Ajax Director: Barcelona, Juventus Target Matthijs de Ligt Could Leave in Summer

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistOctober 13, 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

Ajax director of football Marc Overmars has offered Juventus and Barcelona hope of securing star defender Matthijs de Ligt's signature next year, conceding a move away from Amsterdam at the end of the season "is a possibility."

De Ligt is attracting interest from some of Europe's biggest clubs, and Overmars told LaRoma24.it (h/t Calciomercato.com) that while a winter move is off the cards, he can't say the same for next summer.

The Ajax figurehead said: "De Ligt's future? The chances of him leaving in January are pretty much zero percent. What about in June? Well this is a possibility for sure; let's see what happens."

Ajax have established themselves as one of the most prolific production plants of young football talent— taking their lesser mainstream appeal into account—and De Ligt is arguably this generation's gem.

The 19-year-old serves as Ajax vice-captain and earned his 10th Netherlands cap in Saturday's UEFA Nations League clash against Germany. OptaJohan noted he's one of the youngest to do so, which speaks volumes of how special a talent he is:

Barcelona signed central defender Clement Lenglet from Sevilla this past summer to reinforce their back line. However, the club are also bound to have one eye on the ageing Gerard Pique, who will turn 32 in February and has endured some poor displays by his standards this season.

It's almost certain Thomas Vermaelen will leave the Camp Nou when his contract expires next summer, which gives Barca more reason to go after De Ligt. Vavel's Mootaz Chehade reported their interest is escalating:

Sport's Toni Frieros wrote De Ligt would be valued at €50 million (£44 million), but it wouldn't be surprising if Ajax were to seek closer to double that amount.

De Ligt won't leave his teenage years until next August, yet he's already made 76 appearances for Ajax, and his accolades stand as evidence why clubs such as Juve and Barca are attracted, per Football Talent Scout:

While Barca have Pique's future to think of, Juventus are approaching the end of one era of centre-back talent in Turin. Still, Bleacher Report's Alex McGovern showed how their reserves are well-stocked:

Andrea Barzagli will turn 38 in May and appears likely to call time on his Bianconeri tenure when his deal expires in June, while Giorgio Chiellini, 34, has a contract that runs until 2020, when he could also depart.

A prodigy of De Ligt's pedigree would solve either European heavyweight's issue in the long term, but Ajax are adamant to have their starlet at least see out the rest of this season in Amsterdam.

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