Chelsea Transfer

Chelsea linked with Matthijs de Ligt ahead of release clause becoming active

Jamie Spencer
Matthijs de Ligt has a release clause that kicks in next summer
Matthijs de Ligt has a release clause that kicks in next summer / Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Chelsea have been linked with Juventus and Netherlands defender Matthijs de Ligt, with a centre-back still on their transfer wish-list after missing out on Jules Kounde last month.

The Blues were unable to reach an agreement with Sevilla over a price for Kounde before the transfer window shut. It has meant an ongoing role for Trevoh Chalobah, while Malang Sarr has also been drafted into the first-team squad rather than leave on loan again.

Looking ahead, it is vital that Chelsea strengthen defensively. Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger are both out of contract at the end of this season, as is 37-year-old Thiago Silva.

Christensen recently expressed his expectation that a new contract will be agreed to remain at Stamford Bridge, although Rudiger’s future is much less clear. Thomas Tuchel is extremely keen to keep his fellow countryman but no deal is close and talks are at a standstill – 90min has revealed that Rudiger wants the club to make him one of their highest paid players.

With time now to re-assess their options, Chelsea were already linked with De Ligt earlier this month. Fresh reports in Italy from CalcioMercato have also since claimed that the 22-year-old Dutchman has moved to the top of Chelsea’s list of defensive targets.

Agent Mino Raiola hasn’t ruled out his client leaving Juventus next summer, with Tuttosport also reporting that a release clause in his contract will become active after this season.

The clause stands to make De Ligt available for €120m (£103m), which would represent a new club record for Chelsea. It is suggested that next summer could be the last chance for Juve, who paid €75m in 2019, to command a huge transfer fee before he enters the last two years of his contract.

Chelsea were only willing to pay €50m (£43m) for Kounde when the transfer deadline passed.

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