MANCHESTER UNITED reportedly chose not to sign Matthijs de Ligt last season – because they were scared he would get ‘fat like his dad’.
The Ajax defender, 19, is set to leave his boyhood club this summer with plenty of Europe’s biggest clubs scrambling for his signature.
He is expected to be sold for around £75million, the world-record fee Liverpool paid for Virgil van Dijk, after his stunning season in the Eredivisie and Champions League.
But it is understood Manchester United could have signed him for a fraction of that price.
Former boss Jose Mourinho was desperate to sign a centre-back last summer but missed out on a number of key targets.
And according to the Mirror, United passed up the chance to sign De Ligt over concerns about his weight.
Dutch scout Marcel Brut – brought to the club by Louis van Gaal – cast his eye over the defender and was impressed by what he saw on the field.
But Brut was worried that he would follow in his father Frank’s footsteps by putting on timber as he got older.
That would in turn mean he lost some of his pace and athleticism.
The revelations follow reports that Manchester United sent two scouts who didn’t know each other to watch the same player in a match.
They reported back with two completely different dossiers – one suggested United should sign the player, the other said he was not good enough.
And as a result, United decided to pull the plug on any move to sign De Ligt whose value rocketed this season with his performances against Real Madrid, Juventus and Tottenham on the European stage.
But with the Red Devils missing out on the top four a move to Old Trafford looks increasingly unlikely.
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It was thought De Ligt was destined to join Barcelona alongside good pal Frenkie de Jong but agent Mino Raiola would demand a £13m cut – and has now been banned for three months, throwing any transfer into jeopardy.
However, as revealed by SunSport, United are set to be part of a four-way battle with fellow top-six sides Tottenham, Arsenal and possibly Chelsea – depending on their transfer ban – for Leicester’s Harry Maguire.
The England man is preparing to play his last Foxes game against Chelsea tomorrow before he could make a dream move.