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Juventus refusing to give up on De Ligt in determination to land big-money defender

11:30 BST 08/04/2019
Matthijs de Ligt Ajax 2018-19
The Serie A champions have made landing a new centre-half a top priority for the summer transfer window, with the in-demand Ajax star in their sights

Juventus will not be giving up on their efforts to lure Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt to Turin, Goal understands.

The Netherlands international has emerged as one of the most sought-after talents in European football .

At just 19 years of age, the talented centre-half has leading sides from across the continent pursuing his signature.

La Liga giants Barcelona are considered to be heading the queue, having already completed a €75 million (£65m/$85m) raid for his Ajax team-mate Frenkie de Jong , but no deal is in place as yet.

That is leaving the transfer door ajar for others to swoop in.

Juventus intend to be in the mix, with the current holder of the prestigious Golden Boy award a player they would welcome onto their books in a bid to freshen up an ageing defensive unit.

The landing of a new centre-half is considered to be a top priority for the next window, with the Bianconeri prepared to spend big in order to tick that box.

They have been offered hope by De Ligt’s hints that Serie A could be his next landing spot .

He has told Tuttosport : “[A move to Juventus] could happen, but there are others who are also interested.

“We'll see at the right time. At the moment I'm fully focused on Ajax and my agent [Mino] Raiola is taking care of the rest. Also, De Jong hasn't spoken to me about a move to Barcelona.

“I really admire [Giorgio] Chiellini, he's a very strong centre-back and one of the best ever. I also appreciate [Leonardo] Bonucci. They are two of the best centre-backs in Europe and two examples to follow for a young player like me.”

Juventus are aware that any agreement for De Ligt is likely to involve a fee of over €70m (£60m/$79m).

Those figures are not putting them off, with sporting director Fabio Paratici in the market for a certain calibre of player.

He is looking to bring in a defender who is young, strong and with the potential to improve even further in the future.

De Ligt is considered to be a perfect candidate, with interest from the Bianconeri having waned in the likes of Benfica starlet Ruben Dias and Fiorentina star Nikola Milenkovic.

Competition from the likes of Barcelona for a top target is making a long-running saga more difficult.

Juventus are, however, about to get another close look at De Ligt in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, with the first leg of a last-eight showdown with Ajax set to be taken in on Wednesday.

A meeting with the Eredivisie giants could give Bianconeri officials an opportunity to sound out another possible transfer arrangement with continental rivals.

Those in Turin believe a deal can be done, but know that they will have to move swiftly and decisively if they are to emerge victorious in a battle for one of the most in-demand signatures around.