Matthijs de Ligt Says There Is 'Nothing to Announce' Amid Barcelona Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistApril 17, 2019

TURIN, ITALY - APRIL 16: Matthijs de Ligt of Ajax celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg match between Juventus and Ajax at Allianz Stadium on April 16, 2019 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt has said "there is nothing to announce" regarding a possible transfer to Barcelona amid speculation a deal is close to being finalised.

De Ligt has been sensational for Ajax this term and netted the winning goal in Tuesday's 2-1 second-leg victory over Juventus in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals (3-2 on aggregate), sealing the Amsterdam club's semi-final spot.

After his performance in Turin, De Ligt was asked about when he would announce his transfer to Barcelona.

"Announce? There is nothing to announce," he said, per Sacha Pisani of Goal.

Despite those quotes from the 19-year-old, Moises Llorens and Sam Marsden of ESPN reported Barcelona are close to signing the Netherlands international:

"The La Liga leaders have the situation 'under control,' according to the sources, and not getting the deal over the line now would provide similar levels of disappointment to last summer when they were turned down by Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann at the last minute."

Llorens and Marsden said both Juventus and Bayern Munich also have an interest in the youngster, although at this time he "only wants to listen to Barcelona." The Blaugrana have already secured the signing of De Ligt's Ajax and Netherlands team-mate Frenkie de Jong.

While he's been praised for his defensive skills in recent years, the centre-back showed against Juventus he can be a threat in the opposition box, too (U.S. only):

Talking after the game, former England and Manchester United centre-back Rio Ferdinand lauded the talent of De Ligt:

It would be considered a coup if Barcelona land De Ligt, even for a team as high-profile as them.

Since breaking into the Ajax team, the defender has gone from strength to strength. He's happy to lead the back four despite his tender years, his reading of the game is sharp, and he is not bullied in physical battles.

Additionally, De Ligt is composed in possession and capable of starting attacks from deep, making him an ideal fit for Barcelona.

The Blaugrana supporters already seem to like him, too, per Rafael Hernandez of Barcelona fansite Grup14:

He's already accomplished a lot in his career:

Considering he emerged through the Ajax youth setup, De Ligt leaving the club at the end of the season would be disappointing. However, with the calibre of teams said to be interested in him, it's unlikely he will be playing in Amsterdam next term.

If Barcelona secure his signature, they would have a defensive building block in place for many years to come. With both teams into the semi-finals of the Champions League, the Blaugrana may yet come up against De Ligt and De Jong before the end of the campaign.  

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