Matthijs de Ligt will be a Barcelona player by the time the 2019/20 season begins, and only something completely unforeseen will prevent that from happening with Los Cules one step away from securing a deal for the defender.
Having starred for Ajax as one of the club’s youngest ever captains, De Ligt has performed as a world class central defender for the entirety of the current campaign, breaking into Ronald Koeman’s Oranje side and forming a phenomenal partnership with Virgil van Dijk.
With Frenkie de Jong having already been signed, Josep Maria Bartomeu has returned to the Amsterdam giants to further bolster his squad, with a long-term successor to Gerard Pique required.
There are no suggestions that De Ligt wouldn’t be involved straight away though, especially with the Blaugrana less than enamoured with the way Samuel Umtiti has progressed this season.
Following Tottenham Hotspur’s last-gasp victory over the Dutch side in the Champions League semi-final, the Catalan giants have intensified their efforts to sign the 19-year-old, not least after the defensive debacle that allowed Liverpool to overcome a 3-0 deficit against the Blaugrana the night before.
One potential sticking point is an agreement between Barcelona and the player, although this is nothing to do with his salary, which has already been agreed.
The difficulty is related to the position of his agent, Mino Raiola, with the Dutchman having recently been suspended from footballing activity for three months.
It’s unclear just who will manage the potential transfers of his clients in that period, and it’s well known that Barcelona don’t have a particularly good relationship with him.
Barcelona made the decision two years ago to change the way they do business, no longer do they want to become embroiled in a transfer saga that fills back pages, they want their deals to be complete before the window opens officially.
The De Ligt operation is no different, and the Spanish champions now feel confident that they are in a good enough position to secure a transfer that could benefit the team for at least a decade.