New Red Devils’ boss Erik ten Hag is keen to add to his centre-back options ahead of his first season in charge at Old Trafford, with United having struggled from a defensive perspective next season. Meanwhile, the Dutchman is set to make a few sacrifices regarding his squad.
Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe and Aaron Wan-Bissaka are among the players likely to be sold, leaving the club low on defenders heading into the 2022/23 campaign. A number of options have of course already been mentioned as potential new signings ahead of the summer transfer window, with Ajax starlet Jurrien Timber having emerged as a priority target.
The 20-year-old has not requested to leave the Amsterdam club, though, and has been urged by former Red Devils’ boss Louis van Gaal that a switch to Old Trafford might not benefit his career going forwards.
Juventus ’ de Ligt could potentially emerge as a surprise alternative with Serie A giants Juventus hesitating over a new deal according to Corriere dello Sport. The Dutchman’s current deal in Turin is set to expire in 2024 and the club have been keen to extend his stay but as of yet, an agreement is yet to be found – leaving Juventus increasingly vulnerable to a potential sale if the situation drags on.
De Ligt has been noted to have interest in the Premier League in the past – Chelsea having been credited as admirers of the former Ajax star amid the departure of Antonio Rudiger. However, the protracted takeover process at Stamford Bridge – as well as having prioritised a move for Sevilla’s Jules Kounde – seems to have cooled their pursuit.
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It of course remains to be seen whether the Red Devils would be able to afford a move for de Ligt should he elect to leave the Juventus Stadium at any point in the near future. It is suggested that he has a £125m release clause written into his contract – a fee that looks likely to increase next summer. Whether Juventus would be able to demand that aforementioned fee for a player with just a year remaining on his deal is a different matter entirely.
United are not expected to have a considerable amount to spend under ten Hag this summer which could rule them out of making a move for de Ligt, albeit the sales of current squad members could generate the funds required to make an attempt for his services.
Tellingly, the Dutch defender has already hinted that he could leave Juventus should an agreement not be found on a new deal. Speaking with NOS, he said: “There are talks ongoing between me and Juventus. Once the right moment arrives, I will decide to extend or to look further.”