Manchester City will follow up on their extensive scouting of young Ajax centre-half Matthijs de Ligt by making a £50million move for the Dutch international, Simon Mullock of the Sunday Mirror reports.
De Ligt, 18, is widely considered to be one of Europe’s best emerging centre-backs and has been of interest to City for some time now.
Director of football, Txiki Begiristain, flew to Amsterdam in April for talks with City’s chief scout in the region, Kelvin De Lang, with De Ligt thought to be at the centre of that discussion.
And after further consideration, is it reported that Pep Guardiola has sanctioned a move for the Ajax sensation, with the player seen as a long-term successor to club captain Vincent Kompany, who recently turned 32 and has struggled with injury problems for years.
Most of the stories from the press have pointed to City signing only a defensive midfielder, with Napoli’s Jorginho at the top of the list, and versatile attacker, with Bayer Leverkusen flyer Leon Bailey a name being mentioned more and more. However, if Mullock’s information proves to be correct, another expensive centre-back could also arrive this summer.
Adding a fifth centre-back who would require playing time could mean Guardiola plans to use a 3-5-2 formation more regularly next season, a system more feasible with Benjamin Mendy fit again, and that would justify having five high-quality central defenders on the books.
De Ligt, who is set to partner Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk for years to come in the heart of the Netherlands defence, is also wanted by Arsenal, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, but City believe giving him the opportunity to work with Pep Guardiola will lead to them winning the race for his signature.
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