Matthijs de Ligt has become one of the most sought after young talents in Europe and the centre back is almost certain to be departing Ajax this summer. The big question is which club will win the race for the 19-year-old? Michael Bell looks at the options.

Over the past few months, there has been plenty of speculation surrounding the 2018 Golden Boy with several clubs said to be at the head of the queue. At the moment it seems that there are six options for the defender this summer.

Barcelona

After the signing of Frenkie de Jong, the Catalan press is sure that Barcelona will now turn their attention to De Ligt. The pair have formed a good bond in Amsterdam and would no doubt love to be reunited at the Nou Camp.

With de Jong seen as the long-term successor to Sergio Busquets, De Ligt could replace the ageing Gerard Pique in defence. However, does Barcelona have another €75+ million to spend on De Ligt this summer, especially when they already have Samuel Umtiti, Clément Lenglet and Jean-Clair Todibo?

Mundo Deportivo is now reporting that Barcelona will spend their money elsewhere in the squad, which could leave De Ligt, who is said to favour a move to Barcelona, disappointed.

Juventus

According to Algemeen Dagblad, Juventus are currently the front-runners for De Ligt, with his advisor Mino Raiola pushing the defender towards Italy. The super agent has a good relationship with Juventus and could orchestrate a deal.

Juventus currently have an ageing backline and they see De Ligt as the ideal successor to 34-year-old Giorgio Chiellini.

Serie A is famed for it’s great defences and Juventus could work wonders for De Ligt’s game, while he would also be fighting for major European trophies. Learning from Chiellini, Leonard Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli before becoming the leader at the back would seem to be a great move for the youngster.

Bayern Munich

The Bavarian giants are set to go through a summer revamp and after seeing what he can do up close in the Champions League, De Ligt could be a perfect recruit.

Jerome Boeteng has been heavily linked with a move away from Munich, while Mats Hummel’s is getting on in years. The signing of De Ligt could be a great investment for the German giants to shore up their defence.

The Bundesliga giants have a reputation of nurturing young talents and De Ligt would feel less pressure in Munich than at Juventus or Barcelona.

However, the €75 million+ transfer fee could be a big issue for Bayern, who are also planning a move for Steven Bergwijn, who would not come cheap from PSV.

Manchester City

Long-term admirers of de Ligt, Manchester City are said to be the favourites to sign the defender according to several outlets including Voetbal International.

The English champions were said to be very interested in Frenkie de Jong, but missed out to Barcelona, which may make them swoop early to avoid disappointment again.

De Ligt’s ability to carry the ball out of defence would be perfect for Pep Guardiola’s side and he would be a long-term replacement for Vincent Kompany. However, he would face competition from Nicolas Otamendi, Aymeric Laporte, and John Stones.

There is also the issue of financial fair play, which was reportedly one of the reasons Man City missed out on De Jong. The club have received a fresh warning from UEFA over their spending.

PSG

De Telegraaf are reporting that PSG are set to go in big for De Ligt after being beaten to the signing of Frenkie de Jong.

The French giants are said to be outraged by missing out on the midfielder and will now turn their attention to Ajax duo Donny van de Beek and De Ligt. De Telegraaf report that contact has already been made with Ajax over a deal.

The 19-year-old is said to be PSG’s priority to replace the 34-year-old Thiago Silva at the back and they would have no problems with Ajax’s asking price.

Would De Ligt see PSG as the best move for his career, though? PSG are going for the Champions League, but they usually win Ligue 1 at a canter. With a lot more potential for development at Juventus or Bayern Munich, would De Ligt choose France?

Manchester United

An outsider in the race for De Ligt is English giants Manchester United, who have been tentatively linked with a move for the defender in the English press.

Manchester United had defensive issues under Jose Mourinho and De Ligt would be seen as a marque signing in the summer as they look to return to being title challengers next season.

However, Manchester United’s managerial situation is up in the air at the moment. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is doing a great job as caretaker so far, but a permanent role for the Norwegian isn’t certain with Mauricio Pochettinho a candidate for the summer.

Manchester United may wait to see who their new permanent manager will be before moving for transfer targets. With the race for De Ligt already advancing, United could miss out if they wait too long.

Which club do you think would be the best move for Matthijs de Ligt this summer. Leave your comment below.




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