Spanish La Liga Champions Barcelona have all but been ruled out of the race to sign highly rated Ajax Amsterdam defender Matthijs De Ligt.
De Ligt has been strongly linked with a move to Liverpool and Reds centre back Virgil Van Dijk has already talked up the possibility of linking up with the 19-year-old at club level.
Both players feature together for the Dutch national team.
According to the publication from popular English media outlet Daily Mail, Barcelona won’t be able to follow up the signing of Ajax Amsterdam midfielder Frenkie De Jong with the transfer of his club and international teammate De Ligt.
Barcelona secured the transfer of De Jong last month in a deal worth £75m though the 21-year-old is not expected to join his new teammates until this summer.
Dutch international centre back De Ligt will likely command the same £75m transfer fee with several major European clubs keen to sign him.
Barcelona collected a £123m loan fee from two US investment firms and are said to be short of funds to sign a new centre back in the summer.
Barcelona have already signed young French defender Jean-Clair Todibo from Toulouse with the quartet of Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti, Christian Lenglet and Todibo seen as the four centre backs for next season.
The Catalan giants’ top priority in the summer is the signing of a long-term replacement for the ageing Luis Suarez.