Spanish football expert Guillem Balague has confirmed Manchester United made an unsuccessful approach for Ajax and Netherlands defender Matthjis de Ligt.
The 19-year-old, who captains his boyhood club, played against Man United in the Europa League final aged just 17, producing an impressive display alongside Davinson Sanchez, now at Tottenham Hotspur.
He has naturally attracted a number of top clubs. Ajax, who sold Frenkie de Jong to Barcelona earlier this season, also accept that De Ligt will be next off the club’s youth production line to join a big club.
And according to Balague, although United made an approach for De Ligt, the defender has decided on moving to the Nou Camp.
Balague: “Matthijs De Ligt has had conversations with the club (United), although he looks to be favouring a move to Barcelona. Ajax have already made it clear that they will not be auctioning the player but rather let him go where he would prefer to play.” #mufc [Football Index]
— United Xtra (@utdxtra) April 4, 2019
In case you did not know, Ajax and Barcelona recently signed an agreement stipulating that Barcelona get first pick of Ajax’s finest academy talents, and in return Ajax receives players from Barcelona who are not quite ready for the first team in La Liga.
Expressed differently, Barcelona have established a hegemony over Ajax’s brightest exports – a blow for the rest of Europe.
The only way United could dream of pinching De Ligt, one of the best defenders in the world already, would be through out-muscling Barcelona financially. That won’t be easy.