After negotiations with FC Barcelona hit a wall and Bayern Munich backed away, Ajax phenom Matthijs de Ligt had to start looking at other options if he wanted to cash-in on the height of his popularity.
Enter the deep pockets of Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus. PSG was rumored to be in heavy discussions with De Ligt and some outlets even indicated his mother and girlfriend were touring Paris. Nothing substantial, however, developed from those reports.
Now, Juventus has jumped out to the leading position as the Italian club is reportedly in serious talks with De Ligt. Per a report from De Telegraaf, De Ligt and Juventus are closing on an agreement.
The club from Turin is willing to transfer more than 70 million euros to Ajax. The Dutch international could receive between 15 and 20 million euros annually (in salary) in Italy.
As reported in a recent Daily Schmankerl, Juve star Cristiano Ronaldo gave De Ligt a minor sales pitch at midfield after a recent UEFA Nations League game between Portugal and the Netherlands.
De Ligt claims that Cristiano Ronaldo asked him to join Juventus at the end of yesterday’s UEFA Nations League final. pic.twitter.com/sTQv6KXr4m— Raffaele (@ItalianoCalcio) June 10, 2019
Funny enough, it was De Ligt and Ajax that spoiled Ronaldo’s inaugural Champions League campaign with Juventus by stunning the Italian side in the quarterfinals of the competition.
If Bayern was going to seriously make a run at De Ligt, it was going to have to be before it invested in both Lucas Hernandez (Atlético Madrid) and Benjamin Pavard (VfB Stuttgart). Even with the loss of Mats Hummels to Borussia Dortmund (and also assuming that Jerome Boateng also transfers away), any coach would be hard-pressed to keep four top-tier center-backs happy when competing for two spots if Bayern somehow landed De Ligt.
Niko Kovac might already have enough trouble on his hands in keeping Niklas Süle, Hernandez, and Pavard all aligned in terms of their respective roles on the team and with playing time.
De Ligt is a generational talent, but it looks like he won’t be plying his trade in Germany any time soon.