Matthijs de Ligt was one of the standout players in Europe last season and he almost helped Ajax reach the Champions League final. Barcelona, Liverpool, PSG, and Manchester United have been credited with showing interest in the player, who was set to leave Ajax after such a stellar introduction to top-level European football.
Barcelona appeared to be the favourites for his signature, but they failed to match Ajax’s valuation is even after multiple talks with the club. This has allowed Juventus into the frame and the Italian outfit have been keen to back new manager Maurizio Sarri with some new signings. After being knocked out of the Champions League in the quarter-final stages for the last two campaigns, Juventus are under pressure to do well in Europe and the squad was in need of some new blood.
At 19 years of age, de Ligt has the potential to go on and become one of the legends of the club. The young centre back will become the best-paid defender in Italian Serie A as he prepares to complete his £65 million switch to the Italian champions. The fee will be accompanied by a performance bonus of around £10 million. The youngster will be making around £10 million per year on a five-year contract. The defender has been left out of Ajax’s squad for pre-season in Austria.
Juventus themselves travel for their pre-season to Asia. The objective for the Italian club will be to complete the signing of de Ligt before they head to the pre-season tour. Sarri will be keen to have the player on the flight to Asia, where Juventus play against the likes of Tottenham, Inter Milan, and Atletico Madrid. This will be the first pre-season for Juventus with Massimiliano Allegri since the summer of 2014.
It appears that Cristiano Ronaldo has played a huge role in convincing the player to join the Italian giants. Juventus have already been reaping benefits of Ronaldo’s presence in a significant way. Now, de Ligt will get to play alongside reputed centre backs like Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci.
The challenge to play for Juventus will be quite high, as Napoli and AC Milan are expected to be bigger challengers than before. Juventus have been able to pick up eight successive league titles, which happen to be the best record amongst any club in the top five European leagues. The challenge to continue this run is bigger than ever before after the managerial change. Juventus have made no less than six signings in order to make the team play in Sarri’s style.
Gianluigi Buffon, Aaron Ramsey, Adrien Rabiot, Merih Demiral, and Luca Pellegrini will be the fresh faces in the Juventus team for the 2019-20 campaign. After a season in which de Ligt and several other youngsters helped Ajax to achieve incredible records, a lot of departures were expected at the Dutch club. It has indeed turned out to be the case with Frenkie de Jong already leaving Ajax for Barcelona in a £70 million deal.