Chelsea and Manchester United on red alert with Matthijs de Ligt’s Juventus future in doubt, ahead of potential Premier League transfer for centre-back who has ‘fallen short’ of Virgil van Dijk comparisons

    Chelsea and Manchester United have been put on red alert over Dutch centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, with reports claiming his future at Juventus is in doubt.

    De Ligt, 22, joined the Old Lady from Ajax in 2019 for £67.5million, but has failed to make the impact expected of him in Turin.

    De Ligt is being linked with both Manchester United and Chelsea

    Getty

    De Ligt is being linked with both Manchester United and Chelsea

    The Netherlands international, who got his hands on the Serie A title in 2020, has reportedly asked the club to leave this summer, having decided this chapter of his career in Italy is over.

    According to Italian news outlet Corriere dello Sport, a meeting took place between the player, his representatives and the club over a new deal, which is understood to have got heated.

    The Dutchman will not return to negotiate over staying put, and is instead eyeing a move away from the Turin giants – which has alerted Chelsea and United to his availability.

    De Ligt is said to have been left unhappy with Juve chiefs trying to insert a £98m release clause in a new contract offer.

    The former Ajax star is under contract until 2024, and his current employers want to extend it for another two-years.

    He has made 117 appearances for Juve to date since signing a five-year contract three-years ago, and is currently the highest-paid player in the squad, earning a base of £7m, which can rise to £10m including bonuses.

    De Ligt played under ten Hag at Ajax and had plenty of positive things to say about him

    Getty

    De Ligt played under ten Hag at Ajax and had plenty of positive things to say about him

    A move to Manchester United would see him link-up with former boss Erik ten Hag, who he played under at Ajax.

    De Ligt has previously heaped praise on the new Red Devils boss in the past.

    “He has a lot of qualities [to succeed]. We will have to see how he goes,” De Ligt once said of Ten Hag.

    “He definitely improves players. He wants to do everything to make his team play better.”

    Chelsea are another side interested, with the Blues looking to bolster their defence this summer after losing both Antonio Rudiger to Real Madrid and Andreas Christensen to Barcelona.

    talkSPORT understands the Blues were keen on Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, before the Frenchman needed surgery to fix a long-term injury problem.

    Christensen and Rudiger have both left Stamford Bridge and Chelsea need a centre-back

    Chelsea FC

    Christensen and Rudiger have both left Stamford Bridge and Chelsea need a centre-back

    De Ligt could now be the man Thomas Tuchel turns to, but the club will need to act fast if they are to secure his signature.

    Manchester United also remain keen admirers of the 37-capped Dutchman, who will likely be selected in Louis van Gaal’s squad for the World Cup in Qatar in five-months time.

    They could opt for other targets, though, having been linked with Villarreal’s Pau Torres of late.

    Either way, with his qualities De Ligt looks ready made for the Premier League, and only time will tell if a move to England happens.

    Although, that’s something Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri told talkSPORT he can see happening, saying he would be a particularly good fit for Thomas Tuchel’s side.

    Speaking about the defender on Hawksbee and Jacobs, he said: “De Ligt hasn’t kept up the promise and potential from when he first came. He came and he really seemed a Virgil van Dijk in the making, but ready, because he came when he had reached the semi-finals of the Champions League with Ajax.

    De Ligt was tipped as the next Van Dijk, but has not reached the heights of his international teammate

    getty

    De Ligt was tipped as the next Van Dijk, but has not reached the heights of his international teammate

    “It seemed like it was OK, it would all be good, the best defender in the Champions League, let’s see.

    “But then, in some ways, he has yet to adapt to Italian football. He has made some terrible mistakes. He seems to fancy volley ball a lot, because it seems like eveyr two games there was something happening with his hand, a penalty or something, or sometimes just a madness for the ball. I don’t know, maybe he’s got gigantic hands, this guy.

    “I have to say he has improved. Not the way it was expected, but he has slightly improved.

    “When he arrived the promise was so good that Juventus signed him for €85m and he had this release clause that started from €120m, but every two years it would increase by €5m. So now, if you want to sign De Ligt automatically with his release clause, that now stands at €125m.

    “But his value is nowhere near that. I believe his value is approximately now €60m, so let’s say you have to spend around €70m to get him.

    De Ligt rose to stardom at Ajax, but his career has stalled at Juventus

    GETTY

    De Ligt rose to stardom at Ajax, but his career has stalled at Juventus

    “Juventus want to be tight and say, ‘No, this is the money he is costing on paper, so give us that money’ – but they will never get that money. 

    “At the same time, I said last week to watch out because Chelsea is coming for shopping in italy. They have lost many players to free agents and this means they need players who are available but are not super expensive.

    “De Ligt is forcing his way out because already for six months he has been saying, ‘I feel like this stage of my career now is over and I have to move on’.

    “Chelsea have lost Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen and they have to sign someone in defence and someone who is available, and I believe Tuchel likes the kind of defender De Ligt is.

    “Juventus play looking back [defensive-minded], but Tuchel is playing looking up front [attacking-minded] – that was the way De Ligt was raised at Ajax, so maybe he could perform better at Chelsea than at Juve.”

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