Juventus have tabled an opening offer for Ajax star Matthijs de Ligt, all but ending Manchester United’s hopes of signing the defender.
The Dutchman became one of Europe’s most coveted players last season, after helping Ajax win a domestic double while also reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League.
According to the Daily Mirror, Manchester United joined the likes of Bayern Munich and Barcelona in identifying the 19-year-old as a major target, but it now looks like he will join Juventus this summer.
Sky Sports reports that the Italian giants have submitted a £58 million bid for De Ligt, which is some way short of the £67 million price tag Ajax placed on his head, but it is the youngster’s desire to secure a switch to Italy.
Juve have offered the Netherlands international a five-year contract at the Allianz Stadium and he is expected to sign for the club in the coming days.
United are now set to miss out on one of the biggest deals of the transfer window, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continues a summer overhaul at Old Trafford.
Despite his age, De Ligt is one of the finest centre-backs in the game already and he would have been the ideal man to solve a defensive crisis for the Red Devils, but he now looks destined to begin the next chapter of his career in Italy.
Juventus teams are historically renowned for being strong defensively and there is no doubt that next season Maurizio Sarri’s side will be gunning for major honours across all competitions after this latest coup.
United, meanwhile, will have to focus on alternative targets, with Leicester City’s Harry Maguire and West Ham’s Issa Diop touted as more realistic options – as per the Manchester Evening News.
The Red Devils must make sure they bring in a leader at the back before the new season begins, otherwise, Solskjaer risks a repeat of last season’s disappointing sixth-place Premier League finish.