Barcelona's director of football Éric Abidal held talks with Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt in an attempt to woo the Dutch prospect into a move to the Camp Nou, according to reports.


Clubs across Europe have taken notice of the 19-year-old in recent years following his rise through the ranks in Amsterdam, where he is now captain of de Godenzonen.

NAC Breda v Ajax - Dutch Eredivisie

De Ligt has been tipped to break all previous transfer records for a defender when he eventually moves away from his boyhood club, and teams across the continent are flocking to the youngster in an attempt to secure his signature.


Catalunya Radio show "El Club de la Mitjanit" (via ESPN) recently claimed that Barcelona's Abidal took de Ligt out for dinner in an attempt to convince him of joining Ernesto Valverde's side next season.


Abidal travelled out to Amsterdam for the meeting as Barcelona grow increasingly desperate to tie down the next generation of stars.


The club are said to be worried that the talent pool in their infamous La Masia academy isn't what it used to be, and this has prompted the club to try and poach the best young players from across Europe ahead of their rivals.


This ethos has already seen the likes of Ousmane DembéléNélson Semedo and Arthur all join their ranks over the last 18 months.


The potential arrival of de Ligt would help soften the blow of Gerard Piqué's inevitable decline at the highest level, while he would also plug the gap that Thomas Vermaelen leaves at the end of this season.

FC Barcelona v Girona - La Liga Santander

That will leave just French pair Samuel Umtiti and Clément Lenglet to fight alongside de Ligt for a place in the club's first team, something which will open the door for the likes of Ronald Araújo, Chumi or Jorge Cuenca from Barcelona's second team.