Matthijs de Ligt rumored to follow Frenkie de Jong to FC Barcelona
by Chirag R Bhattad
AFC Ajax’s wonder-kid and captain Matthijs de Ligt is close to signing with FC Barcelona, sources close to the club have told. Barcelona are working hard to sign the Ajax starlet, with their president Josep Maria Bartomeu moving into a key negotiators role for the transfer.
Bartomeu maintains a very good relationship with Ajax and he is confident that Barcelona will be able to free up the funds required to sign de Ligt. De Ligt has his heart set on moving to La Liga, following in the footsteps of his teammate and good friend Frenkie de Jong. And with Real Madrid signing Eder Militao, it looks like Barcelona are the only team showing any significant interest in the player.
FC Barcelona are rumored to net €960M in the 2017/18 season, which will help them fund both Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt. Frenkie de Jong was announced earlier in January, with FC Barcelona forking out €75M for the player, giving him a bumper €200,000 a week contract, extremely impressive for a 21 year old player.
Meanwhile, there are also going to be movements out of the club, with Thomas Vermaelen’s contract coming to an end and Jeison Murillo leaving after his loan deal expires in the summer. There are big rumblings of discontent from Philippe Coutinho’s camp which could also potentially free up a lot of money for the move. But with Ousmane Dembele still not convincing as a Neymar replacement and Malcolm struggling, it is tough to see Barcelona letting go of Coutinho.
One problem that FC Barcelona are facing in their struggle to sign de Ligt is negotiating the agent’s fee with Mina Raiola. Raiola will be hoping for a big fat commission’s check which Barcelona do not want to pay. It is slowing down this potential transfer and will be interesting to see who among Barcelona or Raiola budges first.
If FC Barcelona do sign Matthijs de Ligt, it will be a big statement of intent, with Frenkie de Jong and de Ligt securing Barcelona’s defense along with Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti for the next 5-10 years. It will also mean that the aging Gerard Pique will finally be phased out of the first team smoothly, with the Dutch wonder-kids taking on the pressure of playing in FC Barcelona colours.