Barcelona close to reaching an agreement to sign De Ligt

Matthijs de Ligt

Barcelona are close to reaching an agreement to sign defender Matthijs de Ligt from Ajax, according to ESPN.

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.

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 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.

Thomas Vermaelen, though, will leave for free in the summer and Barca do not plan on exercising an option to make Jeison Murillo’s loan deal permanent, creating space for one new defender.