It has been a long, long time since Juventus signed one of the most sought after young players in Europe that a summer transfer window has to offer. Maybe longer than you’ve been a Juventus fan, even. It’s been a while, quite a long while since Juve fended off the big boys of European football, splashed a whole lot of cash and got the guy they’ve been eyeing for months on end.
Juventus has gotten Matthijs de Ligt.
Not Barcelona. Not Real Madrid. Not Manchester United or Manchester City. Not Bayern Munich or Paris Saint-Germain.
Juventus has, officially, signed a soon-to-be 20-year-old freak of nature who is already one of the best center backs going in the world today. Juventus announced the €75 million deal (and another €10.5 million in commission to Mino Raiola) with Ajax on Wednesday morning, marking the final step in what has been a whirlwind month worth of rumors that has seen one of the world’s most in-demand young players bring his already-accomplished résumé to Turin. One of Ajax’s driving forces in the club’s run to a spot in the Champions League semifinals last season, de Ligt has put pen to paper on a five-year contract through 2024 and will earn a reported €7.5 million net base salary per season that could be pushed all the way up to €12 million net a year, making him the second-highest paid player at both Juventus and in Serie A as a whole.
The official wording of the deal, courtesy of Juventus’ website:
Turin, 18 July 2019 - Juventus Football Club S.p.A. announces that the agreement with Amsterdamsche Football Club Ajax NV for the definitive acquisition of the registration rights of the player Matthijs de Ligt has been reached for a consideration of € 75 million, payable in five financial years, and additional costs of € 10,5 million.
Juventus and the player have signed a 5-year contract of employment until 30 June 2024.
And now, folks, you all can exhale.
Matthijs de Ligt, one of the best players to come out of the famed Ajax youth academy in quite some time, is a Juventus player. It’s official. It’s officially official.
Signing de Ligt has reportedly been something that Juventus’ Director of Football Fabio Paratici has been eyeing up for months. Even with the long-standing expectation that Cristian Romero was going to sign from Genoa and then the recent acquisition of young Sassuolo center back Merih Demiral, de Ligt was always the prize that Paratici sought to bring in this summer. It certainly didn’t always look like that was going to happen, with the likes of Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain willing to flex their financial muscles to bring the Dutchman in this summer.
But, in the end, one by one the other big spenders dropped out. With it came the reports and the confirmation from Raiola that de Ligt had in fact agreed to personal terms. That basically turned it into a one-horse race, with pretty much anybody with a rooting interest in Juventus looking to Paratici to close the deal.
It didn’t come after the first reported offer. Nor did Juve and Ajax find an understand as the transfer fee got into the high 60s. But, as the weekend quickly approached and Ajax headed out to play some preseason friendlies in Austria, the de Ligt deal was done. And, finally, Paratici got his man.
The implications of this transfer, one of the most expensive in Juventus history, are massive both in the short term and down the road. An aging Juventus backline, with both of its starters from last season (captain Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci) either already in their mid-30s or getting close to it. The addition of Demiral is good when it comes to depth this season, but Juventus needed a stalwart at the back that they can build around going forward with Chiellini’s health always going to be something that gives us a scare.
Consider the future here, folks. And, when it comes to present day de Ligt, he’s pretty good to begin with — and is only going to get better as he actually hits his 20s in a matter of weeks.