Barcelona set to sign De Ligt as Ajax agreement nears – sources
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].”
De Ligt’s agent Mino Raiola is in regular contact with Barca, who value the signing of De Ligt on the same level as the arrival of his Ajax teammate De Jong, who will join the Catalans for €75 million in June.
Barca, though, remain keen to respect the protocol put in place by Ajax, who still have a lot to play for this season and want their players to remain focused on sporting objectives.
Ajax are level with PSV Eindhoven at the top of the Eredivisie table and will face Willem II in the Cup final. They also qualified for the Champions League semifinals for first time since 1997 with De Ligt scoring the winning goal as they knocked out Juventus in Turin.
Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu told ESPN FC in an exclusive interview he knows what will happen with De Ligt in the summer “but now is not the moment to talk about it.”
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.
A number of players will leave Camp Nou in the postseason to fund the moves for De Jong, De Ligt and potentially another forward and a left-back. Sources have told ESPN FC the club are looking to make as much as €300 million in sales.
The Spanish champions are well covered in the centre-back positions. Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet have been in great form this season, while Samuel Umtiti has just returned from injury. Jean-Clair Tobido, a January signing, is also tipped to have a big future in the game.