Chelsea have new £63m January option but Thomas Tuchel must go against own word to do deal | Football | Sport

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Matthijs de Ligt could be set to leave Juventus after the player’s agent revealed he is “ready for a new step” in his career. The Juventus star has been linked with a move away from Italy, with Premier League giants Chelsea and Manchester United both thought to hold an interest, and super agent Mino Raiola has stated his client is edging closer to the exit.

The 22-year-old was signed as a long-term replacement for veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini after arriving in a £65m deal from Ajax in 2019.

De Ligt struggled to adapt to the different pace of Italian football to the style of play in his native Netherlands and was also criticised for being overweight in his first months at the club.

But he has become a regular feature for the club, missing only four of Juventus’ 18 Serie A matches this season under Massimiliano Allegri.

The Bianconeri are on the road to recovering from their worst-ever start to a domestic campaign, but remain 12 points off the pace behind leaders Inter Milan and face a battle to secure Champions League qualification.

Juventus’ precarious financial situation means the Serie A giants may be forced to cash in on their disposable assets should they fail to qualify.

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Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger have stalled over signing long-term contracts, with the pair reportedly eyeing a lucrative pay rise for their next deal.

Rudiger has been linked with Real Madrid, who have demonstrated their ability to lure free agents to Spain after signing David Alaba from Bayern Munich last summer.

Christensen, 25, is expected to ink a new deal but was recently left out of the side due to his contract wrangle.

Meanwhile, experienced pair Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta are yet to put pen to paper on a contract extension to their current one-year deals respectively.

De Ligt has been linked with Chelsea as a possible replacement, according to the Daily Mail, but Tuchel is confident of keeping his defence together.

And the 48-year-old reiterated his stance when revealing the club are not currently in discussions to make any signings in January.

“We are not in talks right now that we bring in players,” Tuchel told reporters.

“Because first of all we trust our squad, and hope that we can bring all our players back and be in full strength.

“Then we have a strong squad and a good atmosphere to protect. This is where we are right now.”

Signing a player of De Ligt’s calibre would go against the German’s word of adding to his squad in January, and with a price tag of £63m according to Transfermarkt, it would represent a significant transfer for the west London club.

But it is still possible that the Blues could lose some members, if not all, of their defensive quartet this summer for nothing.

And that could make moving for De Ligt an attractive proposition, strengthening their hand not only at the negotiating table, but also in bolstering their squad for the second half of the season.





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