Manchester United have launched a stunning £70m bid for Matthijs de Ligt in an ambitious bid to beat Barcelona to sign the Ajax captain, though conflicting reports also suggest that United will miss out on the defender's signature.
The Dutchman has shot to prominence as the most highly-rated young centre back in Europe this season after leading the Amsterdam-based side to the Champions League semi-finals, turning in some commanding defensive displays and scoring key goals along the way.
Manchester United have ruled out a move for Ajax defender Matthijs De Ligt, according to Sky sources.— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) 26 May 2019
That has apparently also brought Manchester City back into the fray for his signature, though local rivals United have sought to steal a march on fellow suitors by agreeing to outbid any other club, whilst also agreeing to meet Mino Raiola's demands.
The deal would see the Red Devils pay De Ligt a whopping £350,000-a-week, whilst also matching Raiola's agent fee.
It was widely assumed that De Ligt was primed to join Ajax teammate Frenkie de Jong in moving from Amsterdam to Catalonia in the summer, though Raiola's involvement has complicated the deal as Barcelona are refusing to do business on his terms.
The situation has paved the way for United to muscle in on the race, though the player's insistence that he would only join a club competing in the Champions League could complicate any move from the Red Devils.
Sky Sports have suggested that United have themselves ruled out any move for De Ligt, whilst a further report has revealed that the Red Devils expect to miss out to Barcelona in the race to sign the defender, despite the Dutchman being their top target.
I can't wait to see how Manchester United will word their tweet on the day of the Matthijs de Ligt signing.— Jonny Sharples (@JonnyGabriel) May 25, 2019
Something like "We are delighted to announce that Marcos Rojo has signed a new three-year deal" posted while Barcelona are presenting their new Dutch centre back.
It is said that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side believe that Barcelona have already struck an agreement with the player two months ago, which would seemingly make his move to Catalonia a formality, despite United offering a more lucrative deal.