Wednesday 17 July 2019

Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt set to snub Barca and sign for Juventus in €70m deal - reports

Ajax’s Matthijs De Ligt is one of European football’s hottest properties (PA)
Ajax’s Matthijs De Ligt is one of European football’s hottest properties (PA)

Shrivathsa Sridhar and Richard Martin

Netherlands teenage centre back Matthijs de Ligt has agreed a deal to join Italian champions Juventus from Ajax Amsterdam, Sky Italy reported on Saturday.

According to the report, Juventus will pay 62 million pounds ($78.99 million) for the Ajax captain, 19, who was one of the key players in the Dutch side's thrilling run to the Champions League semi-finals.

He will become new Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri's first signing after the Italian was appointed as Massimiliano Allegri's successor last week.

De Ligt said earlier this month that he was asked about a move to Juventus by Cristiano Ronaldo at the end of the Nations League final after Portugal beat the Netherlands 1-0.

"I didn't understand him at first. I was a little shocked, so I laughed. But I didn't say anything," De Ligt had told the Netherlands' NOS television.

"So soon after the game you are not at all concerned with it. You are disappointed that you have lost and that is the only thing you are thinking about."

Spanish media reports had said the highly-rated player was expected to join Barcelona and link up with Ajax's Frenkie de Jong, 22, who is set to move to Spain next month.

De Ligt broke into the Ajax first team aged 17 in 2016, becoming a regular starter the following season and soon became the most coveted defender in Europe thanks to his strength, anticipation and ability on the ball.

He played 90 minutes in 17 of 18 matches and scored three times in Ajax's Champions League campaign, which culminated in an agonising semi-final defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on away goals.

Reuters

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