Liverpool handed massive blow in their pursuit of Dutch defender

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Paris Saint-Germain may have taken the lead in the queue, ahead of Liverpool, in the race for Ajax sensation Matthijs de Ligt.

Barcelona, Juventus, Manchester United and Bayern Munich are all also interested in signing the 19-year-old.

Barcelona appeared to be in the box seat in terms of attracting the Dutchman, but they have squandered that advantage.

Matthijs De Ligt has not been convinced by offer Barcelona have made to him, naming ‘sporting guarantees’ as the issue. This talks breakdown has allowed Paris Saint-Germain to gain ground in the running, as has the imminent return of Leonardo as sporting director in French capital.

The Brazilian ace is set to return to his former club, taking on his previous role in the process, which should hand Ligue 1 champions another advantage in Matthijs De Ligt’s race.

Leonardo has an excellent relationship with the centre-back’s agent, Mina Raiola, having arranged deals for Maxwell and Zlatan Ibrahimovic between them during the Brazilian’s previous spell at PSG.

The connection could be enough to edge the Netherlands international away from Catalonia and to the French capital.

Liverpool’s interest in the youngster appears to have cooled, with the expected enormous transfer fee likely to put them off, and thy are focused on other areas of the team to bolster.

With Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren all still at Anfield and capable of partnering Virgil van Dijk, the centre-back is not the priority area for Liverpool this summer.