ESPN pundit: Manchester United can sign Matthijs de Ligt on one condition

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Ajax fans celebrate wildly in the stands after Matthijs de Ligt's early goal put them 2-0 ahead on aggregate.

Speaking on ESPN FC, Nicol said that United are now not in a good position to pursue the young centre-back, given they can not assure him of Champions League football next season.

Signing a new centre-back remains a priority and, as well as De Ligt, they have been linked with the likes of Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly and Bayern Munich's Niklas Sule.

The teenager is believed to favour a move to either Real Madrid or Barcelona once he decides to leave Ajax, with the defender likely to have his choice from Europe's biggest sides.

Having said that, Todibo is primed to be the player who will succeed Pique, which makes the interest from Barcelona in de Ligt somewhat perplexing.

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The 19-year-old turned down a deal worth £60million to move to Old Trafford.

However, it appears that De Ligt will not be joining the English giants. "If he's a guy who just wants to take the most that's available, then there's a good chance he could go to United".

The Spanish champions have lodged a bid of £70m, and De Ligt is understood to be keen on the move.

They quote a source saying: "Matthijs is going to become the best defender in the world". However, a high ranking executive at the club has told ESPN FC there is still plenty of work to be done and that they are not taking anything for granted following the unexpected departure of Neymar in 2017 and their failure to sign Antoine Griezmann last summer. "He's one of the most in demand stars on the planet".