Liverpool have re-entered the race for Dutch center-half Matthijs de Ligt after doubts were cast over a move to Manchester United for the Ajax defender.
Liverpool are set to embark into an active transfer market after their success on the pitch last season. German publication Bild are now reporting the Merseysiders might be looking at Ajax sensation Matthijs de Ligt to boost their backline, although their current options have been top-notch in the past season.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp wants the club to spend wisely and smartly, similar to their outlay last season. Goalkeeper Alisson Becker, who was the man of the match during Liverpool’s win over Tottenham in the Champions League final, joined the side from Roma in a £65 million deal. Before that, Virgil van Dijk joined in a £75 million deal, and both have been successes at Anfield.
Liverpool want to mount a double challenge next season with the idea being to retain the Champions League and go one level up in their pursuit of the Premier League. The Reds lost out to Manchester City in the past season by a single point, and Klopp believes the right signings could help them mount a challenge next season.
Their pursuit of top players has taken them to Netherlands with Ajax’s hot property de Ligt firmly in their sights. But the quest won’t be simple as a host of other big clubs are intently interested in the Dutchman. Manchester United are understood to be Liverpool’s most significant threat from the Premier League, but there are the likes of Barcelona, PSG and now Real Madrid who have entered the race.
Barcelona, in particular, were thought to be the clear favourites to sign de Ligt after signing Ajax teammate Frenkie de Jong back in January. Barcelona were willing to pay a similar fee for de Ligt, meaning a €75 million transfer. But with more clubs interested and Barcelona no longer the clear favourites for the player, the price has slightly gone up to around €90 million.
Liverpool could certainly afford to pay such a fee considering they are not in the market for a squad overhaul or even linked with players for multiple positions. The Reds aim to keep together the current squad and only add what they deem top quality. De Ligt certainly fits that bill, but will he want to join international teammate van Dijk and work under Klopp remains a question.
Obviously, de Ligt’s performances last season that helped reach Ajax the Champions League semi-final have been tremendous, and he would be a brilliant addition to any side. If he decides to move to Spain or France, then Liverpool will likely have to look elsewhere. But if he does choose on England as his destination, then Liverpool have more of a probability to sign him ahead of Manchester United.