Juventus center-back Matthijs de Ligt is said to be “crazy” about the idea of signing for Barcelona in a move that would see the defender reunited with friend and former Ajax team-mate Frenkie de Jong.
De Ligt was heavily linked with a move to Barcelona before he joined Juventus in the summer of 2019 from Ajax. De Jong also left the Eredivisie at the same time after helping Ajax win a league and cup double and make it all the way to the semi-finals of the Champions League.
According to reputable RAC1 journalist Gerard Romero, De Ligt would still love to move to the Catalan giants, although a move looks very difficult given Barca’s current financial plight.
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Laporta and Koeman Want De Ligt
Yet it seems the interest in De Ligt might be mutual. According to Eduardo Inda at El Chiringuito, the defender is liked by both Barcelona president Joan Laporta and coach Ronald Koeman.
Barca views the 21-year-old Dutchman as the perfect center-back partner to Eric Garcia who is expected to return from Manchester City on a free transfer in the summer transfer window.
Coach Pep Guardiola all but confirmed Garcia’s return after Sunday’s League Cup final win over Tottenham Hotspur, as reported by Sky Sports. He said, “Most of the time he’s not on the bench because he’s going to move to Barcelona, I hope so. It’s tough, but it is what it is.”
It’s also worth remembering that Barca already has plenty of center-back options in the squad. Youngsters Ronald Araujo and Oscar Mingueza have made the breakthrough into the first team this season and have joined Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet, and Samuel Umtiti in the squad.
However, there have been rumors that Umtiti, and potentially Lenglet, could be sold this summer, while Koeman’s switch to a 3-5-2 formation this season means center-backs will be needed at the Camp Nou under the Dutchman.
De Ligt Agent Blasts Barcelona
Another sticking point to any De Ligt deal could be the Dutch defender’s agent Mino Raiola. The controversial agent was critical of the Catalan giants’ attempts to land the youngster back in 2019.
He told Voetbal International that Barcelona had not treated De Ligt well and explained why the defender chose to move to Juventus instead, as reported by Diario Sport.
“Barca thought: ‘De Jong’s coming, [De Ligt] will arrive as well.’ They treated him like a piece of cheese, as we say. But the reasons they wanted him there were wrong…did they believe a player like [Gerard] Pique was going to leave his spot in the team?” he said. “In Holland, they almost believe Barca are a Dutch club, not a foreign club, they saw this transfer almost as sacrilege, they thought he had to go there. De Ligt is not interested in money, he just wants to play. And Juve wanted him one year ago. And (De Ligt) told me: ‘Mino, I want to go the Harvard of defending.’ So that’s why we chose Juve, to graduate.”
De Ligt won the Serie A title in his first season at Juventus but the Turin giants are down in fourth place currently and look set to relinquish their crown. Meanwhile, Barca has already clinched the Copa del Rey and will move top of the La Liga table with victory over Granada on Thursday.