Chelsea's 2022-23 Premier League fixtures
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Manchester United and Chelsea transfer chiefs have reportedly been put on red alert after Juventus starlet Matthijs de Ligt was involved in an ‘explosive meeting’ – with crunch talks breaking down over a new contract in Turin.
Chelsea are in desperate need of at least one centre-back after Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen left on free transfers earlier this month, whilst United are keen to solve their defensive issues after an awful year under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick. The Blues have been linked with a move for Sevilla star Jules Kounde for the best part of a year, although that has failed to develop and drawn-out talks have yet to suggest a deal is imminent.
Meanwhile, United have been linked with various players including Ajax duo Lisandro Martinez and Jurrien Timber to name but a few as Erik ten Hag looks to put a stop to United’s defensive frailties. But the duo could lock horns in the summer, according to Corriere dello Sport, who suggest that De Ligt wishes to leave the Italian giants after contract terms broke down with the Bianconeri.
The report states that the Dutch prodigy is ready to call time on his career in Italy after a fiery meeting with club chiefs over a contract renewal. After joining the Serie A giants for £67million in 2019, De Ligt has told the club he wishes to be sold as a result of the fractured relationship.
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With Chelsea and United amongst many in Europe interested in his services, a bidding war is expected to break out to maximise any potential fee. De Ligt will refuse to return to the negotiating table after his fall-out, and with just two years left on his deal a sale could be arranged this summer in a bid to collect as much money as possible.
The former Ajax defender and his representatives were left unsatisfied by Juve’s demand of a release clause totalling £98m, believing a fee of £68m was much more suitable for prospective clubs to be able to make a swoop. If he wishes to leave, he could reunite with former boss Ten Hag in the north west after working with the United manager at the Johan Cruyff Arena in the early knockings of his career.
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And he recently waxed lyrical about his former manager, claiming Ten Hag has ‘a lot of qualities’. “He has a lot of qualities (to succeed). We will have to see how he goes,” De Ligt said of his former coach.
“He definitely improves players. He wants to do everything to make his team play better.”
With 117 appearances for the Old Lady, 38 caps for Holland and two league titles to boot, De Ligt is one of the most decorated 22-year-old players in the game. And having captained Ajax at the age of just 18, he could bring a level of leadership that United need to progress.
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