Manchester United stopped pursuit of Ajax's De Ligt due to weight concerns - sources

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.

- Mitten: Valencia's United exit reminds of better days
- Johnson: How Prem clubs' European qualification plays out

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.

Luke Shaw, United's newly-crowned Player of the Year, has nailed down his place at left-back but Solskjaer could look for a new right-back before next season.

Club captain Antonio Valencia is set to leave Old Trafford after Sunday's final game against, Cardiff leaving Solskjaer with just 33-year-old Ashley Young and 20-year-old Diogo Dalot.

Leicester's Harry Maguire and Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly lead the list of centre-back targets.