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Chelsea 'in pole position to sign Juventus' Matthijs de Ligt'

Chelsea 'in pole position to sign De Ligt'
© Reuters
Chelsea are reportedly at the head of the queue for Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt, whose contract in Turin expires in 2024.

Chelsea are at the head of the queue for Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt, according to a report.

The 22-year-old forms an integral part of Massimiliano Allegri's defence, which has recently been depleted by Giorgio Chiellini's exit and move to MLS side Los Angeles.

However, De Ligt is about to enter the final two years of his Juventus contract, and a host of interested parties are keeping a watchful eye over the situation.

The Netherlands international has also refused to rule out the prospect of a move elsewhere, saying: "Talks are being held and, when the time comes, I will decide whether I will extend or whether I want to look elsewhere," as quoted by 90Min.

"I always look at what is best for myself in terms of sporting project. Fourth place, two years in a row, is not good enough. We will have to make steps in that direction. Personally, this was my best year so far. In terms of playing time and the way I played.

Netherlands centre-back Matthijs de Ligt pictured on June 27, 2021© Reuters

"The club have said that to me and I have shown this season, when Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci were injured, what I am capable of. I had to take the lead and it went well. I think that's the next step."

Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City have all been credited with an interest in De Ligt, but according to Calciomercato, it is the Blues who are currently leading the charge.

The Old Lady are said to be in constant contact with Rafaela Pimenta over the prospect of a new deal for the centre-back, but he will have to take a financial hit to pen fresh terms.

De Ligt is understood to earn a yearly wage of €11m (£9.5m) in Turin, but a fresh deal - which would expire in the summer of 2026 - could see him earn €8m (£6.9m) per season.

Furthermore, Juventus are also supposedly trying to cut his release clause down to €80m (£68.9m) from €120m (£103.4m), and clubs would be able to trigger that option in 2023.

Matthijs de Ligt in action for Juventus on November 30, 2021© Reuters

The centre-back has posted a total of eight goals and three assists in 117 games for Juventus over the past three years, winning one Serie A title, the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana in the process.

De Ligt started 29 Serie A games for the Old Lady last season, and he is said to favour a move to Man City if he was to head for the Allianz Stadium exit door in the coming weeks.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel will oversee a significant change at the back this summer, with Barcelona-bound Andreas Christensen and Real Madrid new boy Antonio Rudiger departing on free transfers.

Cesar Azpilicueta could also leave before the window shuts amid links with Camp Nou, and the Blues are rumoured to be lining up a bid for Real Madrid's Eder Militao.

Changes have also occurred upstairs at Stamford Bridge, with Bruce Buck set to step down as chairman and director Marina Granovskaia also departing the club following Roman Abramovich's exit.

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Juventus' Matthijs de Ligt pictured on February 22, 2022
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