Man Utd hold Matthijs de Ligt belief as Erik ten Hag transfer chat comes to light

Matthijs de Ligt is set to leave Bayern Munich. (Image: Getty)

Manchester United appear increasingly confident of bringing Matthis de Ligt to Old Trafford this summer after the centre back reportedly held talks with Erik ten Hag over his role in the side. The Red Devils have been heavily linked with the Dutchman, who appears certain to leave Bayern Munich when he returns from national duty at Euro 2024.

The pair previously worked together at Ajax, with De Ligt just 19 when the club were denied a place in the Champions League final by Lucas Moura’s now famous injury time strike for Tottenham in the second leg of their semi-final.

But that same summer, the player was sold to Juventus for an initial £64million fee with potential add-ons, spending three years in Italy before heading to Bayern.

He now appears surplus to requirements following the arrival of new coach Vincent Kompany though, and Ten Hag is now keen to pounce after securing his own short-term future at United. The 54-year-old this week agreed a one-year extension to his current contract, with his deal now running until 2026.

And according to the Mirror, Ten Hag has enticed his former player by promising him that he’ll be the defensive rock and play in a back four alongside Lisandro Martinez. The pair are now set to provide the foundations for a 4-3-3 formation.

United need to react following the departure of Raphael Varane upon his contract expiring. And despite forcing his way back into the fold last season, Harry Maguire only has just 12 months left on his current deal.

Erik ten Hag has previously worked with De Ligt. (Image: Getty)

It is of little surprise that the manager has sought to sound out the 24-year-old before attempting to push through a transfer. The player has form of speaking out when unhappy with team systems and tactics, most notably at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Then, he publicly criticised the formation used by Louis van Gaal. He’s since admitted his comments were ill-advised, and explained his preference for the system seemingly now put forward to him by Ten Hag.

‌“In hindsight, that remark was a very costly one,” said De Ligt, who was duly dropped from the starting XI by Van Gaal in Qatar. “I would not say it again, but it was in the heat of the moment and straight from the heart. And mentally I was in a different place at the time, compared to where I am now.

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“I grew up with 4-3-3 at Ajax. I always played that system. I liked it, but I can play in different systems. I think that 4-3-3 just suits me better – and it still does.”

‌Bayern reportedly want a fee in the region of £42m for the player, and are not prepared to negotiate anything less. De Ligt still has three years remaining on his contract with the club, following his £57m move from Juve.