De Ligt, Turin for nothing / Italy / Juventus /

Bought 75 million euros by Juventus in 2019, Matthijs de Ligt leaves Piedmont for Bayern for an almost identical sum. He leaves behind three sadly neutral Italian years, which the player like the Old Lady will probably have no great difficulty in forgetting.

Strange paradox. This Tuesday, July 19, Juventus lost the man who had been their best defender for three good seasons, but their tifosi seemed to take the news without flinching. Transferred for around 70 million euros to Bayern Munich, Matthijs de Ligt is no longer bianconero. Gleison Bremer – recruited by the Juventini this Wednesday – will have the task of filling the void left by the Dutchman. End of the story. No tear effusion. Just a trade. The one announced as one of the most talented defenders of the decade leaves the Boot without asking for his rest. Italy will probably not remember him. And vice versa.

Good soldier, bad genius

However, it would be harsh to qualify the Piedmontese years of the tall blond as a complete failure. When he signed for Juve in the summer of 2019, the Ajax prodigy was the new floor of a Piedmontese building that wanted to rise to victory in the Champions League. A building that also seems to want to change decorum, saying ciao to the austerity of the Allegri style for the flamboyance of Maurizio Sarri, freshly installed on the black and white bench. Accustomed to defending while advancing as well as accompanying the offensives at Ajax, De Ligt will explain in particular having chosen the Old Lady for his new Mister: “I spoke with him on the phone to get to know each other. His presence is also one of the reasons for my coming, his vision of football, his style of play, I heard a lot of good things about him. This is also one of the reasons for my choice. » Fired a year later, Sarri will achieve nothing in Turin, failing to inculcate his attacking circuits and his collective thinking to the Bianconeri. His successor, Andrea Pirlo, will struggle even more as the Piedmontese project crumbles season after season. Behind, De Ligt must plug the holes in a defense handicapped by the repeated injuries of Giorgio Chiellini, and the gradual decline of Leonardo Bonucci. Often aligned with the latter in the axis, the Batavian makes his science of the duel and his physical power speak, but does not display an obvious complementarity with his partner either.

Responsible in the revival at Ajax, he must now give way to the benefit of the Italian, whose quality of long pass is well established. Weaned creatively, the Dutchman will therefore undeniably hold the house behind, but without ever daring to really take the game on his own, allowing himself the overrunning of duties which had also made him one of the most exciting defensive prospects on the continent. Massimiliano Allegri’s return to business will obviously not help matters, as Juventus no longer even try to offer anything other than careful and calculating football. Enough to definitively condemn De Ligt to his role of shadow captain, often reliable, but never brilliant. Julian Nagelsmann’s Bayern could on the contrary allow him to bite his opponents higher, like participating much more actively in the offensive maneuver. In short, to express the full extent of his qualities, which a club like Juventus will sadly not have been able to use.

By Adrien Candeau


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