De Ligt close to joining Juventus after skipping Ajax training camp

PARIS (AFP) – Matthijs de Ligt is closing in on a move to Juventus after Ajax announced last Saturday that the rising star will skip the Dutch champions’ pre-season training camp due to his expected departure.

In a statement, Ajax named a 28-man squad travelling to the camp in Bramberg in Austria last Saturday afternoon, adding that “awaiting a possible transfer, Matthijs de Ligt is not travelling with the group”.

Last week, the player’s agent Mino Raiola told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that a deal had been struck between Juve and the powerful centre-back, reportedly a five-year contract worth EUR12 million (USD13.5 million) a season with a EUR135 million release clause.

However, the two clubs had been locked in negotiations with Ajax reportedly demanding EUR75 million, but the Gazzetta dell Sport claims that the a fee of EUR70 million is set to be agreed.

De Ligt, who turns 20 next month, is expected to join Serie A champions Juve after wowing with superb displays during Ajax’s thrilling charge to the Champions League semi-finals last season.

He captained the team to a domestic double as their fairytale European run – which included wins over Real Madrid and Juventus – came to a heart-breaking end with semi-final defeat to Tottenham Hotspur after leading 3-0 on aggregate at half-time in the second leg.

The signing would be the sixth of a busy summer for Juventus, who have brought in Maurizio Sarri as coach after removing Massimiliano Allegri and signed Paris Saint-Germain’s (PSG) want-away midfielder Adrien Rabiot, Aaron Ramsey, Luca Pellegrini, Merih Demiral and 41-year-old Gianluigi Buffon, who returns to Turin after a year in the French capital with PSG.

Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt. – AFP