Always expected to be one of the stories of the summer, Matthijs de Ligt’s transfer away from Ajax is starting to become a bit tiresome.
Should we expect anything else from a man whose representative is Mino Raiola? Probably not, yet there was something endearing about the 19-year-old that made us think this could be different.
Unfortunately, the Dutch sensation is taking as much time as he feels necessary to make up his mind about his future, leaving clubs such as Barcelona and Manchester United with growing anxiety as he sets off on holidays after a long season.
The centre-back has made it clear he wants to take the next few weeks to relax on a beach and ponder his next move, but with clubs planning on spending upwards of €75m on his services, skepticism is starting to build behind the scenes.
Marca have a lengthy article on the matter on Tuesday, explaining that Barcelona have started to doubt the player’s motives, as he has yet to give an answer on the contract offer they made him weeks ago.
Optimism has turned to pessimism, to the point where the La Liga champions feel they are being deceived by the Ajax starlet, as other clubs like Manchester United and Juventus join the fray.
Ernesto Valverde and co. are of the mindset that if they don’t get De Ligt this summer, they will continue with the centre-backs already at the club.
A fee of €75m has reportedly been agreed with Ajax for the young defender, and everything rests on his decision about the contract offer.
It could simply be a case of the Dutchman fearing he won’t start every game at the Nou Camp, with Gerard Piqué and Clément Lenglet forming a comfortable partnership at the back, while he would walk into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s starting eleven, knowing full well he could still end up at Real Madrid or Barcelona at the age of 23-24.
This comes after the player was reportedly advised of taking the Old Trafford move by those close to him.
Either way, the hope is fading in Barcelona, which could be good news for other clubs involved, notably the Red Devils, who have a far more desperate need in the role than the Catalans.
The saga continues.