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Matthijs de Ligt transfer: Manchester United, Liverpool to miss out as European heavyweights become 'increasingly confident' of completing deal

Matt Addison
10 Jun 2019, 21:29 IST

Portugal v Netherlands - UEFA Nations League Final
Portugal v Netherlands - UEFA Nations League Final

It is fast becoming the big saga of this summer: where will Ajax defender and wonderkid Matthijs de Ligt end up?

Until now, the only thing known for certain is that the 19-year-old is to leave the Netherlands this year, having captained his side to the Champions League semi-finals, beating Juventus and Real Madrid along the way.

Following the UEFA Nations League final, Cristiano Ronaldo instructed the defender to sign for the Italian champions, while for a long time, Barcelona were thought to be favourites for his signature.

Having spent big on teammate Frenkie de Jong, however, and with other priorities in the summer market, including a potential deal for France and Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann, who has already decided to move on from Diego Simeone's side, there are question marks over whether they can afford De Ligt as well.

With agent Mino Raiola set to squeeze every penny out of his prized asset, with large wages for the player and a significant agent's fee for making the deal happen, De Ligt will not come cheap.

Previews: Portugal v Netherlands - UEFA Nations League Final
Previews: Portugal v Netherlands - UEFA Nations League Final

English sides Manchester United and Liverpool have also been strongly linked with a move, but with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men out of the Champions League and facing a colossal rebuild, the former are not an attractive proposition in a footballing sense, even if the financial package would be enticing.

European champions Liverpool, meanwhile, are said to be content with Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez as defensive options. They do not wish to upset the progress of the latter, or other upcoming talents such as Ki-Jana Hoever by spending big on De Ligt, who would then be obliged to play consistently alongside Van Dijk, limiting the game time of the others.

The wages that Raiola would demand for his client are also well above the level of most of the Reds' squad. If Jurgen Klopp's side were to sign the defender, they would have to make him their highest-paid player which would not go down well in the dressing room given he is still only a teenager.


De Ligt would require a salary of more than £200,000 per week, which would be more than that of Van Dijk and the world-class front three, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, who are all tied down to deals until 2023 at around that mark.

With those heavyweight clubs seemingly out of the way, PSG have emerged as the favourites to sign De Ligt, and are becoming 'increasingly confident' that they will get the defender this summer, according to the Daily Mail.

PSG have been in talks with De Ligt for the last 24 hours or so and are confident that those discussions have been going in the right direction. Much of the noise which still exists around Manchester United and Liverpool is likely to be a tool from Raiola to drive up the price.

The French champions are still to make a real impact in the latter stages of the Champions League, and with a stranglehold over their domestic competitions, Europe is what Thomas Tuchel was brought in to conquer.

Whether the signing of De Ligt would be sufficient to make that dream a reality is as yet unknown, but PSG have shown in the past that spending huge amounts on players is not something they are afraid of doing.

There is the question of whether PSG have the financial capacity to bring in De Ligt, having been under investigation for breaches of Financial Fair Play regulations just last year, but it appears that they are the most likely destination for the young defender at this moment in time.

Wherever the defender ends up, he will face a lot of scrutiny given the price-tag and wages which will be shelled out - but on the evidence of his career so far, De Ligt has the ability to match the expectation.

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