Coveted Ajax star Matthijs de Ligt is 'very close' to Manchester United, after the Red Devils made a 'very good' offer to the defender, according to one Catalan report.
The 19-year-old Ajax captain is currently one of the most talked about players in world football, with his impressive displays in the Dutch champions' run to within a Lucas Moura finish of the Champions League final leading fans and the media to speculate furiously on where he will end up next.
With it all but a foregone conclusion that de Ligt will follow Frenkie de Jong out the door at Ajax this summer, most assumed he would join his €75m teammate at Barcelona this summer. However, talks appear to have stalled over a move to Camp Nou. The daily updates from the Catalan media admit the deal is on the ropes, with Barça apparently unable to match the financial packages of other suitors.
One of those other suitors is Manchester United, who could now be the frontrunners to land football's hottest wonderkid.
After the player was spotted liking United-based posts on social media earlier this week, naturally sending the United Twittersphere into a frenzy, journalist Gerard Romero of Catalan radio station RAC1 is sure to set pulses racing further with the titillating claim that de Ligt is now 'very close' to Old Trafford.
He adds that while nothing has been agreed yet, United have made a 'very good' offer for the player - with the word 'very' capitalised in his tweet for added emphasis.
A separate report from Catalan daily SPORT may have more information on the details of United's offer.
They claim that United have offered €14m-a-year (£12.3m), which would work out at €270k (£238k) a week if split as a basic weekly wage.
SPORT add that this is a sum of money Barça are unwilling to pay, particularly after shelling out an expected €70m for the transfer fee.
Meanwhile, Spanish football expert Guillem Balague adds that Barça are continuing in their attempts to woo de Ligt with factors other than money. However, Balague claims that Bayern Munich and Juventus are the other major players in the transfer saga rather than United.
"I'm hearing that Manchester United is not after de Ligt," he said in a clip posted on Twitter. "I wonder if that has to do with the fact that they don't want him - which I'd be surprised - or that he doesn't want to go to United - which I'd be less surprised. There's no Champions League. He can choose the other clubs.
"Manchester United are out of the equation for de Ligt as it stands right now."
De Ligt would certainly represent an enormous coup for United, whose status as one of Europe's biggest clubs able to attract top talent is under threat after a bitterly disappointing season.
United would undoubtedly be able (and probably more than willing) to pay up for the Dutchman, while he also fits the supposed recruitment prerogative for younger players.
However, as Balague suggests, the lack of Champions League football means it would be an eyebrow-raising career move from de Ligt and one wonders whether his agent Mino Raiola is simply using United's interest to force Barcelona's hand.