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BARCELONA

De Ligt: Juve and Barça to come to an agreement over Umtiti

De Ligt: Juve and Barça to come to an agreement over Umtiti

WOLFGANG RATTAY

REUTERS

The Liga and Serie A champions-elect are both interested in the Ajax defender, but Barça are in pole position leaving Juve the option of signing the France defender instead.

Both Barcelona and Juventus are keen to sign Ajax youngster Matthijs de Ligt this summer but the Netherlands international appears to be a lot closer to Camp Nou than Turin, given Barça’s long Dutch heritage and the arrival of his current teammate Frenkie de Jong next season.

That has led Juventus to come up with a plan to cover their own defensive requirements with Andrea Barzagli deciding this weekend to retire at the end of 2018-19. According to Rai Sport, the Serie A champions are willing to pull out of the running for De Ligt to avoid a bidding war and will negotiate separately with Barça for Samuel Umtiti.

Barça will listen to Juve offer for Umtiti for a clear run at De Ligt

The Italian media outlet reports that Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici has been in touch with Barça about the proposal and the Italian side are expected to face little reluctance from the Camp Nou board with Gerard Piqué, Clément Lenglet, Thomas Vermaelen and Jean-Clair Todibo providing a blend of youth and experience in the central defensive positions.

However, Barcelona are unlikely to simply hand Umtiti over and Juve may have to go as high as 80 million euros for the 25-year-old, who the International Centre for Sports Studies consider to be the highest-value defender in world football.

Ajax coach Erik ten Hag also threw the name of Bayern Munich into the mix recently, stating that he was sure De Ligt would leave in the summer but it was unclear whether his destination would be Barcelona or Bavaria.