Chelsea’s defensive situation needs no explanation. The core of the backline which helped them lift the Champions League in 2021 is on its way out. Antonio Rudiger has joined Real Madrid, while Andreas Christensen is on his way to Barcelona. Cesar Azpelicueta is reportedly ending his decade-long association with the Blues, as is Marcos Alonso. They have identified a replacement though: Matthijs De Ligt.
De Ligt broke through the ranks at Ajax. He captained the famous 18/19 team to a semi-final, scoring vital goals against Juventus and Tottenham. He was in huge demand after that season, and it was eventually the Old Lady who got him. De Ligt has mostly played second fiddle to Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci so far. However, now that Chiellini is gone, De Ligt may have more opportunities at Turin.
But reports state that the Dutchman is looking to play his football elsewhere. A number of interested parties are closely monitoring the situation as De Ligt approaches the final two years of his Juventus deal. De Ligt has himself stated being open to looking for a change of scenery. In an interview with 90mins, he said:
Talks are being held and, when the time comes, I will decide whether I will extend or whether I want to look elsewhere. I always look at what is best for myself in terms of sporting project. Fourth place, two years in a row, is not good enough.
The club have said that to me and I have shown this season when Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci were injured, what I am capable of. I had to take the lead and it went well. I think that’s the next step.
Other Suitors of De Ligt
Chelsea are not alone in the race though. Manchester United boss Erik Ten Hag, who coached him at Ajax is looking to bring him to Old Trafford as well. Their city rivals too are in the mix. But reports suggest that it is the Blues who are leading the race.
It will indeed be a superb signing should Thomas Tuchel be able to get it over the line. De Ligt has showcased his world-class potential, and he is extremely young as well. He could be a starter at Stamford Bridge for the years to come.
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