Barcelona may have been handed a boost in their pursuit of Matthijs de Ligt as the defender reportedly is keen on making the switch to Camp Nou from Juventus.
According to a report from Catalunya Radio, Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt is feeling unsettled at the Serie A club and is seeking a summer transfer to La Liga giants Barcelona, who have been long-term suitors of the Dutchman.
Matthijs de Ligt came through the youth ranks at AFC Ajax and made huge waves when he became the first-team captain in his teens and led the team to a semi-final run in the UEFA Champions League during the 2018/19 season. The following summer saw clubs across Europe, including Barcelona, battle it out for his signing but the defender chose to sign for Juventus instead.
In his two years at the club, de Ligt has established himself as a regular starter at the Allianz Stadium and has racked up 75 appearances in which he also managed to chip in with five goals. Despite their failure to defend the Serie A crown this season, the 21-year-old emerged as one of Juventus’ better players in the recently-concluded 2020/21 campaign.
However, as per the report, de Ligt is not entirely happy with his situation and is understood to be considering joining Barcelona in the summer, where he would reunite with former Ajax teammate, Frenkie de Jong. This ought to come as music to the ears of the Catalan giants, who have been closely monitoring the 21-year-old’s progress despite having lost out in the race to sign him two years ago.
Indeed, recent reports have indicated that Barcelona retain a strong interest in securing de Ligt’s services, which is very much understandable given the current plight of their defence. Gerard Pique, at 35, is in the final phase of his career and will need to be replaced sooner rather than later, while Samuel Umtiti has endured another injury-riddled campaign.
Having run out of patience with the Frenchman, Barcelona are ready to part ways with him while his compatriot, Clement Lenglet, could also be on the chopping block after a steep decline in his level of performances this season. Such a scenario would leave Barcelona with the inexperienced Ronald Araujo and Oscar Mingueza as the only long-term defensive options.
Eric Garcia is set to arrive on a free transfer from Manchester City, but he, too, is untested at the highest level, leaving the room for Barcelona to secure the signing a proven defender to bolster their backline ahead of the summer transfer window. Thus, de Ligt would be a viable transfer target for the Blaugrana, although any move would be complicated to push through given their financial circumstances.
Barcelona and Juventus do enjoy a strong relationship, though, and worked on a player-exchange deal involving Arthur Melo and Miralem Pjanic last summer. A similar deal could be worked out, especially with de Ligt expressing a desire to make the move to Camp Nou. It remains to be seen if such a move materialises come summer.