Barcelona president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, has given the green light for club executives to step up their chase for Ajax defender, Matthijs de Ligt.
The Blaugrana have already agreed on a deal to sign Ajax’s midfield starlet, Frenkie de Jong, for a reported £75m fee at the end of the season and now it would appear they are going back to the Amsterdam giants to take another of their young talents.
Are Barcelona targeting Ajax once again? Five key things to know…
- Barcelona and Ajax have had a strong relationship dating back to Johan Cruyff’s distinguished times at both clubs.
- Other players to have turned out for both European giants include Marc Overmars and Patrick Kluivert.
- Barca have agreed a £75m deal to sign Frenkie de Jong at the end of the season.
- Ajax stopper, Andre Onana, has also been linked with a return to the Catalan giants, having come through the La Masia academy.
- Now, Barca president, Bartomeu, appears to have given the green light in pursuing defender, Matthijs de Ligt, who has previously been linked with Man Utd.
De Ligt, 19, has established himself as one of the most promising ball-playing defenders in Europe over the past two seasons and continued his impressive rise with an 87% pass completion rate during Ajax’s 4-1 Champions League win over Real Madrid.
And he could now join his compatriot in a summer move to the Catalan club, as eluded to by Bartomeu.
“(The possible signing of Ligt) We have to speak from March, when we make decisions, but his name will be on the table for sure,” he said on Wednesday.
Should Barcelona want to sign De Ligt, they will likely face competition from the likes of Juventus and Manchester United, with former Ajax man, John van Loen, advising him to join the latter back in January.
“I think Manchester United is perfect for De Ligt,” he said. “I hope De Ligt rejects Juventus’ offer – Italian football does not suit him and the Premier League is much better and stronger.”
Barca are currently seven points clear at the top La Liga, but with Atletico Madrid (17), Valencia (21) and Getafe (23) all boasting better defensive records so far for goals conceded, they are keen to bolster a defence which includes a 32-year-old Gerard Pique and the injury-prone Samuel Umtiti.
Overmars: I don’t know what De Ligt will do
One player to have experienced success with both Ajax and Barcelona is former winger, Marc Overmars, who now takes up a director of football role at the Amsterdam Arena.
Overmars played 189 games for Ajax and 141 times for Barca either side of his spell with Arsenal and developed a love for both clubs, although even he admits he’s not sure what De Ligt will do at the end of this season.
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“I love Barcelona but I do not know what he (De Ligt) will do,” Overmars said prior to Ajax’s win over Real Madrid.
“He is incredible in what he brings us, to be our central defender and captain at his age, he has a huge future.”