Even though Matthijs de Ligt arrived at Juventus as a teenager in the summer of 2019, there was an uncertainty surrounding just how long he might stay after his big-money move from Ajax. That might not have been because of de Ligt himself, but more to do with the man who was his agent and his reputation for moving his clients around quickly.
Three years later, de Ligt is indeed on the move.
Two days after Juventus and Bayern Munich reportedly finalized a deal for the 22-year-old Dutchman, the two clubs made things official Tuesday. Juventus will get a transfer fee of €67 million plus another €10 million in add-ons for de Ligt, who joined the Bianconeri from Ajax in 2019 for €85 million. De Ligt has signed a five-year contract with Bayern worth a reported €12 million net per season.
De Ligt, who arrived in Munich on Monday, will now fly out to the United States to meet his new teammates as they begin their own tour stateside.
Here is the official wording of the deal, courtesy of Juventus’ official website:
Turin, 19 July 2022 - Juventus Football Club S.p.A. announces that an agreement with FC Bayern München AG has been reached for the definitive disposal of the registration rights of the player Matthijs De Ligt for a consideration of € 67.0 million, payable in four financial years. This amount may be increased by a maximum of € 10.0 million upon achievement of specific performance objectives over the duration of the employment contract with the player.
This operation generates a positive economic effect of approximately € 30.7 million already net of € 1.7 million of charges due to the solidarity contribution envisaged by FIFA regulations.
A lot has happened in the three years that de Ligt — who arrived at Juventus after a dream run to the Champions League semifinals with Ajax — sported the black and white jersey. A Scudetto winner in his first season, he played for three manager in as many years, going from Maurizio Sarri to Andrea Pirlo and then Max Allegri. During his first season, he notably put off shoulder surgery until after the post-COVID restart to help the club get across the finish line. That, of course, meant he wasn’t available for the first two months of the 2020-21 season, but was becoming a bigger and bigger part of Juve’s defense as Giorgio Chiellini continued to battle injuries and Leonardo Bonucci’s form went up and down like a bad roller coaster.
It was this past season in which de Ligt played his most amount of minutes in any single campaign with Juventus, recording nearly 3,700 minutes and appearing in 42 games (40 starts) in all competitions.
But as he leaves, there’s a sense of unfinished business. Did he live up to the lofty expectations and transfer fee that we all had for him three years ago? While he’s certainly leaving in a different kind of fashion as Juve’s big-name exit from the summer of 2021, de Ligt departs during a time in which Juventus is certainly in a time of transition, with a roster that is still trying to be a title contender with obvious holes still left to be filled.
Now he’s beginning a new journey with a new club, one that he just so happened to be offered to in the summer of 2019 before signing with Juventus. Where this young man with so much talent goes in terms of his career trajectory remains to be seen, but now we know that it won’t be happening in Turin, a place that he certainly enjoyed living in.
The pull of the Bundesliga and the chance to win at the Bayern machine was just too much to not go after. And now Juventus tries to find its next strong man in defense during a summer in which there’s been plenty of change happening no matter where you look on the roster.