Juventus have officially completed the signing of Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt from Ajax Amsterdam for a fee of £67.55 million (75 million euros).
The 19-year-old international was the most sought-after defender and the major source of transfer gossip this summer, attracting interest from Barcelona, Manchester United and Paris St-Germain.
The contract – which includes a buyout clause of 150 million euros that will be activated in its third year – makes de Ligt one of the most expensive defenders in the world, with his national team captain Virgil van Dijk topping the list after his £75 million transfer from Southampton to Liverpool in January 2018.
De Ligt was instrumental in Ajax’s remarkable run to the Champions League semi-finals last season, playing 90 minutes in all but one of Ajax’s games. He scored the winner against Juventus in the quarter-finals, before being knocked out by Tottenham on away goals.
De Ligt made his debut for the Amsterdam club in 2016, and became their youngest captain in March 2018. He made his debut for the Netherlands in March 2017, having started a mere two league games for Ajax at the time.
De Ligt scored eight goals in 77 league appearances, guiding Ajax to a Europa League final in 2017, as well as a domestic double of the Dutch league and cup last season.
The Turin-based club revealed the fans ‘deligt’ in a statement on their website:
“It’s the news all Bianconeri fans have been waiting to hear all summer: Matthijs de Ligt is officially a Juventus player!”
De Ligt will link up with teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, and de Ligt told NOS television in June that Ronaldo asked him to join Juventus after Portugal defeated the Netherlands in the Nations League final.
His agent Mino Raiola posited that “Juve are the best team for him. For a defender it is important to come to Italy”; Italian football is notorious for its solid defending and cagey football.
The reigning Italian champions’ ‘BBC defence’ of Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci – which mirrored the defence of the Italian national team – has been broken up following Barzagli’s retirement and De Ligt’s move. Only time will tell whether this new outlook will pay dividends.