Manchester City have been given encouragement to pursue a deal for Matthijs De Ligt amid claims the Juventus defender favors a move to the Etihad Stadium above all others this summer.
Pep Guardiola’s side have already been active in the summer market. Indeed, they have secured the signing of Erling Haaland, the Norwegian being one of the world’s most in-demand players. He will be joined at the Etihad by Julian Alvarez, who arrives from River Plate. It’s safe to say City will boast plenty of attacking threat next season.
After that, City will look to strengthen their midfield following Fernadinho’s departure. To that end, Leeds star Kalvin Phillips and Sporting’s Matheus Nunes are both reportedly targets of Guardiola.
However, one area they remain strong in is defense. Indeed, they have John Stones, Nathan Ake, Aymeric Laporte and Ruben Dias as four dependable and quality options in the heart of their rearguard.
That though has not prevented speculation suggesting they are considering a move for Juventus defender De Ligt.
The 22-year-old is regarded as one of the world’s elite defenders, signing for Juventus for a huge. 65m in 2019.
He has made 117 appearances for the Bianconeri in his three seasons at the club. However, with his deal due to expire in 2024, talks over an extension are underway.
There, however, remains a catch. As per reports, Juve want to tie De Ligt down on reduced wages. As such they are hoping to reduce the Dutchman’s salary from € 12m (£ 10.2m) to € 7.5m (£ 6.3m) per year.
And while that would still mean a £ 120,000 a week deal, it would represent a significant drop in earnings for the player.
Star gives a hint on his future
As a result, Calciomercato claims a number of clubs are readying approaches for the defender. Indeed, Manchester United, Chelsea and PSG are all reportedly keeping tabs on his situation.
Of the quartet, however, they claim it is a move to City which most interests De Ligt. He is reportedly allured by the prospect of playing for Guardiola, who is regarded as one of the world’s elite coaches.
De Ligt, meanwhile, is giving nothing away amid questions on his future, but does give hint over how he can be lured away.
“There are ongoing conversations between me and Juventus,” said De Ligt.
“Right now I am focused on how I perform on the pitch, once the right moment arrives I will decide to extend or to look further
“I look at the sporting project. Ending fourth in a row for two years in a row is not good enough, Juventus knows this too.
“So being Juventus, we have to make steps. I’m a Juventus player so I’m focused on that. “
De Ligt an option only if there is a Man City departure
As goood a player as De Ligt is, there seems little point in Manchester City pursuing a deal this summer.
With four quality options at the club and more than capable of performing in central defense, City do not need the Dutchman right now.
In fact, it would be difficult to see where and how he would get a game.
That said, were City to move one of their defenders on, then perhaps the situation will change.
For example, Laporta is regularly linked with returns to Spain. And while these rumors have been more muted of late, it is now beyond the realms of possibility that he makes a switch back to LaLiga.
There are also question marks too over Ake. The Dutchman is perhaps fourth choice under Guardiola at City, despite costing £ 40m from Bournemouth two years ago.
He made 27 appearances in 2021/22, weighing in with three goals.
However, he has been linked with a move to Newcastle and a reunion with former Cherries boss Eddie Howe.
While Ake has moved to deny those links, his exit could perhaps open up a route for City to possibly sign De Ligt.
Meanwhile, one man who will likely depart the Etihad is Gabriel Jesus. Arsenal appear to be back in the driving seat ahead of Tottenham for his signature, albeit with one obstacle remaining.