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Barcelona 'end interest in Matthijs de Ligt'

Barcelona 'end interest in Matthijs de Ligt'
© Reuters
Barcelona reportedly end their interest in signing Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt due to the Dutchman's £86m price tag.

Barcelona have reportedly ended their interest in signing Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt.

The 22-year-old is believed to have informed Juventus that he has no intention of extending his current contract, which is due to expire at the end of the 2023-24 season.

However, the Old Lady are still prepared to demand a mammoth fee to sanction De Ligt's exit in spite of his contract situation, but he has been strongly linked with a move to Barcelona nonetheless.

Xavi's side have agreed a new long-term contract with Ronald Araujo, who is set to compete with Eric Garcia and Gerard Pique for spots in the Blaugrana XI once again in 2022-23.

Andreas Christensen will also arrive on a free transfer from Chelsea, but Barca's financial issues are allegedly holding up a deal for the Denmark international.

Juventus' Matthijs de Ligt pictured on February 22, 2022© Reuters

Now, Sport claims that Barca are set to pass on the signing of De Ligt due to his price tag, as Juventus are demanding at least €100m (£86.4m) to part ways with the Dutchman.

The report adds that Barcelona are keen admirers of De Ligt, but Juve's asking price and the centre-back's yearly salary of €10m (£8.6m) has made a transfer unfeasible.

The former Ajax man is instead expected to complete a big-money move to the Premier League, with Chelsea and Manchester United both said to have been alerted to his availability.

Chelsea are allegedly confident about their chances of winning the race for De Ligt, who has registered eight goals and three assists in 117 outings for the Bianconeri in all competitions.

De Ligt has won one Serie A title, one Coppa Italia and one Supercoppa Italiana at Juventus since his £77m move from Ajax, and Barcelona are now expected to turn their attention to other defensive targets.

Sevilla's Jules Kounde pictured on December 18, 2021© Reuters

Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde was widely expected to complete a switch to Chelsea, but the France international is now said to be holding out for a move to Catalonia.

Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly would also represent a cheaper alternative to De Ligt, with the 31-year-old's Partenopei contract only having 12 months left to run.

In terms of outgoings, Barcelona and Manchester United are reported to have reached a "broad agreement" for the transfer of Frenkie de Jong, who will cost the Red Devils an initial €65m (£56.2m).

Ousmane Dembele is also due to become a free agent at the end of the week, and the attacker will allegedly come to a decision on his future in the next 72 hours.

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Juventus' Matthijs de Ligt pictured on February 22, 2022
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