Italian powerhouses Juventus are on the hunt for star Dutch defender and Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt and are reportedly prepared to pay more than 70 million euros, according to De Telegraaf newspaper Saturday.
The teenage centre-back has previously been linked to a possible transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, but Juventus “are seducing the Ajax defender with a contract almost impossible to refuse, and star player Cristiano Ronaldo’s charms”, the paper reported.
It comes after television cameras picked up a short, but genial conversation between Ronaldo and De Ligt after the Netherlands lost 1-0 against Portugal in the Nations League final earlier this month.
Asked by the Dutch public broadcaster NOS at the time whether Ronaldo wanted to know if De Ligt, 19, would join him at the Turin-based Juventus, De Ligt said: “That could well be, yes.”
“I didn’t understand him at first. I was a little shocked, so I laughed. But I didn’t say anything,” De Ligt pointed out.
Should De Ligt decide to move to the Italian club he could rake in between €15 to 20 million euros annually, the NOS added, saying the contract would last five years.
It would not be the first time a well-known Ajax player made the move to the Italian club, with former Dutch international goalkeeper and current Ajax CEO Edwin van der Sar playing 66 games for Juventus between 1999 and 2001, among others.
De Ligt’s manager and sometimes controversial football agent, the Dutch-Italian Mino Raiola, is also said to keep “warm ties” with Juventus, De Telegraaf said.
But the paper said a transfer to PSG wasn’t completely out of the picture: “It should never be written off.”
Spanish giants Real Madrid have reportedly cooled in Christian Eriksen and have made Paul Pogba their priority target.
Two weeks ago, the Dane was tipped to don the Los Blancos jersey after a flurry of rumours from various outlets and his admission to wanting a new challenge caused quite a few ripples.
But recent developments, revolving around Paul Pogba’s desire to leave Manchester United have brought around a twist in the tale.
Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane is a huge fan of his countryman and Goal report that he has been made the primary transfer target.
However, this deal might not be as straightforward as it seems. Madrid have spent more than €300 million in the transfer window already, having roped in Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Rodrygo, Eder Militao and Ferland Mendy.
Before they acquire Pogba’s signature, the Spanish capital club will have to oversee some departures and the list could begin with Welsh star Gareth Bale.
Los Blancos could have to compete with Juventus after the Italian club’s Sporting director Fabio Paratici confirmed they still admire 26-year-old.
Real Betis full-back Junior Firpo refused to provide any insight regarding Real Madrid’s interest in him after various sources claimed that a move is very much on the cards.
Firpo is currently playing for Spain at the European Under-21 Championships and prefers to focus on the job at hand over transfer speculation.
When asked if the Spanish giants made contact, the 22-year-old suggested that the question should be directed at them. He maintained that his focus now is to perform for his country at the Euros.
“Did Madrid call me? If you want to know, you can ask them,” he said to El Larguero, as cited by Marca.
“I’m here with the national team and that’s all I want to think about.”
Espanyol striker Borja Igesias has been linked with a move to Betis. Although Firpo refused to speak about transfers, he did admit that there have been murmurs of an arrival.
“I’ve heard something, but I don’t want to get involved in club issues now,” he said.
“It would be a great signing [if Iglesias arrived].
“He’s scored a lot of goals in his first season in La Liga [with Espanyol]. He’s a great striker and would raise the level of the team.”