Barcelona Reportedly 'Optimistic' After Matthijs de Ligt Meeting

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2018

ATHENS, GREECE - NOVEMBER 27: Matthijs de Ligt of Ajax during the UEFA Champions League  match between AEK Athene v Ajax at the Olympisch Stadion Spyridon Louis on November 27, 2018 in Athens Greece (Photo by Erwin Spek/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Barcelona reportedly feel "optimistic" about their chances of signing Ajax starlet Matthijs de Ligt after holding a "positive" meeting with the player.

According to Sport's Lluis Miguelsanz, Barca sporting director Eric Abidal and his assistant, Ramon Planes, met with De Ligt and his agent, Mino Raiola, to "explain their project to the player and their plan to help him acclimatise" if he moves to the Camp Nou.

The Netherlands international is said to have had concerns regarding playing time, but the Blaugrana pointed to the example of Clement Lenglet. The Frenchman arrived as a back-up defender in the summer but has made 14 appearances this season, including four starts in the UEFA Champions League.

Barcelona consider De Ligt not just as a player for the future but also the present, so even if he would pick up more game time elsewhere, it's clear he would be a part of their immediate plans upon joining.

The 19-year-old is said to be "excited" by their interest in him, and he also recognises the Catalan giants as the most natural fit for him given his playing style.

De Ligt has previously likened himself to Barca stalwart Gerard Pique:

Goal @goal

Matthijs de Ligt has drawn some big comparisons from everyone, including himself. Who does the Dutch star remind you of? https://t.co/iRIbTchHD7

As well as being an adventurous centre-back who likes to carry the ball into midfield—and has the technical ability to do so comfortably—he's also proving to be a robust defender:

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

Matthijs de Ligt is in the final five for the Golden Boy award 🏆 It's not hard to see why... Composed. Quick. Strong. https://t.co/bOEnJuWtTU

The teenager, who started the 2017 UEFA Europa League final against Manchester United at the age of 17, is already showing himself to be an impressive leader too, and he started donning the captain's armband at Ajax at the end of last season.

Despite his youth, De Ligt already seems capable of making the leap to an elite side.

It's hardly surprising that interest in him would be widespread, and Barcelona are the club that could make the most of his exceptional talents.

What's more, his reciprocal interest could be key to helping them secure his signature if a bidding war begins.