Manchester United have not given up in their pursuit of Matthijs De Ligt despite Barcelona’s overtures.
The 19-year-old has emerged as one of European football’s most-sought after defenders after an incredible season with the Dutch champions, and he is widely believed to be hoping to join Barcelona, along with teammate Frenkie De Jong.
Barca remain favourites to sign the Dutchman, but the Daily Telegraph say United are still ‘trying to scupper the move’.
They feel they could offer De Ligt regular football instantly, and ‘have made it clear they would like to build a new look defence around the most coveted teenager in Europe’. But there are ‘question marks’ as to whether he would slot straight into Barca’s first team or be a substitute.
De Ligt is said to have questioned whether moving to Spain ‘was the best option for him’ before the first leg of Ajax’s Champions League semi-final defeat to Tottenham in April.
Many feel that his desire ‘to turn himself into the best defender in the world’ would be better serviced in England, where he could become ‘a more complete defender’ with ‘the faster, more physical style’ of play.
De Ligt is also ‘well aware of the fact’ that Gerard Pique, who he would eventually replace at the Nou Camp, ‘spent several years at United and admitted he benefited hugely from his time in England, before returning to Spain’.
Finally, the ‘major rebuilding project’ at Old Trafford is said to ‘appeal’ to De Ligt, who was central to a similar period at Ajax.
The report adds that De Ligt will make his final decision ‘in the coming days’.