Barcelona and Real Madrid have reportedly been handed a major boost in pursuit of Matthijs de Ligt, with Mino Raiola hinting at a summer move.

In an interview with NOS, Mino Raiola has claimed that Matthijs de Ligt is set to take the “next step” in his career by leaving Juventus in next summer’s transfer window. And the 22-year-old defender could join Barcelona or Real Madrid, as suggested by his agent.

Matthijs de Ligt has been widely regarded as one of the most promising young defenders in Europe since he broke into the first-team setup at Ajax, aged just 17. The Dutch defender also embraced the role of club captaincy at the Johan Cruijff ArenA while still in his teens. And pundits suggested that he could take his career to the next level when he joined Juventus in July 2019.

However, the transfer has not worked out as envisioned. While the 22-year-old has made nearly 100 appearances for Juventus, he is yet to establish himself as a firm first-choice centre-back and has had to share game-time with Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini. And according to recent reports, de Ligt’s frustrations have boiled over, with a move to Barcelona or Real Madrid being mooted.

Now, de Ligt’s agent Mino Raiola has come forward to admit that de Ligt is frustrated at Juventus and could seek a summer departure from the Serie A club. And in an interview with NOS, Raiola has suggested that Barcelona and Real Madrid could be in contention to sign the Dutch defender.

“I think we all know which clubs to mention for Matthijs de Ligt as ‘next step’, and with all due respect, not clubs like Fortuna Dusseldorf. We will see this summer. Premier League? It can be Barcelona too, or Real Madrid or Paris Saint-Germain.”

The 22-year-old has been heavily linked with Barcelona, with the Blaugrana still hard in search of a centre-back despite signing one in Eric Garcia this past summer. With Garcia failing to impress in his short stint with Barcelona and Gerard Pique in the twilight of his career, the interest in de Ligt is understandable, especially with Samuel Umtiti deemed surplus to requirements.

On the other hand, Real Madrid’s eagerness to sign de Ligt can be explained by their decision to replace Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane with just David Alaba. With the backup options not inspiring much confidence, it behoves Real Madrid to sign a centre-back like de Ligt. However, it will be interesting to see if Barcelona and Real Madrid launch the offensive for the 22-year-old next summer, when his stint with Serie A giants Juventus could end.

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