Matthijs de Ligt 'decides' on Premier League transfer against Juventus' wishes

Irish Mirror   24/06/2022 10:21

Matthijs de Ligt is eyeing-up a move to the Premier League, despite Juventus offering the centre-back a new long-term contract.

De Ligt, 22, joined Juventus from Ajax in a £67.5million deal three years ago and has played 117 games for the Italian giants, helping them win the Serie A title, Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana. He is widely regarded as one of the best young defenders in Europe.

The Netherlands international, who helped Erik ten Hag's Ajax win a league and cup double in 2018-19, has won numerous individual honours during his blossoming career. He was named the Golden Boy in 2018 and in FIFA's World XI the following year.

De Ligt has just two years left on his existing deal and Juventus are desperate to keep hold of him. But, according to Corriere dello Sport, the talented player has decided he wants a move to the Premier League and told his current club during showdown talks.

Chelsea and Manchester United are both believed to be interested in signing De Ligt, but his release clause - thought to be an eye-watering €115m (£98.8m) - may put them off. It's believed the player's representatives want that figure dropping to €80m (£68.7m).

Juventus could be forced to decide whether to stick or twist. If they keep De Ligt on their books and he doesn't sign a fresh contract by this time next year, they will be under greater pressure to sell him and could be forced to accept a bargain offer.

Matthijs de Ligt has just two years left on his Juventus contract

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Yet perhaps that's a risk worth taking. Juventus will compete in the Champions League next season and success either domestically or in Europe could persuade De Ligt to sign a new long-term deal. Juventus haven't lifted the Serie A title since 2019-20.

Both Chelsea and United are like to sign a new centre-back this summer. The Blues will need to bring in reinforcements after senior defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen quit Stamford Bridge to join Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.

United, meanwhile, had the worst defensive record among top-six clubs in the Premier League last season - shipping 57 goals. Burnley, who were relegated, conceded fewer goals (53). Only seven Premier League teams had worse records at the back than United.

"I like Matthijs very much," said Jaap Stam in March. "When I was working in Ajax’s U23, he played in the U19 and he came to my team to train. I’ve always said that eve at 16, that he was already stronger than the senior players. And now he has improved a lot.

"While he did well in the Netherlands, we wondered if he would manage to break through at Juventus too and he did very well in that regard.

"Even at a bigger club and in a more difficult situation, he is still doing well. Maybe the coach doesn’t always pick him but he is young and he is growing and he will become one of the strongest defenders in the world."

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