Manchester United and Chelsea could be forced to compete for the signature of centre-back Matthijs De Ligt after reports circulate that the defender has stalled contract extension talks with his current club, Juventus.
The Dutchman left his boyhood club Ajax to join the Italian side in 2019 for a fee of around £67million.
His time at Ajax will be remembered fondly by their loyal supporters and specifically, his last season at the club which was nothing short of remarkable; completing an Eredivisie and KNVB Cup double for the first time since 2002, as well as reaching the Champions League semi-final after knocking out European giants Real Madrid and Juventus.
After reaching new heights with the club he loved dearly and as fans across the world marvelled at the star’s abilities as a teenager, it was time for the club captain to embark on a new path.
A one-way flight from Amsterdam to Turin saw De Ligt’s highly anticipated transfer saga reach its end, and it was time to settle into an entirely new team, league and style of play.
His final season with Ajax had almost every top club in Europe desperate for the then 19-year-old, but it was the Serie A winners that agreed a deal lucrative enough to make the defender put pen to paper.
Matthijs de Ligt’s Juventus career
His first season in Italy saw him crowned a Serie A Champion and finish runner-up in both the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana. The youngster was thrown into a squad of exceptional talent and experience; he spent his maiden campaign playing alongside Italian duo Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, with five-time Ballon D’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo leading the forward line.
A change in management saw former Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo appointed club manager, following the sacking of Maurizio Sarri. Despite a disappointing 20/21 league campaign in which they finished fourth, De Ligt was able to add to his silverware again by winning both the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana.
Last season proved to be Juventus’ most disappointing, however, as the club failed to win any title for the first time since 2011. Lacklustre and well below-par performances under new manager Massimiliano Allegri left the club solely competing for top-four in their remaining game, which they were able to secure.
Since the transfer window opened, rumours have been continually circulating that De Ligt is ready for a new challenge and actively seeking a move away from Italy.