Matthijs de Ligt's future at Bayern Munich is back in doubt - putting Manchester United back on red alert.
The Dutch defender only joined Bayern in 2022 but has long been admired by some at Old Trafford, most notably Erik ten Hag with whom he shone at former club Ajax.
As Ten Hag looks towards further strengthening his squad this summer, developments in Bavaria could see growing interest from both parties when it comes to a reunion.
De Ligt has fallen down the pecking order at Bayern under Thomas Tuchel this term, with Dayot Upamecano and Kim Min-Jae preferred. There were reports that the relationship between Tuchel and De Ligt had become strained. It was claimed in January that the latter was dissatisfied with his lack of game time in Bavaria and could seek a move sooner rather than later.
The situation has not improved since. The 24-year-old has made just eight league starts so far this season, while he was also left on the bench for Saturday’s 3-0 humbling against title rivals Bayer Leverkusen.
De Ligt barely hid his frustrations while sitting on the bench and couldn't resist a subtle dig at his manager when asked post-game if he was fit enough to play. "Top fit" came his simple reply.
De Ligt has three-and-a-half years left to run on his current Bayern Munich contract. He joined from Italian giants Juventus back in July 2022.
Tuchel has previously claimed the club has no intention of selling the Dutchman, stating last month: “Matthijs came back injured from the national team and missed all pre-season.
“We played him a bit too early in the Super Cup, then he got seriously injured again and Min-jae and Upa [Upamecano] were starting games. But of course we’re planning with Matthijs, he is our player, a top player and a top character.”
But with De Ligt seemingly down as fourth choice at the heart of Bayern's defence, there will be more than few pricked eyebrows in Manchester, where the likes of Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof could all be available this summer.
The German giants take a break from their Bundesliga title commitments in midweek during a Champions League last-16 clash against Italian side Lazio. They then take on relegation-threatened Bochum next weekend.