ARSENAL are shock contenders for Ajax whizkid centre-back Matthijs De Ligt.
The 19-year-old Dutch defender has worked with Gunners legends Dennis Bergkamp and Marc Overmars and is a huge admirer of the Londoners.
But Arsenal boss Unai Emery will have to boost his summer transfer budget by qualifying for the Champions League AND offloading Mesut Ozil — to wipe his £350,000-a-week off the wage bill — to be able to meet Ajax’s £70million valuation.
Emery will have a budget of just £40m if he fails to finish in the top four — or qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League — in his rookie Premier League season.
De Ligt is seen as an elite player after an amazing start to his career in Eredivisie and has already been handed the Ajax captaincy.
But Manchester City consider him a long-term option to eventually replace Vincent Kompany.
And Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp also wants a centre-back to compete with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
Serie A giants Juventus are preparing to bid for De Ligt in the summer.
But Barcelona have already agreed a deal to sign his Ajax team-mate Frenkie De Jong and will prioritise a forward over the Dutch teenager.
De Ligt, who joined Ajax at the age of nine, became the first defender to win the Golden Boy award last season.
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