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Erik ten Hag wants Matthijs de Ligt at Man Utd

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is eager to reunite with Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt this summer, Italian publication Tuttosport reports.

The Red Devils are expected to sign a new central defender in the upcoming transfer window. Ajax’s Jurrien Timber has been highlighted as the prime target.

However, Tuttosport claim that Ten Hag wants to sign De Ligt, who was a key player for him at Ajax. The 22-year-old was named captain in his final season.

It is added that United would welcome the player with open arms, but a deal could be difficult due to the reported €120 million release clause on his contract.

De Ligt’s current deal with the Turin giants expires in June 2024. He appears reluctant to pen an extension unless the Bianconeri lower his buy-out clause.

Our view:

De Ligt had a slow start to his Juventus career, but has since become a key player at the heart of their defence. The Dutchman is now regarded as an undisputed starter.

However, there are doubts over his long-term future amid the lack of progress over a new deal. There could be a contract stand-off if the Bianconeri refuse to meet his demands.

This could boost United’s prospects of signing the Netherlands international, but it is unclear whether the opportunity could arise in the next transfer window.

Regardless of this, it would take a huge outlay to prise him away. While his release clause stands at €120m, the Bianconeri could eye at least €100m to part ways with him.

United are obviously keen on pursuing a new centre-back, but a major portion of the budget could be utilised to sign a defensive midfielder and striker which are key priorities.

Hence, a move for Timber is more realistic. He is valued at around €50m by Ajax. Similar to De Ligt, he is superb with the ball at his feet with over 91 per cent of his passes completed last term.

The 20-year-old does not possess the aerial prowess of his compatriot, but excels with his ground work. He averaged over two tackles per game in all competitions last season.

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