Matthijs de Ligt done a £67.5m transfer from Ajax to Juventus on Thursday.
It is far a signal of intent from the Italian champions to rob one among Europe’s most sought-after gamers and an plucky step up by the 19-year-outdated Dutch worldwide, who changed into a product of the Amsterdam club’s prolific academy.
Nevertheless what are Juve getting for his or her cash, what will De Ligt be hoping for in Turin and the draw can every be sure that that right here’s the good fit between participant and club?
BBC Sport spoke to two journalists – one based totally within the Netherlands, the diversified in Italy – for his or her options…
‘Sky is the restrict for a participant of unparalleled ability’
It changed into the second leg of the quarter-closing of the 2018-19 Champions League. Ajax were drawing 1-1 with Juventus. In the 67th minute, a nook kick changed into awarded to Ajax. Towering above every member of Juventus’ crew, collectively with the 6ft 3ins Leonardo Bonucci, De Ligt, born within the city of Abcoude within the Netherlands, headed the ball within the encourage of the on-line to receive the tie.
Finest 19 years of age, De Ligt had captained Ajax to their most a success season in years – no longer supreme did they reach the semi-closing of the Champions League, Ajax additionally obtained the Dutch nationwide double.
Making his debut within the 2016-17 season – the year in which Ajax lost within the closing of the Europa League in opposition to Manchester United – De Ligt straight away made a giant affect on Ajax’s first crew.
With his immovable physique, excellent management qualities and goalscoring abilities, the younger defender laid the foundation for the transformation that can flip Ajax from a Europa League facet correct into a Champions League contender two seasons later.
Valid, Ajax’s childhood academy produces good gamers on a moderately trendy basis, nonetheless very infrequently comprise they regarded as stable and passe at this form of younger age as De Ligt. After supreme a handful of games, his location within the first crew hierarchy changed into established, and Ronald Koeman made him one among the gamers he would form the renewed Dutch nationwide crew spherical.
With out request, Ajax’s success within the 2018-19 season changed into in no runt allotment as a result of De Ligt’s unparalleled capabilities.
It soon became apparent he would no longer quit at Ajax for lengthy. Adore most proficient kids, he changed into going to transfer on to greater and better issues – and most doubtlessly sooner comparatively than later. Now the inevitable has took discipline. After supreme two and half seasons, he has left his boyhood club for Juventus.
De Ligt’s agent, Mino Raiola, has moved customers from Ajax to Juventus before, and has doubtlessly played a compulsory goal in convincing the Italian facet to cough up the huge transfer rate Ajax demanded.
What’s extra, it will most likely perhaps perhaps fair be a substantial fit. Juventus – no longer to level out the Italian league – has consistently been a fair dwelling to solid defenders, and with gamers cherish Leonardo Bonucci no longer getting any younger, De Ligt would possibly perhaps perhaps perhaps comprise the chance to become a foundational participant for many future years encourage.
It stays to be considered whether or no longer he’ll prevail at this. Nevertheless at the age of 19, De Ligt has already performed extra than some gamers can dream of in a whole occupation, so one would nearly purchase the sky is the restrict.
De Ligt has taken on Cristiano Ronaldo and obtained. Now he’s his unusual crew-mate. His transfer to Juventus will near with unusual challenges, nonetheless the younger defender would possibly perhaps perhaps perhaps no longer be scared within the slightest.
‘De Ligt is the good signing for Juve’
One year within the past, Juventus introduced their intent to absorb anxious for the supreme honours after they signed five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo. It changed into the signing no one anticipated and did now not moderately slot in with the form of deals a fiscally guilty Juventus in overall made. Had been the Bianconeri spending too noteworthy cash on an ageing megastar? Used to be Italy the sexy trudge back and forth danger for a perennial winner? Journalists continue to request the resolution.
Nevertheless, if Ronaldo to Juve took about a by shock, De Ligt to Juve makes apt sense. Whereas Serie A as a league would possibly perhaps perhaps perhaps fair comprise fallen at the encourage of, it’s peaceable the dwelling of considerable defenders and defensive teachings. The league that after brought us Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini is peaceable dwelling to Kalidou Koulibaly and the centre-backs Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci who Jose Mourinho as soon as claimed would possibly perhaps perhaps perhaps fair peaceable, “trudge to Harvard University to give courses about how to be a central defender”.
Whereas the Bianconeri tried to take care of the lack of glamour in their form of play by bringing in Ronaldo and replacing the pragmatic Massimiliano Allegri with the extra innovative Maurizio Sarri, the club don’t want to lose their identification and what has consistently ensured them success – the defence.
Juventus comprise boasted about a of the perfect defensive partnerships in world soccer, from Gaetano Scirea and Claudio Gentile within the early 1980s, who helped Juve and the Italian nationwide crew receive multiple trophies, to their smartly-known ‘BBC’ backline that took them to two Champions League finals within the past five years. Nevertheless, with Andrea Barzagli retiring and Chiellini to exercise swimsuit within the following couple of years, the Turin giants want heroes to raise the torch forward.
Defence is the one discipline Juve comprise traditionally consistently invested in, even supposing it intended breaking data. The acquisition of Gianluigi Buffon for £23.3m in 2001 changed into the supreme any club had ever paid for a goalkeeper and a document that stood till 2018 when Alisson’s arrival at Liverpool surpassed the document.
Fabio Capello’s Juventus facet in 2005-06 boasted one among essentially the most costly and purposeful backlines in European soccer. Lilian Thuram and Fabio Cannavaro formed the heart of that defence. The Italian obtained the Ballon d’Or that year and stays the closing defender to comprise obtained the honor while Thuram’s arrival in Turin broke Manchester United hearts and transfer data when the Serie A giants paid £23m, the supreme amount ever paid for a defender at that time, in 2001.
By bringing in De Ligt and making him their most sensible doubtless paid megastar after Ronaldo, Juventus comprise gone encourage to investing in their bread and butter, their backline. Gargantuan defenders belong in Italy, to be trained by Italian coaches. Maurizio Sarri did a substantial job with bettering Koulibaly at Napoli and organising Daniele Rugani, the used Empoli child now at Juventus.
For his allotment, De Ligt is no longer going to supreme play with the Ronaldo, the megastar he has idolised all his life and who helped bring him to Italy, nonetheless he’ll play alongside a legendary centre-encourage partnership and would possibly perhaps perhaps perhaps comprise Gianluigi Buffon at the encourage of him in procedure in a league that has consistently been valued for defensive organisation and instilling discipline.
Acquire no mistake, Matthijs de Ligt is the good signing for Juve and their designate and the club is the good trudge back and forth danger for a younger defender taking a witness to continue his defensive apprenticeship.