MATTHIJS DE LIGT has been told to avoid joining Manchester United – as he may as well be moving to China!
The Independent claims a senior Barcelona chief made the dig after learning of United’s interest in the Ajax centre-back.
De Ligt, 19, is one of Europe’s most sought-after defenders after captaining his boyhood club to the Dutch title and a Champions League semi-final this season.
Barcelona are believed to be strong favourites for De Ligt’s signature as they hunt a long-term replacement for 32-year-old Gerard Pique.
But United are also ready to battle for the Netherland international’s coveted signature as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to rejuvenate his under-performing squad.
Comparing an Old Trafford switch to joining the ranks of the super-rich Chinese Super League, an important Nou Camp figure reportedly scoffed: “With the state they (United) are in, it’s not far off picking the Chinese league, career-wise.
“It’d be sacrificing development and ambition for money in the same way.”
Barca may have to up their efforts to land De Ligt quickly though, with Liverpool touted as a likely destination by the teenager’s agent Mino Raiola.
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De Ligt isn’t the only player United could be set to miss out on this summer.
Reports in Italy claim new Inter Milan boss Antonio Conte, who won the Premier League and FA Cup at Chelsea, is looking to win the race for Real Madrid outcast Gareth Bale.
Elsewhere, Swansea’s wing wizard Daniel James could be set for a move to Monaco, with United reportedly unwilling to meet his £20million price-tag.