Manchester United missed out on the signing of rising star Matthijs de Ligt over concerns that he would become too fat.
The Ajax captain looks set for a big money move this summer after emerging as one of Europe’s hottest young properties this season, having guided his side to the Champions League semi-finals.
Man United reportedly close to signing Daniel James. Be interesting to see reaction from fans to this one: tired of expensive mercenaries and 'name' players. Want untapped, young potential. Which this is.
— Alex Shaw (@AlexShawESPN) May 10, 2019
Man United reportedly close to signing Daniel James. Be interesting to see reaction from fans to this one: tired of expensive mercenaries and ‘name’ players. Want untapped, young potential. Which this is.
De Ligt will likely fetch a fee of around £75m, a figure which would reflect the heroics of his exploits in Amsterdam this term but the Mirror report that United could have signed the Dutchman for a much smaller fee just one year ago.
It is said that the Red Devils turned down the chance to sign the central defender because of concerns over his weight, following Marcel Bout’s extensive scouting of De Ligt.
The Dutch scout was recruited at Old Trafford by Louis van Gaal and has remained in place despite his compatriot’s departure. Bout apparently recommended De Ligt to United as a potential signing, but with one significant warning.
It is suggested that Bout was aware that De Ligt’s father Frank was ‘significantly overweight’, and subsequently held concerns that similar issues could affect the 19-year-old’s pace and power in the long term.
Former United boss Jose Mourinho had been desperate sign a central defender towards the end of his tenure and missed out on the signing of Leicester’s Harry Maguire prior to his sacking in December, but De Ligt was the Portuguese’s top target.
De Ligt is now set to spark a bidding war among the continent’s elite sides this summer after leading Ajax’s stunning Champions League run this term, whilst United’s failure to qualify for Europe’s elite competition this season is likely to see them miss out on the Dutchman’s signing.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) May 11, 2019
The Red Devils are instead expected to turn their attentions back towards Leicester star Maguire, who is likely to cost in the region of £65m, having been put off by the £90m valuation of Napoli superstar Kalidou Koulibaly.
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