Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has confirmed that La Blaugrana are interested in signing Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt this summer, amid interest from the likes of Manchester City and Juventus.
The centre-back, who already captains his club at the tender age of 19, is set to be the subject of a bidding war this summer, as Europe’s elite sides prepare to scrap to sign the talented Dutchman. The powerful defender already has 13 caps for the Netherlands’ senior national team, and has won the European Golden Boy award for 2018.
Discussing the possibility of his club signing the prodigious talent, via Football Espana, Bartomeu said: “We have followed de Ligt for a while. It’s true he’s a player we like, but Barça also have other important players in the squad. We will look at more things from March or April. We’re delighted to watch him play and admire him, but there’s nothing more at the moment.”
Barça signed midfielder Frenkie de Jong from Ajax for an eye-watering €86m in the January transfer window (before loaning him back to the Dutch side), which could be a key factor in de Ligt’s decision to move to the Camp Nou. The Catalan giants are clearly looking to build for the future, and the dynamic duo have the potential to be Barcelona stars for years to come.
The news of Barcelona’s interest will certainly come as a blow to interested Premier League sides. Manchester City are certain to invest in the summer transfer window, while Arsenal have also been touted as a potential destination for de Ligt, given Ajax’s close links with the club given Marc Overmars and Denis Bergkamp’s ties with both sides.
In other news, ESPN pundit Paul Mariner has claimed that Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino would be the ideal replacement for Luis Suárez at Barcelona. The former England international said that the Brazilian ace’s link-up play would make him an ideal fit for Barça’s style of play, and that he could succeed where Philippe Coutinho has so far struggled to impress.