What De Ligt has said about Man Utd move as £70m link re-emerges

Jo Harrison

Matthijs de Ligt’s past comments about Manchester United have been revisited following fresh speculation of a £70million summer move to Old Trafford.

The Dutchman was linked heavily with a big-money transfer to United last year after a string of eye-catching displays for Ajax but the central defender opted instead to make Juventus his destination, joining the Serie A side champions for £67.5million.

However, he hasn’t impressed as expected with the Turin giants, fuelling reports that United are ready to go back in and bid for the 20-year-old.

Several rumours did the rounds last summer as to why United didn’t push harder to get the highly-touted defender, including a bizarre theory that the Red Devils were concerned about his father’s weight and that de Ligt would go in the same direction.

With a possible deal back on the table, de Light’s comments at the time to Voetbal International have come under further scrutiny.

He told the Dutch football magazine last summer: “A lot has been said and written and it seemed that I made a decision overnight, but of course that wasn’t the case.

“It was very annoying that so much was speculated. I tried to shut myself off, although with all those social media that is never entirely possible.”

Making reference to the comments attributed to United about his father, De Ligt added: “I have been laughing at such messages for a long time, but it also makes you tired at some point.



“There was something every day. Suddenly even my father was too fat, which is why a club [United] would not want me.

“Then you think ‘Come on man…’. At some point it gets annoying.”

Ahead of his eventual move to Juventus, De Ligt revealed to RTL4: “I am very excited about what could happen in the near future. I am also trying to stay calm, though.

“I view this as a challenge – that is the most important thing.

“There are several options and I really want to pick the best one. Logically, one option is better than another.

“Life abroad could be difficult, but I am still an ordinary Dutch guy, I am no different to the others. Perhaps living abroad will be more intense for me.”

While Juventus were top of Serie A (by a point from Lazio) before the season was suspended, De Ligt’s performances had come under criticism.

Another angle that could help facilitate a move to Old Trafford is that both De Ligt and United midfielder Paul Pogba are represented by agent Mino Raiola.

That has fuelled rumours that the two could be part of a swap deal with Pogba heading back to Juve where he made such an impression, scoring 28 goals in 124 appearances from 2012-2016, before his £90million move to United.

United would want to work to that same figure in any player exchange although it’s complicated by Financial Fair Play restrictions potentially limiting what Juve could pay.