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Manchester United News: Club passed up on signing Matthijs de Ligt after concerns on defender's weight

ANALYST
News
2.35K   //    11 May 2019, 13:34 IST

Willem II v Ajax - Dutch Toto KNVB Cup Final
Willem II v Ajax - Dutch Toto KNVB Cup Final

What's the story?

As reported by Daily Mirror, Manchester United passed up a chance to sign one of the revelation's of this season's Champions League, Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt due to concerns about the defender's weight last season.

In case you didn't know...

Manchester United are in the fag end of an underwhelming season, languishing at the 6th spot in the English Premier League standings, with no chances of finishing within the Champions League qualification spots. Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's early promise became undone towards the crunch end of the season, with their shaky defence leaking plenty of goals and the team losing to teams like Everton, Wolves (twice, including the FA Cup Quarterfinals) and Arsenal in recent weeks

Ajax Amsterdam's Matthijs de Ligt has been one of the standout performers in the Champions League, playing a key role as the Dutch side reached the Champions League semi-finals in the first time in over a decade. The 19-year-old central defender also pitched in with two goals as an exciting, youthful Ajax had a fairy tale ride to semis, going down in narrowly in midweek to a Lucas Moura-inspired Tottenham Hotspur

The heart of the matter

Understandably, de Ligt's Champions League exploits has attracted a lot of potential suitors with Barcelona in pole position to sign the £75million valued centre back. United could have signed the starlet for half that amount last season apparently, with the Red Devils reportedly giving him a pass owing to concerns over his weight.

Marcel Bout, a Dutch scout hired by Louis van Gaal scouted de Ligt rigorously and recommended him to the club management. Bout however also told United that de Ligt’s family had a tendency to put on weight, pointing out to de Ligt's father Frank who was overweight. Former United manager Jose Mourinho, in the 2017-18 season, apparently had two choices for centre back, de Ligt and Leicester City's Harry Maguire. United management took the scout's advice and rejected de Ligt, in a decision that they probably regret at the moment.

What's next?

Solskjaer's United play Cardiff City at home in the final game of their Premier League season and will want to end their campaign on a high. The game is set for tomorrow, 7:30 PM IST.

The Dutch Eredivisie is headed towards a photo finish with Ajax and PSV Eindhoven tied on 80 points with just 2 games left in the league. Ajax, however, have a 10 point goal difference advantage over Robin van Persie's Eindhoven side. They are set to face Utrecht tomorrow, with kickoff set for 6:00 PM IST

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