Lionel Messi reportedly wants Barcelona to bring in Matthijs de Ligt from Ajax, which means sacrificing Samuel Umtiti to make space for the starlet.
As noted by ESPN, the Catalan giants have been heavily linked with the 19-year-old already as it’s suggested that it will take a bid of around €80m to complete a move.
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De Ligt has established himself as a fundamental figure for Ajax this season as they continue to chase a treble, as despite his young age he’s already made 112 appearances for the senior side while also earning 15 caps for the Netherlands.
In turn, he appears to have a very bright future ahead of him for club and country, while BBC Sport note that current teammate and another exciting young talent in Frenkie de Jong has already wrapped up a move to Barcelona this summer in a deal worth €75m+.
Perhaps with a long-term plan in mind, Don Balon report that Messi is keen to see De Ligt arrive at the Nou Camp this summer, and wants Umtiti to move on in order to create space in the squad for him while perhaps also raising funds to go towards his price-tag.
However, it’s added that the World Cup winner is eager to stay at Barcelona, and so it remains to be seen what decision the club takes as they already Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet and Jean Clair-Todibo as options in central defence at coach Ernesto Valverde’s disposal.
Umtiti has been a key figure for Barcelona since arriving from Lyon, but a troublesome knee injury has limited him to just 13 appearances so far this season.
Coupled with Pique and Lenglet emerging as Valverde’s first-choice centre-half pairing in his absence, the future certainly looks a lot bleaker than many would envisaged for Umtiti just 12 months ago.