Arsenal have emerged as surprise contenders for Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt, but they’d have to pay £70m to secure the 19-year-old’s signature, according to a report.

GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - APRIL 20: (L-R) Matthijs de Ligt and Davinson Sanchez of Amsterdam celebrate the second goal with Davy Klaassen of Amsterdam (L) during the UEFA Europa League quarter final second leg match between FC Schalke 04 and Ajax Amsterdam at Veltins-Arena on April 20, 2017 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)
GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY – APRIL 20: (L-R) Matthijs de Ligt and Davinson Sanchez of Amsterdam celebrate the second goal with Davy Klaassen of Amsterdam (L) during the UEFA Europa League quarter-final second leg match between FC Schalke 04 and Ajax Amsterdam at Veltins-Arena on April 20, 2017, in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

The S*n write that Arsenal are ‘shock contenders’ for the Ajax defender, who they claim is a ‘huge admirer’ of the Gunners, having worked with Dennis Bergkamp and Marc Overmars at his current club.

Understandably, given interest from the likes of Manchester City, Juventus and Barcelona, the main problem is the price it would cost to land the youngster. To be able to meet Ajax’s £70m valuation Arsenal would likely have to qualify for the Champions League and offload one or two players.

Reports in Italy recently suggested Arsenal had sent representatives to watch de Ligt and his teammates in action in the Champions League, during Ajax’s clash with Real Madrid. Kike Marin also claimed that The Gunners were looking at the centre-back to strengthen their defence in the January window, but admitted a deal looked ‘very difficult’.

In the end, Arsenal didn’t end up signing anyone, other than Denis Suarez on loan. If they did want to go big on a game-changing centre-back for the future though, the Ajax captain would fit the bill. For now, it seems rather unlikely.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.