The 19-year-old's side were eliminated from the Champions League by Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night, after a run that has been so impressive it is attracted the attention of the continent's top clubs, and is likely to precipitate a mass exodus this summer.
Barcelona have already secured the signing of midfield star Frenkie de Jong, and sources say there has already been significant progress with De Ligt ahead of a move for around £60m. The Catalans feel they have persuaded the centre-half that the Nou Camp is the best place for his future, with that only emphasised by the existing connection between the club and Ajax.
All of Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Bayern Munich and Juventus have been looking at De Ligt with great interest, but the strong feeling from those close to the situation is he will end up at Barcelona.
De Ligt was at a loss to address the shock European exit after Wednesday night’s match, with the Ajax dressing room left speechless after the “unbelievable” circumstances following Lucas Moura’s 96th-minute winner.
“It’s a nightmare, like a dream that went bad,” the 19-year-old told Dutch television shortly after the 3-2 home loss saw Spurs go through to the final against Liverpool in Madrid on 1 June on the away goals rule.
“We played well in the first half, we had it all our way,” he added.
“We didn’t keep up the same pressure in the second half.
“We gave silly goals away. We were so close to the final – and then the ball goes in. Unbelievable.”
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