With the January transfer window only just a matter of days away, Chelsea’s defensive situation remains up in the air.
Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen and Thiago Silva are all out of contract at the end of the season and would leave the Blues with very limited options.
Of course, contingency plans have been made with links to the likes of Jules Kounde and Wesley Fofana, whilst Dutchman Matthijs de Ligt has been mentioned on numerous occasions.
Despite having not hit his best form with current employers Juventus, the young defender’s performances with Ajax particularly caught the eye.
A move could well be costly though, with various reports that a release clause is set to activate in de Ligt’s contract next summer in the range of £128million – which of course would be a world record fee for a defender following Harry Maguire’s 2019 move to Manchester United from Leicester City.
Another potential problem that Chelsea potentially face in securing the services of De Ligt is competition from elsewhere.
According to Transfer Market Web, Spanish giants Barcelona are keen on the 22-year-old, although their poor financial situation would likely restrict their ability to complete a deal – especially with the imminent arrival of Manchester City forward Ferran Torres
Elsewhere, Manchester United are also reported to be interested in de Ligt and if that is indeed the case, it would not be the first time that the Blues have squared off with the Red Devils for a major target.
Heading into the 2014/15 season, United were very keen on additions following a shocking season under David Moyes. One of the names to emerge was that of Barcelona man Cesc Fabregas, with the Spaniard having fallen out of favour at the Camp Nou.
In the end, a deal was not completed and Fabregas of course elected to switch to Stamford Bridge instead – and fill a role that the Blues were in dire need of; midfield creativity.
Should de Ligt do similar and reject a move to Manchester, he would be doing similar in respect of solving a serious problem in Thomas Tuchel’s current Chelsea squad.
Intriguingly, the Dutchman’s agent Mino Raiola has hinted that a move to England could potentially be on the cards in the future.
Talking to NOS earlier this month, he said: “I think we all know which clubs to mention for Matthijs de Ligt as ‘next step’. We will see this summer.
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“Premier League? It can be Barcelona too, or Real Madrid or Paris Saint-Germain…”
Should de Ligt elect for a move to the Premier League then, Chelsea will hope to be ahead of Manchester United in the battle for his signature.