Barcelona Reportedly Ready to Make Matthijs de Ligt Approach in January Window

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistOctober 12, 2018

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - OCTOBER 7: Matthijs de Ligt of Ajax  during the Dutch Eredivisie  match between Ajax v AZ Alkmaar at the Johan Cruijff Arena on October 7, 2018 in Amsterdam Netherlands (Photo by Ed van de Pol/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Barcelona are keen to follow up interest in Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt during the January transfer window. The Blaugrana consider the need to sign the gifted 19-year-old "urgent," according to Tomas Andreu of Sport (h/t Football.London's Rob Guest).

The need to act quickly comes from De Ligt drawing a lengthy queue of suitors. Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain, Premier League duo Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur and Barca's bitter La Liga rivals Real Madrid are also keen, per Guest.

De Ligt has drawn so much attention because of an accomplished game based on technique, vision, intelligence and brawn. Versatile enough to play as a centre-back or operate at the base of midfield, De Ligt has already drawn favourable comparison to Barca defender Gerard Pique, per MailOnline's Pete Jenson.

Pique is now 31, but he remains an integral part of a defence short on options and needing to get younger. Aside from Pique, former Arsenal man Thomas Vermaelen and Clement Lenglet are recognisable centre-back choices.

Barca need to get younger at the heart of their defence.
Barca need to get younger at the heart of their defence.Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Vermaelen is 32 and has a long history of injuries. Meanwhile, Lenglet has struggled somewhat since moving to the Camp Nou from La Liga rivals Sevilla in the summer in a deal worth £32 million.

Samuel Umtiti is Barca's best central defender, but the 24-year-old Frenchman is dealing with a knee problem and could be out until 2019, according to Juan Manuel Diaz of Sport. Surgery remains an option for the ex-Lyon ace.

It's understandable for Barcelona to want to top up numbers at a key position. Similarly, it's hardly a shock the Blaugrana are so keen on De Ligt

Sporting director Eric Abidal watched him when Ajax drew 1-1 with Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League recently, according to Jenson.

De Ligt starred during the stalemate:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Matthijs de Ligt won more tackles (4) than any other player on the pitch during Bayern Munich 1-1 Ajax. A huge display at the Allianz Arena. ⛰ https://t.co/2jjSwvncUM

The teenager has also been helping fortify the Ajax defence in the Eredivisie:

OptaJohan @OptaJohan

3 - Ajax have kept a clean sheet in each of the last three Eredivisie home games, their best run since December 2016. Robust.

De Ligt is a player worth beating the competition for. Barca need to find their next talisman at the back in the making, and the young Netherlands international fits the bill perfectly.