Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt, who is also a target for La Liga champions Barcelona, has reportedly snubbed interest from Manchester United.
According to an exclusive report by Daily Star, Manchester United stand no chance of signing Dutch prodigy Matthijs de Ligt in the summer transfer window. The Ajax captain is also the subject of interest from Barcelona, but is set to reject a £60 million move to the Premier League heavyweights.
Matthijs de Ligt has generated quite a buzz since breaking into the first-team setup at Ajax aged just 17. In the same season, the teenage prodigy helped the Dutch outfit reach the UEFA Europa League final, where they lost out to Manchester United. Since then though, he has not looked back.
Now a mainstay for both club and country, de Ligt has even been trusted with the responsibility of being the Ajax captain despite the fact that he is still in his teens. The player though, has embraced the role and led Ajax by example, with the Eredivisie club set to play for a place in the UEFA Champions League final on Wednesday.
As far as the hype around the promising defender is concerned, it is hardly surprising that de Ligt has piqued the interest of a number of top clubs across Europe. Two such suitors are Manchester United and Barcelona.
Manchester United’s struggles in defence have been well-documented, so much so that Jose Mourinho has been vindicated in his plea for a top class centre-back last summer. With only Victor Lindelof managing to remain consistent at the heart of the defence over the course of this season, the need for a new central defender cannot be stressed enough.
Barcelona, on the other hand, are stocked with central defensive options. But, beyond Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet, there is a lack of assuring options, for one reason or another. Samuel Umtiti, who is another centre-back that has been linked with Manchester United, has missed a major chunk of the last two seasons due to a number of injuries.
Apart from Umtiti, Thomas Vermaelen is only seen as a backup, while Jean-Clair Todibo has a long way to go before he manages to establish himself as a regular. Having said that, Todibo is primed to be the player who will succeed Pique, which makes the interest from Barcelona in de Ligt somewhat perplexing.
Nevertheless, it looks like Barcelona will indeed pursue a move for the 19-year-old, with Josep Maria Bartomeu admitting to the club’s interest in him. The Catalans have now received a major boost in the race to sign de Ligt, who has rejected Manchester United’s advances despite the fact that he has a £250,000-a-week deal on his table.
The Dutch star though, is of the opinion that United are not as attractive a proposition as they once were, suggested by the fact that they have missed out on Champions League football for next season. In contrast, Barcelona have won the La Liga title and will have Champions League football on offer.
It now remains to be seen if Barcelona can take advantage of this latest development by signing de Ligt. As far as Manchester United are concerned, they will have to look elsewhere for defensive reinforcements.