Chelsea enter race to sign transfer target Matthijs de Ligt from Man Utd | Soccer

Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel and ManU boss Erik ten Hag

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel and Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag (Images: Getty)

Chelsea have entered the running to sign Juventus and Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt as Thomas Tuchel looks to replace Antonio Rudiger.

The Blues need a new centre-back after Rudiger completed a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid and has been linked with Sevilla’s Jules Kounde.

De Ligt is also of interest to Chelsea, according to talkSPORT, who say Tuchel could make the switch for the Dutchman as he prepares to rebuild his defence.

Rudiger was a mainstay at Stamford Bridge for several seasons and Chelsea were keen to prevent the German from leaving.

But a move to the Bernabeu was confirmed last week and Chelsea are keen to find a replacement as soon as possible as the summer transfer window opens on Friday.

De Ligt developed into one of the top-rated defenders in Europe during his time at Ajax, helping Erik ten Hag’s side win the Eredivisie and reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.

He was expected to establish himself as a key player at the Allianz Stadium for many years to come following his move to Torino in 2019, but the 22-year-old is a little underwhelmed for the Italian club.

Juventus signed Matthijs de Ligt from Ajax two years ago

Juventus signed Matthijs de Ligt from Ajax two years ago (Image: Getty)

Still, it will take a serious investment to poach De Ligt from Juventus as he has a €120m (£102m) release clause and is under contract until the summer of 2024.

But Chelsea aren’t the only club expressing interest in the centre-back Premier League rivals Manchester United have also been linked with a move since Ten Hag was appointed manager.

Asked about his future at Juventus on Sunday, De Ligt told Dutch outlet NOS: “Discussions are ongoing and when the time comes I will decide whether to extend or if I want to look further.

“I always look at what is best for me in terms of the sporting project. Fourth place twice in a row is not good enough, so we have to take steps in that direction.”

De Ligt started 29 of Juventus’ 39 league games last season as Massimiliano Allegri’s side finished fourth, 16 points behind Serie A champions AC Milan.

Last week, former Arsenal and England winger Paul Merson said Rudiger would be a “massive failure” for Chelsea next season and asked if Kounde was a suitable replacement.

‘Antonio Rudiger was absolutely outstanding for Chelsea. I don’t remember him having a bad game to be honest,” he told Sportskeeda.

“He has been brilliant throughout this season in the Premier League. Rudiger will be a massive failure for Thomas Tuchel next season.

“He will be difficult to replace and I’m not sure the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly and Jules Kounde can fill his footsteps. If Chelsea have anything to worry about this year, it’s finding Rudiger’s replacement.

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Chelsea FC Chelsea enter race to sign transfer target Matthijs de Ligt from Man Utd | Soccer

Nate Jones

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