With lockdown well and truly in place, I’ve spent the last few days assessing if there is any truth in Manchester United weighing up a move for Matthijs De Ligt.
Once the transfer window is open, it’s inevitable that Ole Gunnar will look to add to his defence as well as showing the door to the likes of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo.
De Ligt is still one of the most exciting talents in world football, last year he had a terrific season for Ajax, whom he captained to the Eredivisie title and a surprise run to the Champions League semi-finals.
It’s not very often that a 19-year-old defender stands out in this competition and as a result, the big clubs began to circle – Juventus, Barcelona and Manchester United.
Unfortunately a £67.5million switch to Juventus followed but United were well and truly in the mix for his signature, as per Manchester Evening News.
Granted, his first season in Serie A has been mixed, Juve will have factored in teething issues when signing a then-teenager, but there are now suggestions that they could already be prepared to cut their losses.
So, should United make a move for a player turned them down last year?
Pursuing De Ligt could resolve Paul Pogba’s stalemate with United. The midfielder wants to leave, but it appears as though no club can afford, or is prepared to pay, anywhere close to United’s asking price – and that was before any potential financial ramifications of COVID-19….
However, a part-exchange deal involving De Ligt and Pogba could work. Any form of transfer would depend on Juventus taking the first step (at least publicly), given that United will not offer money plus Pogba for the centre back.
The young dutch lad has made mistakes in Serie A, but they have been due to a lack of concentration rather than quality – a trait which often separates good defenders from the elite ones. This could be improved with regular football and an experienced centre back alongside him.
He has played on both the left and right for Juventus, but operated predominantly on the right at Ajax, that versatility would lend itself to United given Harry Maguire plays on the left.
It could be one of many transfer rumours that will come our way over the next few weeks, but a move for De Ligt makes sense to me.
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