Manchester United have accepted that a deal for Ajax skipper Matthijs de Ligt isn’t going to happen.
That’s according to journalist Duncan Castles, who opened up about United’s stance on the Netherland’s international on The Transfer Window Podcast.
He insists United are still in the market for an experienced centre-back this summer, with The Express citing a report from Portuguese newspaper A Bola about Ruben Dias becoming a prime target because he represents cheaper value than trying to sign Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.
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De Ligt, 19, is hot property this summer and has the potential to become the world’s best defender. He also had the leadership qualities that United desperately needed, but it sounds like it’s time to accept he won’t be coming to Old Trafford anytime soon.
“We know Manchester United made a huge financial offer to De Ligt and [his agent Mino] Raiola to come there and they made a big effort to persuade the player to dump his verbal agreement with Barcelona and tried hard on that deal,” Castles said on the popular podcast, as quoted by the Daily Star.
“But what Manchester United are telling people who are discussing the centre-back position with them is that De Ligt will not be coming to the club, to disregard what they have seen in the press because the deal is not going to happen.
“They are looking to add one centre-back. They’ve now shifted their stance in that earlier in the summer their idea was stick with the players they had, and we’re talking before the season ended, that Solskjaer was happy with his centre-backs and if they added one it would be a young, developing centre-back who would come in as a backup to the current group and would hopefully develop into a starter.
“They now recognise they need a more experienced individual. Not necessarily someone in his late 20s or 30s, but not the category of a development centre-back – someone who would actually play. De Ligt is, according to them, not going to happen.”
De Ligt now looks even more likely to join up with former team-mate Frenkie De Jong, who signed a pre-contract with Barcelona midway through the season.
De Jong completed a €75m move to the Nou Camp back in December, as reported by The Guardian.
Whatever happens De Ligt, though, his next destination will be gifted with one of the best defenders in world football. It’s amazing to think he’s just 19-years-old.