Coming off of a game-winning and Champions League-quarterfinal clinching header, Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt might be finalizing a move on where he will spend the next stage of his career.
Like Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong did earlier this year, the star center back looks like he will make a move to FC Barcelona according to ESPN FC.
Barcelona are close to reaching an agreement to sign defender Matthijs de Ligt from Ajax, club sources have told ESPN FC. The La Liga leaders have the situation “under control,” according to the sources, and not getting the deal over the line now would provide similar levels of disappointment to last summer when they were turned down by Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann at the last minute.
Juventus and Bayern Munich are also keen on De Ligt but one source has said the Netherlands international “only wants to listen to Barcelona.” The same source added that “as was the case with Frenkie de Jong, Ajax will warn [Barca] if any other clubs make a serious move for [De Ligt].”
As far as the rumored fee for De Ligt, ESPN FC expects the sum to be approximately €80m.
The club are expecting to pay somewhere close to €80m to get the deal over the line, which sources have said is possible even though they have to be careful with how they manage their finances this summer.
De Ligt’s talent has never been an issue, but his ability to perform on a big stage was cemented yesterday in leading Ajax over Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus.
AJAX TAKE THE LEAD! DE LIGT!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) April 16, 2019
Ronaldo and Juventus need TWO to cancel out the visitors' away goals advantage. (via @brlive) pic.twitter.com/MQFaemZYZM
AS issued its own — less definite — version of the report, but did verify that Barca is in “the best place place to sign (De Ligt).”
De Ligt’s fine header in Turin sealed Ajax’s qualification for the Champions League semifinals at the expense of Juventus on Tuesday. His displays in the tournament this term have only served to make his departure from Amsterdam all the more of a certainty, with the Italians one of a long list of suitors also featuring Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
With Atletico Madrid’s Lucas Hernandez and VfB Stuttgart’s Benjamin Pavard already inked to deals, De Ligt may not have been considered a necessity at this stage for Bayern, but the 19-year-old’s quality and leadership make him hard for any team to pass up.