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How Juventus poached Turkish wonderkid Kenan Yıldız from Bayern Munich

It all went down as Bayern were closing on on Matthijs de Ligt.

Wales v Turkey: Group D - UEFA EURO 2024 European Qualifiers Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

In the same summer transfer window where Bayern Munich scored former Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt from Juventus, the Serie A side poached a talented youth product from the Bayern campus: Kenan Yıldız, now 18 and scoring international goals against Germany. The youngster was signed on a free transfer.

Ex-Juventus chief scout Matteo Tognozzi tells how all that went down — and his biggest fear at the time.

“We took Kenan away from Bayern Munich in the days when their sporting director [Hasan] Salihamidžić was in Turin to close the De Ligt deal,” Tognozzi was quoted saying in Tuttosport (as captured by @iMiaSanMia). “So maybe we risked ruining the deal. We feared that the operation could have repercussions on De Ligt’s sale for over €80 million. But luckily, there were rumors that Kenan himself was going to sign for [FC Barcelona] and we let everyone believe it for a while.”

Smoke, mirrors, and subterfuge. In the end it worked out for all parties: Bayern got its man in De Ligt— some €80m still regarded as a cool bargain for the superstar center-back — while Juventus got the young attacking midfield prodigy Bayern wasn’t able to retain anyway.


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