Juventus have reportedly rejected respective approaches from Barcelona and Chelsea for star defender Matthijs de Ligt.
According to a report by Italian publication Tuttosport, Barcelona are facing stiff competition from Chelsea in the race to sign Matthijs de Ligt in the summer transfer window. However, neither club is going to sign the 21-year-old Dutch international anytime soon, with Juventus knocking back an approach from both the European giants.
Matthijs de Ligt has long been regarded as one of the most promising young defenders in Europe. The 21-year-old, who first raised eyebrows when he not only became a mainstay at the back for Ajax but also became club captain while still in his teens, has continued his upwards trajectory in Turin, becoming a regular feature for the Bianconeri.
Till date, de Ligt has featured 71 times for Juventus, even chipping in with 5 goals and 2 assists. But with the Italian giants struggling to end the season inside the top four, speculation around de Ligt’s future has been growing. There is no shortage of interest in the Dutch international either, as illustrated by the fact that both Barcelona and Chelsea have made an approach to Juventus.
Barcelona are set for a defensive overhaul as they plan for life without Gerard Pique, who is in the final phase of his career. Furthermore, there are question marks around the futures of French pair Samuel Umtiti and Clement Lenglet, which is why the interest in de Ligt makes sense despite the fact that Eric Garcia is also expected to arrive from Manchester City.
In recent weeks, it had been suggested that Barcelona were set to approach Juventus for the 21-year-old, which has now proven to be the case. However, the Blaugrana are not alone in pursuit of de Ligt, who is also being courted by Chelsea this summer, and for good reason.
While Thiago Silva has been an invaluable addition to the Blues’ squad, it is worth noting that the Brazilian is 36 and approaching the end of his career. With Fikayo Tomori also being tipped to join AC Milan permanently, it is prudent for Chelsea to scour for a centre-back. To that end, the west Londoners have been linked with Nikola Milenkovic among others, with de Ligt a viable target as well.
Barcelona and Chelsea, though, have been jolted in pursuit of the 21-year-old, with Juventus having no intention of parting ways with their prized asset. However, if the outgoing Serie A champions do miss out on a top four finish, it will be interesting to see if de Ligt agitates for a move to secure Champions League football, while it also remains to be seen if Barcelona can raise the necessary funds to sign him.