Matthijs de Ligt urged to stay at Juventus amid Manchester United transfer links | inside World Soccer


Matthijs de Ligt urged to stay at Juventus amid Manchester United transfer links

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Matthijs De Ligt of Juventus in action during the Serie A match between Juventus and AC Milan at Allianz Stadium on November 10, 2019 in Turin, Italy
Photo: Getty Images

Former Netherlands defender Jaap Stam has advised Matthijs de Ligt to stay at Juventus amid reports linking him with a move to Manchester United.

De Ligt was linked heavily with a big-money transfer to United, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain last summer after captaining Ajax Amsterdam to Eredivisie title glory and the semi-finals of the Champions League last season.

The winner of the 2018 Golden Boy award eventually signed for Serie A champions Juventus on a five-year contract for a fee of €75 million.

However, de Ligt has struggled to meet the high expectations in Turin and that has led to suggestions that another big-money move could be on the cards.

United are reportedly in line to make a renewed bid to bring the 20-year-old to Old Trafford again this summer, where he could slot in alongside £80 million centre-back Harry Maguire.

Former United defender Stam is not surprised to see de Ligt endure initial struggles in new surroundings, but believes his fellow countryman needs to stay and fight for his place rather than move on too quickly.

Speaking to TuttoJuve.com, Stam, who spent time in Serie A with Lazio and AC Milan after leaving United in 2001, said:

I think it's fundamental that de Ligt stays at Juve for many years, because it's the only way to improve, by dealing with the best, learning to live with pressure in important Champions League and Serie A games.

My opinion of his first few months in Serie A is positive. He was criticised a little, but had to understand how to adapt to a different style of football.

He's still young and Matthijs is at a big club with far more pressure than he was accustomed to. The standard of opponent he is facing in Italy is also far higher than in the Netherlands.

Juventus invested a large sum to sign him, some would say too much, but in my view he has done well so far. This experience has made him believe in himself more. He just needs to learn Italian so he can communicate better with his teammates.

De Ligt is playing alongside veteran defenders Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci at Juventus, and Stam thinks their guidance is crucial in him fulfilling his potential.

They are top level defenders, real winners accustomed to the biggest games. They are the best centre-backs in Italy and they can teach him so much on the art of defending.

It's more of a team concept at Juventus than with Ajax, where the focus is on one-on-one situations.

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