Liverpool have been urged to make a “smart” move for Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt, with Mario Melchiot considering his fellow Dutchman to be the perfect partner for Virgil van Dijk.

Barcelona have been distanced from Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt by the club’s vice-president, with Jordi Mestre talking up the quality of those already on the books of the Liga champions.

One deal has been done by the Blaugrana with Eredivisie giants, with highly-rated midfielder Frenkie de Jong set to complete a €75 million (£65m/$85m) switch over the summer.

It has been suggested that he will be joined at Camp Nou by a fellow Netherlands international, with Barca considered to be leading the chase for De Ligt.

They are, however, far from the only side to be monitoring the 19-year-old’s situation.

Goal has revealed that Juventus remain keen, while the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool have also been mooted as potential landing spots.

Mestra insists that those in Catalunya are yet to make any approach for a much sought-after talent, with Ernesto Valverde already boasting a wealth of centre-half options at his disposal.

“I don’t know why they’re saying this because [De Ligt] hasn’t signed,” Mestre told Sky. “[Gerard] Pique is evidently one of the best central defenders in the world, if not the best.

“After him, we have players like [Clement] Lenglet, [Samuel] Umtiti and we’ve signed a very young player in [Jean-Clair] Todibo. The defenders we already have are of the highest level.

“In De Ligt’s case, we’ll speak with the sporting director at the end of the season and we’ll speak not about De Ligt, but about what they say.”

While no approach has been made as yet, one may be in the offing.

It was gathered that France international Umtiti could be heading out of Barcelona in the next transfer window, with the World Cup winner having no shortage of suitors.

Pique, meanwhile, is now 32 years of age and De Ligt would be a proven long-term successor to an iconic figure at Camp Nou.

A scramble for his signature is expected to be sparked, but it remains to be seen whether Barca will form part of that pursuit.

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