A few months ago, reports were going around that Matthijs de Ligt was on his way out of Juventus as early as the upcoming summer transfer market. The 22-year-old Dutch center back has been on the radar of top clubs across Europe for some time now. The player’s contract expires in June 2024 and he has a release clause of around €150m. Given that the Dutchman is the best young defender in the world right now, many clubs are ready to make an offer to sign him next summer.
To fuel speculation even further, his agent Mino Raiola said to Dutch television about the future of his client. “Matthijs de Ligt is now ready for a new step – he thinks that too”. The Dutch agent added, “I think we all know which clubs to mention for Matthijs de Ligt as ‘next step’. We will see this summer. Premier League? It can be Barcelona too, or Real Madrid or Paris Saint-Germain…”.
Now with an agent provocateur like Raiola, one has to wonder how serious this statement is, and what its true intention of making such comments are. Were his motives to get de Ligt to truly leave the club this summer, or was it meant to raise the ears of Juventus management, to get them to turn their attention towards a player that has been so crucial for the club, especially this season with Chiellini and Bonucci at an advanced age and can no longer be depended on. The 22-year-old has really proven he is one of the best, if not the best center back in the world, and should be compensated as such.
For de Ligt’s part, he seems to be happy, so far, with his stay in Turin, and as shown on social media posts, de Ligt and his girlfriend seem to be enjoying and have adapted well to Italian culture. A tweet from the ever-reliable Nico Schira said, “Matthijs de Ligt is in fact extremely happy playing and living in Turin at the moment and would be open to a contract renewal with only one exception, Juventus would need to lower the release clause that right now is set at €150M.”
De Ligt and his girlfriend singing L’Italiano by Toto Cotugno.
— Calcio Direct (@CalcioDirect) February 14, 2022
And even today, in an interview with the Dutch channel “Rondo”, de Ligt made his feeling with the club known when he told them “I noticed that Juve is giving me more and more responsibility. Now Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci are often injured, so there is even more pressure on my shoulders, which I like. I realize that I can take on an important role.”
This is a player who in the last year has grown physically, mentally and has the presence and maturity of a man in his 30s both on and off the pitch. With de Ligt seemingly happy in Turin and has proven to be the real deal as far as being one of the top defenders in the world even at the young age of 22, it is my belief that Juventus would be wise to break the bank on the young Dutchman. With Juventus historically being a club whose identity has always been focused on having a strong defensive backbone, de Ligt is the perfect player to be the highest-paid player on the team, be given the captain’s armband, and be that example, the gold standard for every Juventus player, present and future.