By 90Min
October 18, 2017

Barcelona are reportedly targeting Ajax centre-half Matthijs De Ligt as their priority signing in the January transfer window, as Ernesto Valverde continues his search for a long-term centre back option.

Since his arrival into Catalonia, Valverde has been adamant that the club sign a new central defender, with key duo Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano both the wrong side of 30. 

While Samuel Umtiti has displaced the Argentinian in the Blaugrana starting lineup, the need for Pique's long-term successor still remains.

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According to Mundo Deportivo, that replacement is preferred to be 18-year-old Ajax youngster De Ligt, who has been making waves in the Netherlands with his ability.

The problems that Barcelona have so far faced come in the way of finances. Though considered rich, the Camp Nou outfit are finding themselves priced out of transfers recently due to the incredibly inflated player prices in today's market.

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Alongside this problem is that clubs are refusing to sell - Liverpool's stance on Philippe Coutinho being a prime example - or the player does not want to leave.

However, the club feel that De Ligt will be reasonably priced, and won't require much convincing to jump on the first plane to La Liga.

If this plan fails, Valverde will turn his attention towards RB Leipzig's Robert Fernandez - also 18 - as his second choice.

With that said, Fernandez might even prove more difficult to sign than De Ligt, who isn't playing Champions League football with Ajax this season. Barcelona scouts believe that he is everything they want in a defender - quick, technical, and confident on the ball.

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