Transfer news

Matthijs de Ligt edges closer to Barcelona

Matthijs de Ligt after a performance for Ajax / GABRIEL BOUYS/GETTY IMAGES

After months of speculation, Ajax captain, Matthijs de Ligt, has edged closer to a move to his best friend, Frenkie de Jong’s coming club, FC Barcelona.

As Barcelona look to prepare for the upcoming season, which sees Ernesto Valverde in charge, Ajax starlet Frenkie de Jong will join in the summer, when the season ends, as Barcelona continue to look out for a young prolific striker to fill the boots of Luis Suárez, and provide him rest, as he recently turned 32.

Meanwhile, the defense is also a position Barcelona wants to strengthen, and for a long time, Matthijs de Ligt’s name has been on the table, as confirmed by president Josép Maria Bartomeu midweek.

The Dutch defender put in an amazing performance midweek against Real Madrid, in a miraculous game that saw Ajax knock out Real Madrid after turning around the 2-1 deficit at the Johan Cruijff ArenA, to a 4-1 win at the Bernabéu.

The game had the sporting director of the Catalan club, Ramon Planés, who arrived from Getafe in the summer, give his final OK to Barcelona to go through with the deal, and the heads of Barcelona are very much interested in getting the Dutch man to pair up with his best friend, which could be key to both of them settling in.

Behind the scenes, things have been moving, and talks have been held. Sources close to Barcelona have told SPORT that the economical aspect of the transfer won’t be a problem, and that the Club has sufficient funds to close and secure the signing.

Meanwhile, De Ligt is not afraid to fight for minutes to keep growing, and the club has also told him that he’ll become an important player in the future, something his willingness to fight for minutes would guarantee in the coming years, as Gerard Piqué’s reign in defense edges closer to its end.

The reason for Matthijs de Ligt initially backing down on moving to the Catalan Club was his fear of a lack of playing time given Umtiti and Lenglet being highly talented and having a high status at the club. However, with the recent insistence from the sporting management of Barça, the situation has changed, and it’s made him rethink his future, as he edges closer to Barcelona.

The Catalan club want to close his signing as soon as possible, as they know other clubs are out for him, and will do everything in their power to secure the signing of the 19-year-old Ajax captain.

It’ll definitely be interesting to see how the deal pans out, but I could definitely see him putting pen to paper, and joining Barcelona in the summer.

Barcelona’s next European test will be against Lyon on March 13, where they’ll look to knock Lyon out after the first encounter at the Groupama Stadium ended goalless.

The next league game, however, is against Rayo Vallecano this coming Saturday, where rotation definitely could be used by Ernesto Valverde, as he looks to have a fresh Gala XI for the Champions League game midweek, as Barcelona look to celebrate a triplete come the end of the season.