Manchester United have launched a £70million bid for Ajax’s brilliant young captain Matthijs de Ligt.
United moved in when Barcelona refused to pay the Dutchman’s agent £12million to broker a move to the Nou Camp, after De Ligt led his Amsterdam club to a league and cup double.
Manchester City are also back in the frame for the 19-year- old.
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But sources in Holland last night suggested United have moved into pole position after agreeing to outbid any club and meet Mino Raiola’s demands for a £350,000-a-week wage and a huge fixer’s fee.
De Ligt, who has been named Holland’s footballer of the year, looked destined to join Ajax team-mate Frenkie de Jong at Barca.
But the Catalans are refusing to do business on Raiola’s terms.
The super-agent caused them problems when he took Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the club when Pep Guardiola was coach.
And that has paved the way for United and City to renew interest in De Ligt.
United’s hopes are complicated by De Ligt’s insistence that he will only join a club that has qualified for the Champions League.
But United are offering the most money as they look to rebuild under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
And Raiola is trying to push the centre-back towards Old Trafford.
It is understood that former United defender Daley Blind has also urged him to move to the Reds.