Transfer Talk: Turin trouble as Bayern close in on De Ligt
Matthijs de Ligt has been heavily linked with a move away from Turin this summer, with Europe’s elite clubs pursuing a move for the Dutchman.
Juventus’ centre-half has attracted attention from Premier League outfits Chelsea and Manchester City but Bayern Munich are reportedly the frontrunners for his signature.
As the former Ajax man nears a potential exit, we take a look at why he may depart the Old Lady and what he could bring to the Bavarians.
De Ligt signed for Juventus for £63million on a five-year deal in 2019 and at 22, is yet to reach his prime years.
With only two years left on his contract, Juventus will be desperate to ensure his future is resolved this window to avoid potentially losing him for a heavily reduced fee next summer.
There have reportedly been breakdowns in contract renewal negotiations as club chiefs want the defender to take a pay cut due to their problematic financial situation.
De Ligt and his agent also want Juve to reduce his current release clause to around £70m, which has also stalled negotiations.
Juventus’ No4 refused to rule out a move away last month when asked about his future.
He said: "Negotiations are ongoing at the moment and when the time comes I will decide whether to extend or look elsewhere.
"I always look at what is best for me in terms of the sporting project.
"Two consecutive fourth-place finishes are not enough, we have to make progress in that direction because these are disappointing results. Juventus are a club that always wants and must become champions."
The Old Lady will be dreading the thought letting De Ligt go as veteran Giorgio Chiellini has left for the MLS, while the ageing Leonardo Bonucci, 35, is their only other experienced centre-back in the squad.
Bayern have been facing their own problems in this position as boss Julian Nagelsmann has had to chop and change his back line in his first season at the club.
The Germans opted to sign Lucas Hernandez for a Bundesliga-record £67.5m fee over De Ligt, who they had been tracking at the time, in 2019.
Hernandez, 26, is yet to fulfil his full potential, while Niklas Sule has made the move to Borussia Dortmund on a free transfer.
Dayot Upamecano played the majority of games at centre-half last campaign but has failed to impress following his £36m move from RB Leipzig and is not seen as a long-term option at the back.
De Ligt is right-footed like Upamecano, fitting the profile of player Bayern are looking for to line up alongside Hernandez.
Nagelsmann's outfit looked vulnerable at the back on numerous occasions last season and De Ligt’s experience at his young age makes him a very attractive target.
Delightful De Ligt
De Ligt was integral for Juventus last season, making 42 appearances in all competitions and playing in all but one of their Champions League matches.
When he arrived in Turin, he had the tough task of replacing either Bonucci or Chiellini but slotted straight into the XI and made 36 appearances in his debut season.
The Dutchman is very strong in the air, has the physicality to successfully win duels and is positionally astute.
His passing ability and composure on the ball makes him an ideal fit for Nagelsmann’s system, having mastered his craft in Ajax's prestigious academy.
All parties involved would somewhat benefit from this transfer, as Juventus could use a substantial fee to help their finances and still have time to find a replacement.
De Ligt meanwhile would have a better shot at European glory with the German champions.