Man United missed out on the chance to sign De Ligt, they said he is too fat.———————————————————–√
Manchester United missed out on the chance to sign Matthijs De Ligt – because they were told he would become too fat.
Ajax skipper De Ligt has emerged as one of the most sought-after defenders in Europe, with the centre-back set to spark a £75million scramble for his signature this summer.
United, who are desperate to sign a central defender this summer, could have signed De Ligt for less than that figure last season – but decided against it because of concerns over his weight.
Dutch scout Marcel Bout, who was brought in by Louis van Gaal and remained in his role despite the former United manager’s sacking, scouted De Ligt extensively and recommended him to the club.
But Bout told United that De Ligt’s father Frank was significantly overweight and predicted the 19-year-old Holland international would go the same way as he got older and lose his pace and power.
Former United boss Jose Mourinho, sacked in December, wanted a centre-back last summer and identified De Ligt as his first-choice target, with Leicester ’s Harry Maguire a fall-back option.
But United vetoed the move for De Ligt on the basis of Bout’s belief the defender – now recognised as the best in Europe – would pile on the pounds in the coming years and lose his pace and power.
Now De Ligt is wanted by every top European club, following Ajax’s impressive route to the Champions League semi-finals, where they were beaten on away goals by Tottenham .
De Ligt’s Ajax team-mate Frenkie De Jong will play for Barcelona next season, after signing for the Spanish giants in a £75million deal, and De Ligt is expected to join him at the Nou Camp.
United’s failure to secure Champions League football next season has handicapped them in their pursuit of De Ligt and other top targets, who all want to play in Europe’s elite club competition.
With De Ligt set to join Barca, United have switched their attention to England star Maguire, who will cost them in the region of £65m if they are to prise him away from Leicester.
United have also been linked with a move for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, but have been put off by the £90m fee quoted by the Italian club.
Man United missed out on the chance to sign De Ligt, they said he is too fat.