According to a report by Italian publication Corriere dello Sport, Premier League giants Chelsea lead the race to sign Matthijs de Ligt in the summer transfer window. The 22-year-old defender is also a target for Barcelona, Real Madrid and a gamut of other English heavyweights. Matthijs de Ligt remains one of the most highly-rated young centre-backs in Europe despite making slow progress at Juventus since his arrival from Ajax in July 2019. The Dutchman’s stint in Turin has coincided with the Serie A giants’ downturn in fortunes, but he has remained one of their better performers.

The 22-year-old has turned out 117 times for Juventus while chipping in with eight goals and three assists. But the Serie A heavyweights are in a spot of bother over de Ligt’s long-term future amid increasing interest from some of the most high-profile clubs in Europe, including Barcelona, Real Madrid and Chelsea.

Barcelona had been keen on signing de Ligt three years ago before he moved to Juventus instead. The Catalan giants have remained interested in the youngster and have monitored his progress at the Serie A club. And with Gerard Pique in the twilight of his career, de Ligt could be a viable successor to the veteran Barcelona centre-back.

As for Real Madrid, the continued interest in de Ligt is somewhat perplexing, considering Antonio Rudiger arrives from Chelsea in a Bosman move this summer. Carlo Ancelotti seems to have enough central defensive options in Rudiger, Eder Militao, David Alaba, Nacho and Jesus Vallejo. Nonetheless it looks like Real Madrid could launch the offensive for the 22-year-old.

But Barcelona and Real Madrid have fallen behind in the race to sign de Ligt, with Chelsea in the pole position to secure his services. The Blues are desperate to bolster their central defensive unit following the departures of Barcelona target Andreas Christensen and new Real Madrid defender Antonio Rudiger. And de Ligt has emerged as a viable long-term target for Chelsea.



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