Manchester United‘s hopes of signing Matthijs de Ligt this summer have been given a boost, with the Dutch defender reportedly set to hand in a transfer request at Juventus.
The Red Devils and Chelsea have both been linked with the former Ajax man this summer, with Erik ten Hag no doubt keen to reunite with his former captain as he targets defensive reinforcements ahead of his first season in charge at Old Trafford.
A move for the 22-year-old seemed unlikely, due to the £103m release clause in his contract with the Serie A club.
However, that could soon be a non-issue, with Italian news outlet Corriere Dello Sport suggesting that he has now requested a move away from Turin, with United and Chelsea in the driving seat to sign him.
With De Ligt’s contract set to expire in 2024, the report claims that Juventus may be forced to accept a lower fee for the Netherlands international, as the two parties were unable to agree on a lower release clause in a new contract, which suggests that he is set to leave the Allianz Stadium this summer.
Given that Ten Hag handed De Ligt the Ajax captaincy when he was just 19, and watched as he produced some sensational performances in their run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2019, the 52-year-old is clearly a fan of the young defender.
It seems clear that defensive additions are required this summer if United are to challenge at the top of the league once again, as they shipped 57 goals in the top flight last season, more than relegated Burnley.
Although the centre-back is yet to reproduce for Juventus the form that he showed at Ajax, he has still been a regular in Turin over the past few years and averaged a solid 6.87 rating from WhoScored across 31 Serie A appearances last season.
Former Juve defender Andrea Barzagli was full of praise for the 22-year-old last year, saying: “De Ligt is a modern defender who likes physical contact, has incredible potential and a strong professionalism. He has been under pressure since he was very young, yet he is always calm.”
Therefore, he would clearly be an excellent addition to Ten Hag’s squad ahead of next season, so the Glazers should part ways with the €70m (£60.3m) that it would now reportedly cost to sign him.