Man Utd have already been sent clear message by Virgil van Dijk as talks ‘advance’

Bayern Munich are prepared to let Matthijs de Ligt go for the right price (Image: Getty)

Manchester United’s pursuit of a top summer target could leave Premier League rivals Virgil van Dijk and Nathan Ake worried. The Red Devils, under the new football operations leadership of Sir Jim Ratcliffe, are keen to bolster their squad in several areas during the summer transfer window.

With a central defender high on their list of priorities, it is understood that discussions are advancing to secure the services of Bayern Munich’s Matthijs de Ligt. The 24-year-old Dutchman, who previously played under United boss Erik ten Hag at Ajax, is still highly regarded by his former coach, according to Sky Sports Germany.

De Ligt made the move from Juventus to Bayern two years ago for a fee in the region of £68million, after Juve had paid a similar amount to Ajax in 2019. It is believed that the German giants would be open to selling for the right price.

Currently representing the Netherlands at Euro 2024, De Ligt has earned high praise from his Premier League-based international colleagues. Liverpool’s Van Dijk has been vocal about his admiration for the young defender, stating back in 2019: “He’s obviously an excellent defender, that’s clear.

“He can still improve a lot and he realises that, but playing like he does at that age is fantastic and I’m really happy to play besides him [for the Netherlands].”

Manchester City’s Ake has also lauded De Ligt, comparing him to Van Dijk. He once told Goal: “De Ligt is still so young but he has played so many games in top-flight football and for the Dutch national team.

“It’s amazing what he is doing at the moment. Everyone has full confidence in him. As you can see, he’s a great player.”

Virgil van Dijk is a big fan of Manchester United target Matthijs de Ligt (Image: Getty)

“He’s quick, strong for his age, very good in the air and on the ball he is very good. He scores so many from set-pieces so he’s got a lot of the same attributes as Van Dijk.”

If United can snap up De Ligt, who is yet to appear at Euro 2024 with Ronald Koeman preferring Stefan de Vrij, then Van Dijk and Ake will know the quality of player United will be getting. Despite his lack of appearances in Germany, the 24-year-old is still widely considered a top central defender in Europe and made 30 appearances for Bayern Munich in a injury-hit campaign last time around.

As well as the Netherlands international, United are also said to be looking to strike deals for PSG’s Manuel Ugarte, Bologna’s Joshua Zirkzee and Everton’s Jarrad Braithwaite this summer.