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No delight in Barcelona’s pursuit of Matthijs de Ligt

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The Ajax defender needs to get tough with agent

Willem II v Ajax - Dutch Toto KNVB Cup Final Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

De Ligt or not De Ligt, that is the question.

A question that’s been asked time and again for the last few weeks. So much so that many Cules are beyond caring at this point.

Depending on which paper you read or which journalists you trust, the perceived stalling in any deal for the youngster is either down to his money-grabbing agent, Mino Raiola, or the player himself, keen to ensure he’s handed appropriate minutes.

With Luka Jovic having just signed for Real Madrid, citing Barcelona’s inability to guarantee him the amount of time on the pitch he believes he deserves, this could indeed be a stumbling block for De Ligt too.

After one of his best ever seasons, Gerard Pique certainly isn’t going to make way anytime soon, and given that the Ajax man isn’t a ‘leftie,’ it’s hard to see him displacing Clement Lenglet and/or Samuel Umtiti should the latter not be sold in this window.

Raiola’s shadow does still hang over the deal like a bad smell, however.

Despite effectively being banned until August 9, the Italian won’t let that affect his ability to do business. Indeed, it’s alleged that Manchester United have already contacted him about De Ligt and, more recently, AC Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma.

The issue for Barcelona is ensuring the deal gets over the line with the minimum of fuss - or not. This summer, perhaps more than any in recent times, isn’t one to be spent twiddling thumbs.

Simply put, either De Ligt wants to come or he doesn’t.

The whys and wherefores are important of course, but the basis for any transfer is a willingness on both sides.

Barca, to their credit, had their cards on the table very quickly, and if the youngster doesn’t properly commit one way or the other soon enough, then you can’t blame the Blaugranes if they pull the plug on the deal and look elsewhere.

After all, the board have been criticised often enough in the past for spending far too long on negotiations and then leaving themselves in a pickle come the back end of the transfer window.

At 19 years of age, De Ligt has shown himself to be a worthy captain and leader at Ajax, thanks to his defensive prowess and decision making.

However, it’s time to draw a line in the sand now. No more procrastinating.

Deal or no deal...