Chelsea in pole position to sign Matthijs de Ligt
Manchester United and Chelsea are in pole position to sign Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt following a breakdown in contract talks with the Serie A outfit, Corriere dello Sport (today’s edition, page 2) claims.
The Netherlands international has been with the Bianconeri for the past three seasons, but he could be on the move after an unsuccessful meeting between his lawyer and the club.
De Ligt’s current contract expires in June 2024, and he has declined a new four-year deal that requires him to accept a pay-cut on his current annual salary of £6.9 million plus add-ons.
Meanwhile, the Bianconeri have also refused to lower his £98.6m release clause to £69.6m. This has apparently led to the Dutchman handing in a transfer request to leave the club.
Corriere dello Sport report that Chelsea and Manchester United are in pole position to sign the defender due to his desire to play in the Premier League. The report says de Ligt would cost at least £69m, although Juve may try and hold out for up to £77m if a bidding war ensues.
Chelsea have been regularly linked with De Ligt over the past few months. He fits the profile of player that manager Thomas Tuchel is after, and the news will come as a big boost.
The 22-year-old is excellent with the ball at his feet, but also possesses a strong aerial presence and can clear his lines. He could be an ideal fit on the right side of the back three for Chelsea.
At his age, the Blues would have someone that can play at the top of his game for the next decade. He would also provide leadership qualities, having captained Ajax during his teenage days.
However, Manchester United are also contenders for de Ligt’s signature. Former Ajax boss Erik ten Hag if looking for a new centre-back and it appears he’s keen on linking-up with his compatriot.
Chelsea may have the advantage over United after qualifying for the Champions League and they may also be more prepared to meet Juve’s asking price.
Man Utd have refused to meet Barcelona’s valuation of midfielder Frenkie de Jong and are no closer to finding a deal despite negotiating for weeks, so it’s unlikely they’d pay at least £69m for de Ligt.
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