Marc Overmars: Barcelona Favourites to Land Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2018

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - DECEMBER 16: (L-R) Matthijs de Ligt of Ajax, Frenkie de Jong of Ajax, celebrate the victory after the game during the Dutch Eredivisie  match between Ajax v De Graafschap at the Johan Cruijff Arena on December 16, 2018 in Amsterdam Netherlands (Photo by Erwin Spek/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars has said Barcelona are leading the charge to sign Dutch duo Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong.

The former Barca and Arsenal star also warned the Catalan giants they're not the only club in pursuit of the pair, though.

Per AS, he said: "Barcelona is my favourite, it's a fantastic club, but there are two other clubs that are very close. All of Europe is moving and Barca must do things well."

The other two clubs Overmars alluded to could be Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City, as they've also been linked with the pair, per ESPN FC's Tom Hamilton.

Overmars believes the prospect of linking up with Lionel Messi at the Camp Nou could give the Blaugrana an edge over their competitors.

"Messi can help," he said. "Money is not important for them, last year they could have gone with good offers and they decided to stay. They didn't need me to speak well of Barca because they already know it."

De Ligt and De Jong are Ajax's two biggest assets at the moment, and they're expected to leave for big money in the near future:

They won't be leaving in January, however. Ajax CEO Edwin van der Sar made that clear in no uncertain terms.

"No, no, no," he said, per Hamilton. "That's a no. We're not going to sell a player halfway through the season. No way. If you have financial difficulties you might look at it, but for us no."

When the times does come, Rafael Hernandez of Barcelona fansite Grup 14 is hopeful the Blaugrana will secure both signatures:

Midfielder De Jong—who is similarly comfortable at centre-back—looks tailor-made for Barcelona. He would be an excellent candidate to fulfil a similar role to the one played by club legend Xavi Hernandez prior to his 2015 departure, controlling games with accurate and intelligent distribution.

As for De Ligt, he is a centre-back who excels in using his technical ability to carry the ball out of defence and influence the game further forward, for which he has just been recognised with a prestigious award:

Either would make a fine capture, and both would be even better given their quality, versatility and chemistry together.

Signing both players will be difficult given the expenditure required and the competition they face, though, so they may have to prioritise the player they feel would have a bigger impact on their fortunes.  

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