Netherlands legend Ruud Gullit believes Manchester United will miss out on signing Ajax star Matthijs de Ligt due to lack of Champions League football.
The centre-back enjoyed a stellar season for club and country, captaining Ajax to the Champions League semi-final while also starting for a Netherlands side that made the UEFA Nations League final.
De Ligt is expected to depart the Champions League semi-finalists this summer with Barcelona, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain mooted as suitors.
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Barca have often been seen as front-runners, having already signed De Ligt’s team-mate at Ajax and the Netherlands, Frenkie de Jong, prior to the end of the season.
However, it has been reported United have aimed to convince the centre-back to join Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s project at Old Trafford.
But while Barca and PSG can boast the chance to play in Europe’s top continental club competition, Manchester United find themselves in the Europa League after a sixth place finish in the Premier League last season.
And that lack of Champions League football next season is something the former Chelsea man Gullit thinks will keep De Ligt from joining the Red Devils this summer.
“I don't think it'll be Manchester United, they don't play in the Champions League,” Gullit told Omnisport when asked where De Ligt will sign.
“I think he wants to play in the Champions League, so that's unfortunate for Manchester United.”
Even if he chooses against United, De Ligt should have plenty of options this summer after his standout performances for Ajax and the Netherlands.
However, it’s possible some potential suitors may find their efforts hamstrung by a big transfer fee and salary demands, while one or two other clubs are unable to participate due to looming tranfer bans.
Still, Gullit hopes the 19-year-old finds the right situation for himself this summer.
“It's going to be difficult [for a lot of teams], a lot of them [big teams] might have UEFA [transfer] bans, so there's a lot that's going on still,” Gullit said.
“So I hope he makes the right decision for himself.”