One of the longest-running sagas of the summer transfer is now over after Dutch wonderkid Matthijs de Ligt moved from Ajax to Juventus for an initial fee of around £67.8m, plus potential add-ons of £9.47m. The Italian giants will pay the fee over the next five years, with the youngster signing a contract for the same period. The youngster’s deal is reportedly worth around £10.8m per year.
De Ligt had been the reported interest of a number of big European clubs, including Barcelona and Manchester United. However, Juventus have appeared his likely destination for much of the summer transfer window.
The hottest property in football
The last year has been a whirlwind one for De Ligt. The 19-year-old captained Ajax to the Eredivisie title and also to the Champions League semi-final, where a last-gasp Lucas Moura goal for Tottenham eliminated the Dutch giants.
During the successful campaign, De Ligt built himself a reputation as one of the finest young players in the world game. By the end of the season, he was also regarded as one of the best centre-backs, despite his tender years. It was not only his defensive ability that impressed, though, as his leadership abilities shone through for the team from the Dutch capital.
Those leadership qualities are what makes him such a hot player right now. There are very few players that captain their team at the highest level of the game at 19 years of age. The few that have usually go on to have magnificent careers. Everybody connected with the player will be hoping he enjoys a similar sort of career to those rare stars to have captained their teams at a young age.
The Dutchman’s fee may look like a big one. However, with the way that football is going, it could prove to be a bargain. In a couple of years’ time, the centre-back may be worth twice as much. Juventus tend to be clever in the transfer. This appears to be another smart move in the transfer market, even if it is not a cheap deal.
Juventus want to win the Champions League
De Ligt is the third big summer signing for Juventus after Aaron Ramsey, Adrien Rabiot and Gigi Buffon all join the club on free transfers. The latter returns to the club where he enjoyed the majority of his career. Ramsey and Rabiot look like shrewd signings for the team from Turin.
Their objective is no secret, Juventus want to win the Champions League. The Italian giants will start next season as one of the fancied outsiders to lift Europe’s elite trophy. Signing the likes of De Ligt will only improve their chances of getting to that big objective next season.
For the club with the profile and global reputation of Juventus, it is highly surprising that they have not won more than the European Cups in their history. Maybe the signing of De Ligt could help the Bianconeri put that record right in the coming seasons.
Can Matthijs de Ligt help Juventus win the Champions League next season?