Barcelona ready to step up bid to sign Ajax star De Ligt

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The Liga giants have been tracking the Netherlands defender for some time and are looking to fend off mounting competition by pushing through a deal

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu is preparing to step up his bid to bring Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt to Camp Nou, Goal understands.

The man at the helm in Catalunya has already conceded that the Dutchman’s “name is on the table” as summer transfer plans are pieced together.

At just 19 years of age, but already a senior Netherlands international and captain of his club side, De Ligt is considered to be a useful addition for the present and future.

Barca are, however, aware that they are far from his only suitors.

Liverpool have been credited with holding an interest in pairing the teenager with his fellow countryman Virgil van Dijk at Anfield.

Goal has also previously revealed that Manchester City and Juventus are closely monitoring events in Amsterdam, with the Premier League and Serie A title holders forever in the market for top talent.

With competition for a prized signature building, Barcelona acknowledge that they need to act fast.

They already have a deal in place which will see Frenkie de Jong trade the Eredivisie for La Liga in the next transfer window, with a €75 million (£65m/$85m) agreement set to be pushed through.

It would likely require a similar fee in order to land the current holder of the prestigious Golden Boy award.

Barca’s technical secretary, Eric Abidal, has already met with De Ligt to sound him out on a switch. Initial talks were held in November, but the situation has progressed considerably since then.

With De Jong on board, Barca want another addition tied up in April.

Matthijs de Ligt Golden Boy

Goal understands that Bartomeu is ready to take the lead in discussions and get things over the line.

He has dealt with De Light’s agent, Mino Raiola, in the past and the professional relationship between Barca and Ajax is considered to be good.

The Dutch giants have never stood in the way of any player that wants to further himself outside of their control and they are aware that De Ligt will move on at some stage. Marc Overmars, the club’s director of football, has already admitted as much.

Barca now believe that De Ligt is open to the idea of joining close friend De Jong in Catalunya. The intention is to act quickly and take advantage of a situation seemingly working in their favour.

Goal understands that De Ligt will be acquired despite the need to move defensive options out at Camp Nou.

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Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet are established members of the fold, but questions remain over the long-term fitness of World Cup winner Samuel Umtiti.

Barcelona also recently signed Toulouse youngster Jean-Clair Todibo, while Jeison Murillo has not convinced during a loan from Valencia.

Movement is to be expected over the coming months, with there a determination on the part of Bartomeu to ensure that the comings and goings include De Ligt linking up with Ernesto Valverde’s squad.

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