Manchester United monitoring Matthijs de Ligt transfer after Juventus defender’s difficult first year

Manchester United are monitoring Matthijs de Ligt’s situation after the centre-half’s difficult first year at Juventus.

De Ligt completed a €75m move to Turin from Ajax only last summer after turning down interest from United, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona.

The 20-year-old became one of the most coveted young talents in European football after captaining Ajax to the 2018-19 Champions League semi-finals.

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But De Ligt has since struggled to establish himself at Juventus, admitting during the autumn that he no longer feels “invincible” since moving to Italy.

The Netherlands international lost his automatic starting place to Merih Demiral during the winter, then only returned to ease an injury crisis in Maurizio Sarri’s defence.

United still admire De Ligt and would be open to renewing their interest in the defender if he becomes available this summer, even though he is represented by Mino Raiola.

Raiola has publicly clashed with United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer over his client Paul Pogba and their failed pursuit of young striker Erling Haaland in recent months.

Nevertheless, the Monaco-based agent and Ed Woodward, United’s chief executive, are understood to retain a healthy professional relationship.

It is yet to be seen whether the coronavirus pandemic affects United’s transfer plans, which were set to involve another summer of substantial spending.

United remain interested in signing Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, who are likely to command a fee of more than £100m for the winger.

Fellow targets Jack Grealish, James Maddison and Jude Bellingham would also come at a significant cost, at a time when major European clubs are considering whether to cut back spending.

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