Barcelona and Manchester United are reportedly set to battle it out for the signing of Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt in the summer.

According to Calciomercato, Barcelona and Manchester United are among three clubs chasing the signing of Juventus and Netherlands international defender Matthijs de Ligt in the upcoming summer transfer window.

Matthijs de Ligt is widely regarded as one of the best young centre-backs in Europe. Having burst onto the scene at AFC Ajax, the defender secured a big-money move to Juventus in 2019, snubbing several top clubs in the process. However, his time in Turin has been a mixed bag as he has had to share game-time with Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini.

At the same time, Juventus have also deteriorated as a team over the past couple of seasons, which has led to the 22-year-old considering his future at the club. Mino Raiola, de Ligt’s agent, has already hinted that the defender could be on the move at the end of the season, and there seems to be no shortage of interested parties.

Chelsea and Bayern Munich have already been linked with a move for the former Ajax captain. Along with them, Barcelona and Manchester United have also thrown their hats in the ring to secure the services of the Juventus superstar later this year.

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Barcelona will need at least one new central defender in the summer. Question marks remain over the futures of the French duo Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti, while Eric Garcia has not flourished as expected upon returning from Manchester City. With Gerard Pique also not getting any younger, a long-term replacement for the former Spanish international is needed.

So a move for de Ligt makes a lot of sense for Barcelona. However, they will have to battle Manchester United in the pursuit of the Netherlands international. The Red Devils bolstered their defence with Raphael Varane last summer but have continued to leak goals. Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire have hardly been consistent enough, while Eric Bailly has not got a regular run in the side.

The Ivorian could be on his way out in the summer in search of more playing time, while Phil Jones is also likely to leave Old Trafford. A new centre-half will thus be required at Manchester United next season. There have been reports of a contract offer for soon-to-be free agent Niklas Sule, with de Ligt also emerging as a viable transfer target.

With interest in the Dutch international spiking, it could spark a transfer war in the summer. It will be interesting to see who among the aforementioned clubs comes out on top. 

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