Southampton center back Virgil Van Dijk was reportedly the subject of interest from Barcelona in the summer.
According to reports in Catalonia, Southampton center back Virgil Van Dijk was the subject of interest from Barcelona in the summer.
In one of the longest transfer sagas of the window, Van Dijk's seemingly inevitable move to Liverpool never materialized, despite interest from both the player and the Reds to complete the deal, meaning the 26-year-old was forced to stay at St. Mary's for another half season at least.
According to Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona sporting director Robert Fernandez was looking at wantaway star but deemed the Dutch defender too expensive, while also not fitting the description of Barcelona's somewhat particular policy when it comes to ball playing center backs.
Alternatively, the report now says the Blaugrana have switched their attention to highly-coveted Ajax defender Matthijs De Ligt, who is seen as a long term replacement for current fan favorite Gerard Pique.
The 18-year-old has been hailed as one of the brightest sparks in European football, and the 'total football' philosophy that Ajax share with Barca means he would slot in as a perfect back up as he learns from the senior players.
The four-time European champions have struggled defensively in recent seasons, since losing arguably their greatest center back ever, Carles Puyol.
Samuel Umtiti's partnership with Gerard Pique is starting to take shape. However, their back-up options are somewhat sparse, especially with Javier Mascherano's career entering its closing stages.