Juventus have finally announced the signing of highly-rated Dutch centre-back Matthijs De Ligt – but his stay in Turin gives hope to others of a future transfer.
The 19-year-old, who had previously been linked with Manchester United and Barcelona, has signed a five-year contract with the Serie A champions, having left Dutch champions Ajax.
Juve have paid an initial fee of €75m euros (£67.8million) for a player who helped Ajax reach last season’s Champions League semi-finals and win the Eredivisie title, while reaching the Nations League final with Holland.
The 19-year-old defender has emerged as one of European football’s hottest properties this summer and his signing for Juventus concludes weeks of speculation over his future.
A host of Europe’s top sides had been mentioned as suitors, with Manchester United, Barcelona, PSG, Juventus and Liverpool all reporting to have considered moves for the teenager.
De Ligt could have earned more by moving to PSG amid claims they were ready to pay the Dutch defender an astonishing €340,000 a week.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfc) July 18, 2019
But one man who will be quids in regardless of where he signs is the player’s Dutch-Italian super-agent Mino Raiola, who has reportedly earned close to €11m from the transfer of De Ligt – a cut of around 15%.
Furthermore, there are reports that De Ligt’s contract at Juventus contains a future sell-on clause that may not prove too prohibitive from some of the world’s very top hitters coming back in for the player.
Understood to be protected for a minimum two seasons, Spanish daily Marca claims an exit clause – set to kick-in from summer 2021 – guarantees De Ligt can move on again should any club match his €120m (£108m) fee.
While that fee looks pretty prohibitive now given the world record fee for a defender currently stands at the £75m Liverpool paid for Virgil van Dijk, it’s likely to be the going rate for the world’s top centre-halves in two years time – giving future hope to the likes of United and Barcelona.
De Ligt joins Cristian Romero, Luca Pellegrini, Aaron Ramsey, Adrien Rabiot and Merih Demiral as a new signing at Juve, with recently-appointed head coach Maurizio Sarri also bringing veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon back to Turin ahead of a bid for a ninth consecutive league title for the Bianconeri.