Barcelona still trying to tempt De Ligt but refuse to increase €75m offer

Matthijs de Ligt Ajax BarcelonaGetty/Goal

Barcelona are piecing together a plan to lure Matthijs de Ligt to Camp Nou from Ajax that avoids the need to deal with his agent Mino Raiola or increasing their current €75 million (£66m/$84) bid, Goal understands.

A potential move to Catalunya for the highly-rated Dutch defender has hit a stumbling block.

Raiola, who also manages the respective careers of the likes of Paul Pogba and Mario Balotelli, has been stung with a three-month worldwide transfer ban.

That will prevent him from entering his discussions regarding the next move for one of Europe’s most sought-after assets.

De Ligt is attracting interest from leading sides in England, Spain and Italy, with a big decision set to be made on his future.

Barcelona have been leading the race and believe that an agreement can still be reached by convincing the player that they are the right destination for him.

If that can be done, then they can save time and money on any potential dealings with Raiola.

This is a process that was first started more than two years ago, with De Ligt’s obvious potential having figured on their radar for some time.

Club executives have held discussions in Amsterdam, with it confirmed to Goal that: “If you get the player then it doesn't matter what the agent thinks, it is going to happen if the player wants it to.

“All top clubs must buy good players who join to improve the team's level, not settling for plan B because that is wrong.”

The same sources are convinced that De Ligt remains the best option for Barca, adding: “De Ligt is plan A, maybe the greatest one in Europe, someone who deserves to be chosen.

“When you notice a great player who wants to join your club, you must go for him.

“When he shows he wants to come, half of the work is done.”

Matthijs de Ligt Ajax 2018-19

While Barcelona remain optimistic when it comes to their pursuit of De Ligt, they have made it clear that they will not be dragged into a bidding war.

An offer on the table of €75m will not be increased, with those at Camp Nou of the opinion that they can provide opportunities that money cannot buy – such as turning out in the same side as Lionel Messi.

They are aware that concerns have been raised as to the level of competition on their books.

Ernesto Valverde already has the likes of Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet, Samuel Umtiti and Jean-Clair Todibo at his disposal.

It is possible that there may be departures from the defensive ranks this summer, though, while De Ligt would be a welcome addition for the present and future.

Barca already have an agreement in place to land Frenkie de Jong from Ajax this summer and believe there is another deal to be done.

Patience is the order of the day for now, with the Liga champions prepared to bide their time and explore all of their options in a transfer which could be completed without agent interference.

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