summer. They have been linked with a fair number of up-and-coming defenders. But, only a few can perhaps, boast of having a better reputation than de Ligt currently.

Add to the fact that, while Barcelona might just be de Ligt’s dream, Arsenal could be the perfect stepping stone for the Ajax star. At Arsenal, he would be thrust into the starting lineup straight-away or atleast, far earlier than in Barcelona.

De Ligt would also get more comfortable to the gruesome competition of the top leagues in England, which, along with La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A, are always thought to be two steps above the other leagues, Eredivise included.

One stumbling block might just be de Ligt’s fee, with the report stating that the Arsenal backroom is already concerned that the 18-year-old’s growing reputation will see Ajax place a price tag that will be beyond what they are prepared to pay for a young centre-back.

Barcelona and Arsenal will both be looking to get some business done in the summer. Arsenal might just be the more desperate of the two. But, judging by the report, the ball will be in Barcelona’s court, if Ajax decide to up the ante and place a price tag that rules the Gunners out of the running.

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