Manchester United gave up their pursuit of Matthijs de Ligt before Ajax’s run to the Champions League semifinals because of concerns about his weight, sources have told ESPN FC.
The 19-year-old defender is wanted by Barcelona this summer after helping the Dutch giants to the brink of a first Champions League final since 1996 before Tottenham’s stunning comeback on Wednesday night.
Even before this season, De Ligt was one of the most highly-rated young players in Europe and was discussed as a possible target by United.
However, sources have told ESPN FC that prominent members of the recruitment team voiced worries that De Ligt, who lined up against United in the 2017 Europa League final, was vulnerable to gaining weight because of concerns about his family history, leading the club to ditch their pursuit.
While United have retained their interest, Barcelona are leading the chase for De Ligt after Ajax CEO Edwin van der Sar confirmed the teenager is likely to leave this summer.
United, meanwhile, are looking to bolster their defence with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer considering swoops for a full-back and a centre-back.