Tottenham are taking a keen interest in Juventus star Matthijs de Ligt but face stiff competition from London rivals Chelsea in pursuit of the Dutchman.

According to the print edition of the Sunday Mirror (h/t Fichajes), Tottenham are considering a January move for Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt and have identified him as one of their primary defensive targets.

As per the report, Tottenham are ready to back their manager Nuno Espirito Santo in the transfer market to reinforce their entire project. They have prepared a shortlist of potential targets to resolve the current defensive issues, and one of the names that come out on top is Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt.

The 22-year-old Dutchman is one of the best young defenders in the world. Spurs have shifted their focus to Italian football markets since the arrival of Fabio Paratici as the club’s sporting director. The Italian is familiar with the defender from his time with Juventus.

De Ligt has established himself as a crucial component at the heart of the Bianconeri backline with his leadership and commanding displays, having made 80 competitive appearances for the club. However, the return of Massimiliano Allegri has cast doubt on his future since the Italian tactician’s infamous trait of relying only on well-established experienced players.

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The 22-year-old has made six appearances for Juventus so far this season. He didn’t even start against AC Milan and was only named in substitutes for the big match against Napoli. De Ligt’s existing Juventus deal ends in 2024 but has a €120 million release clause that gets activated in the summer of 2022. Juventus are said to be open to consider the sale of their asset and negotiate a lower price than the release clause

Tottenham’s defence has degraded ever since they lost the reliable pairing of Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweirald. Nuno Espirito Santo has worked all different combinations of centre-back partnerships in recent games but to no fruition. Davinson Sanchez, Japhet Tanganga, Joe Rodon, Cristian Romero and Eric Dier have all been tried, but it hasn’t worked out for one reason or another.

As a result, Spurs have shipped in 13 goals in their last five games in all competitions and looked incredibly shaky at the back against Crystal Palace, Chelsea and most recently Arsenal in Sunday’s North London derby. De Ligt would represent an ambitious signing and would fix a lot of their defensive problems.

However, he will not come cheap, and tt would be difficult for the Lillywhites’ to lure De Ligt without Champions League football. Add to that a solid competition from Chelsea, who are ready to stump up €120 million to secure the Dutchman’s services.

With Thiago Silva not getting any younger and Antonio Rudiger running down his contract, the Blues need to bolster their defensive roster with quality additions. A move to Stamford Bridge would be a much attractive proposition for de Ligt. Only time will tell whether these rumours of Tottenham’s interest in de Ligt have any substance or not.

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