Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt has reportedly turned down a €70m transfer to Manchester United in the summer.
De Ligt’s impressive progress at Ajax has captured the interest in the likes of Barcelona, Juventus and Bayern Munich.
The 19-year-old centre-back is one of Europe’s most exciting young talents and his profile has only grown following his exploits in the Champions League this season for Ajax.
De Ligt has played key roles in Ajax’s shock triumphs over Real Madrid and Juventus on route to the club’s first semi-final appearance since 1997.
Now, the Dutch club are aiming to go one better by beating Tottenham in tonight’s second leg in Amsterdam. They currently hold a 1-0 aggregate lead from last week’s first leg win in north London.
Despite their spectacular progress in Europe, however, Ajax boss Erik ten Hag recently admitted there is “zero chance” De Ligt will remain with them for next season.
“There’s zero chance Matthijs de Ligt is staying at Ajax,” he told Suddeutschen Zeitung.
“There are so many clubs interested in him. He will leave us this summer, but I don’t know whether he’ll join Bayern or Barcelona.”
Therefore, Barcelona have been strongly touted as favourites to sign De Ligt in the summer. In January, the Blaugrana had announced their €75m capture of the young star’s Ajax and Netherlands team-mate Frenkie de Jong for the summer.
But Spanish newspaper Marca have reported that United made an attempt to beat Barcelona to De Ligt’s signature.
Apparently, the Red Devils offered him a five-year contract of €15m per season at Old Trafford. But the Dutch centre-back had no interest in the proposal offered to him.
Meanwhile, Barcelona are understood to have tabled an €80m offer to De Ligt.
For now, though, the Netherlands international’s full focus will be on tonight’s return leg against Spurs in the Champions League semi-finals.
The match will take place at the Johan Cruyff Arena, with kick-off set for 21:00 (CET).