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Blow for Man United as ten Hag’s ex-pupil set for new contract at Serie A side

Transfer News: Manchester United open talks for Matthijs de Ligt.
Transfer News: Manchester United open talks for Matthijs de Ligt. (Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images)

Manchester United suffer transfer blow as Juventus star Matthijs de Ligt comes close to signing new deal

According to Sky Italy (h/t The Sun), Juventus are close to tying down defender Matthijs de Ligt to a new contract in order to keep him at the club for a few more years, providing a transfer blow to Manchester United ahead of the summer.

de Ligt moved to Juve from Ajax Amsterdam in 2019, impressing the Italian club with his performances at the back for the Dutch giants. The year prior, he captained the Amsterdam side to a domestic double in Holland and also reached the semi-finals of the Champions League.

He has continued his dazzling displays in central defence in Serie A, becoming a regular feature for the Bianconeri alongside either Giorgio Chiellini or Leanardo Bonucci. This season as well, he has excelled on the pitch and provided stability to the rearguard, assisting the veteran defenders.

Matthijs de Ligt is close to signing a new contract with Juventus.
Matthijs de Ligt is close to signing a new contract with Juventus.

He would have made a fine addition to a United side that has craved a new world-class centre-back all season long, with their current crop of options proving to be underwhelming. Despite the signing of Raphael Varane from Real Madrid last summer, the situation at the club has not improved drastically.

ten Hag keen to reunite with de Ligt

Incoming new Red Devils manager Erik ten Hag is said to be a big fan of the defender, having worked together at Ajax. The pair was successful in the Netherlands, and the Manchester side was hoping that his former head coach’s presence at Old Trafford would be enough to convince de Ligt to make a summer move.

However, the 22-year-old is looking to extend his current deal with Juventus. The Holland international has a contract until 2024 with the Italian club, but his agent Rafaela Pimento is working to negotiate a further two-year deal for de Ligt. It is said that Pimento has also been in talks with Juve over a free transfer for Paul Pogba at the end of the season.

New Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag keen to reunite with Matthijs de Ligt.
New Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag keen to reunite with Matthijs de Ligt.

ten Hag will be keen to enter the transfer market in the summer to look for defensive reinforcements, given how the central defenders at his new club have performed all season. Varane has proven to be injury-prone, while club captain Harry Maguire has had ups and downs all term long.

Victor Lindelof has filled in whenever one of the first-choice defenders has been unavailable, but he too has not done anything to nail down a starting spot for himself. Meanwhile, Phil Jones and Eric Bailly have barely featured for the club.

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de Ligt could prove to be a good signing for the Red Devils, with ten Hag knowing the defender’s strengths and weaknesses, having coached and developed him at Ajax. The Dutch player was also his captain, proving he has a strong personality to take charge of situations and is reliable on the pitch.

A character like that could certainly do a whole lot of good for the United dressing room, which looks low on morale and energy when they take to the pitch. However, with de Ligt close to signing a new contract, the Old Trafford outfit will need to look elsewhere for defensive reinforcements in the summer.

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