Ajax Amsterdam, Barcelona, Clubs, Matthijs de Ligt, Spanish Primera División, Story, Transfers

Raf Honigstein shares the latest on Matthijs de Ligt’s future after ESPN FC sources reported PSG have become the favourites to land the Ajax star.
As the tug of war for Matthijs de Ligt continues, ESPN FC’s Gab Marcotti weighs in on Barcelona and Man United’s chances of landing the young Dutch star.

Barcelona are ready to make a final push to sign Ajax centre-back Matthijs de Ligt this week by re-opening talks with his agent Mino Raiola, sources have told ESPN FC.

Barca thought they had an agreement in place with De Ligt in March, but have seen their offer bettered by clubs including Paris Saint-Germain, who believe they are leading the race.

Juventus, Liverpool and Manchester United have also been linked with De Ligt, but a source close to Bayern Munich told ESPN FC last week that the Bundesliga giants have dropped their interest.

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Barca have refused to budge on their initial offer amid new demands from De Ligt and Raiola, and talks have stalled in recent weeks.

But a source said the club would re-establish contact with Raiola this week because they are aware that PSG are best placed to sign the Netherlands international.

The source refused to say whether Barca would increase their offer. Until now, they have been reluctant to pay De Ligt more than his Ajax teammate Frenkie de Jong, who joins next month.

Barca already have an agreement in place with Ajax should they manage to convince De Ligt to move to the Camp Nou for around €80m. 

The saga has parallels with their move for De Jong in January. At one point, they thought they had missed out on the midfielder to PSG or Manchester City, but managed to convince him to join.

President Josep Maria Bartomeu travelled to Amsterdam to show De Jong how much the club wanted him and, according to sources, showed him messages from Neymar in which the Brazil star expressed regret at leaving Barca for PSG.

Sources did not confirm whether a delegation would make a similar trip as they try to convince De Ligt that Barcelona is the best place for him to continue his development.

De Ligt, meanwhile, said he had still not made his mind up about where he will play next season after Netherlands lost to Portugal in the UEFA Nations League final on Sunday.

He revealed that Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo had asked him to join him at Juventus next season when the two spoke at the final whistle.

“So soon after the game, you are not at all concerned with it. You are disappointed that you have lost and that is the only thing you are thinking about,” he told NOS television.

“The transfer period starts in a while, so I will first go on a nice vacation and rest. I will let it happen, and then I will see.”

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