Real Madrid have reportedly entered the race for Ajax starlet Matthijs de Ligt, with the Dutchman heavily linked with rivals Barcelona for months.
The 19-year-old has firmly established himself as one of the top talents in Europe this season, making 55 appearances for Ajax to lead them to a domestic double and a run to the Champions League semi-finals.
From his physicality to his reading of the game and all-round defensive quality to his ability to offer something in attack too having chipped in with seven goals and four assists, De Ligt looks like the complete package moving forward.
As noted by ESPN, he has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona for some time, with the report suggesting that he could cost up to €80m to prise away from the Eredivisie champions.
However, as that situation seemingly drags on with no conclusion in sight, it has reportedly allowed rival clubs to enter the race with Real Madrid now said to be interested in beating Barcelona to the signing given their concern over Sergio Ramos’ future, as per Mundo Deportivo.
It’s suggested that Los Blancos could see De Ligt as an ideal replacement in case their influential stalwart moves on, and so it remains to be seen if Barcelona are going to fail in their attempts to add De Ligt to their squad having already secured the signing of current teammate Frenkie de Jong.
Both sides do arguably need reinforcements in that department, as they were porous in La Liga this past season with Barcelona conceding 36 goals in 38 league games, while Real Madrid let in 46 goals.
Those are the two worst defensive records out of the top five sides, and so De Ligt could be a sensible addition if a deal can be done with either club, although it would surely be a big blow for Barca if they were to miss out having seemingly led the way for so long.