Everyone hates a transfer saga that just drags on forever (we’re looking at you Leroy Sane and Callum Hudson-Odoi).
Such was the case for former Ajax center-back Matthijs de Ligt as he mulled his options for where to spend the next stage of his career. Prior to putting his signature on a contract from the Old Lady, De Ligt was pursued by Bayern Munich, FC Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Paris Saint-Germain along others.
One of the oddest side-stories to De Ligt’s transfer was Manchester United’s theory that the De Ligt might not be a good signing because he might get fat in the future. In 2018, Manchester United’s Dutch scout Marcel Bout figured that De Ligt would eventually get fat and slow by looking at De Ligt’s dad, Frank. The prediction that De Ligt would start wrecking donuts-by-the-dozen ultimately pushed United to pass on De Ligt last summer — when he would have likely been less expensive and a lot more willing to join the Red Devils.
When the original story broke, The Mirror reported the following:
Manchester United missed out on the chance to sign Matthijs De Ligt – because they were told he would become too fat. Ajax skipper De Ligt has emerged as one of the most sought-after defenders in Europe, with the center-back set to spark a £75million scramble for his signature this summer. United, who are desperate to sign a central defender this summer, could have signed De Ligt for less than that figure last season – but decided against it because of concerns over his weight.
Dutch scout Marcel Bout, who was brought in by Louis van Gaal and remained in his role despite the former United manager’s sacking, scouted De Ligt extensively and recommended him to the club. But Bout told United that De Ligt’s father Frank was significantly overweight and predicted the 19-year-old Holland international would go the same way as he got older and lose his pace and power.
A scout who surmised that his dad was “significantly overweight” allegedly prevented a move last summer by De Ligt (for the record, we searched for pictures of Frank De Ligt and could not find anything that made him look morbidly obese, obese, or even somewhat obese...not that it matters anyway...and maybe we missed a telling pic, but really...who cares?).
Now that De Ligt has finally settled in Turin, the Netherlands international is utterly confused about why anyone is projecting that he is going to let himself pack on the pounds right at the start of what looks to be a phenomenal career ahead of him. AS captured a report by Voetbal International and De Ligt seemed a little perturbed about the whole story and sounded relieved to not be dealing with the rumor mill any longer:
Every day, there was something new. Suddenly, even my father was too fat and that’s why one of the clubs wouldn’t want me. That makes you go, ‘Come on, man...’
When it comes to his rationale on why he chose Juventus — aside of the Old Lady not projecting that he will be chubby — De Ligt said that his salary was not a primary concern:
Money played no role at all in my choice for a new club.
Oh well, maybe being a soon-to-be-fat footballer isn’t so bad; it certainly seems to be working out well for De Ligt. Allegedly portly center-backs seem to be all the rage anyway this offseason.
That’s correct — Bayern Munich has had its own “Fat-gate” with Niklas Sule. So, whether you are a Juve fan or a Bayern supporter, keep your head — and not your hips — on a swivel...you never know when a paunchy center-back might be laboring up the field in a stadium near you!