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Barcelona set to beat Arsenal to the signing of one of Europe’s top defenders

Catalan giants have made an enquiry regarding availability of Dutch club's starlet De Ligt, who has only made 32 professional games

BARCELONA have identified Holland international Matthijs de Ligt as their main target during the January transfer window.

According to reports, Barca have made contact with Ajax in the hopes of pushing through a deal become the window even opens.

Mundo Deportivo report Barcelona will make a move for the Matthijs de Ligt in January

Mundo Deportivo report Barcelona will make a move for the Matthijs de Ligt in January

The 18-year-old, who is one of the most highly-rated young defenders in Europe, has attracted the attention of some of European football’s elite clubs including Arsenal.

De Ligt plays as a centre-back and became the youngest Holland debutant since 1931 when he started the World Cup qualifying defeat to Bulgaria earlier this year.

Spanish news outlet, Mundo Deportivo, claims Blaugrana want to sign him as their future defensive lynchpin and see De Ligt as a “young Gerard Pique”.

They also report that Ajax’s sporting director, Marc Overmars, has already told the Catalans that the Ajax academy graduate is not for sale.

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 Barcelona target Matthijs de Ligt could follow Marc Overmars to Arsenal

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Barcelona target Matthijs de Ligt has already been twice by Holland

 Marc Overmars could return to Arsenal as new director of football

Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars has already told the Barcelona that Matthijs De Ligt is not for sale

And the Dutchman, himself, has stated that he would only consider a move away if he is regular first-team football.

De Ligt said: “I prefer to be a starter at Ajax than the Barcelona bench”.

De Ligt is contracted to Ajax until 2021 and they are likely to demand a hefty fee for his services.

He came through the Ajax’s fabled academy and made his senior debut against Willem II in September last year.

And he scored 25 minutes into his debut from a corner, becoming the club’s second youngest goalscorer ever behind only Clarence Seedorf.