Juventus CEO admits it’s ‘impossible’ to keep Matthijs de Ligt if he wants to leave

Juventus CEO Maurizio Arrivabene has admitted that it will be “impossible” to keep Matthijs de Ligt if he wants to leave the club amid transfer interest from Chelsea.

De Ligt has reached an impasse in negotiations over a new contract at the Allianz Stadium due to his wage demands, and he has publicly stated his willingness to push for a move if he is not satisfied.

90min understands Chelsea have emerged as the frontrunners for the centre-back’s signature as they prioritise securing a deal for the Dutchman over other targets such as Sevilla’s Jules Kounde.

The London club view the opportunity to sign a top-level, established central defender as too good to pass up, with new owner Todd Boehly engaging in talks with De Ligt’s representative Rafaela Pimenta.

Speaking about the Netherlands international’s contract situation and interest from elsewhere, Juve CEO Arrivabene admitted it’s impossible to keep a player that wants to leave Turin.

“Once again we are talking about players who follow the advice of agents,” Arrivabene told Tuttosport. 

“Today it is impossible to keep a player who wants to leave, it’s a question of numbers. But everyone has to leave the negotiating table satisfied.”

Indeed, 90min understands Juventus will demand around €100m (£86m) for De Ligt’s services. The player has a €120m (£103m) release clause in his current contract.

Listen now to 90min’s Talking Transfers podcast, with Scott SaundersGraeme BaileyHarry Symeou & Toby Cudworth. On the latest show they discuss Raheem Sterling’s future amid interest from Chelsea, Gabriel Jesus’ impending arrival at Arsenal and more. Available on all audio platforms and the 90min YouTube channel.

That figure would make him the most expensive defender of all-time, eclipsing the £80m Man Utd paid Leicester City for centre-back Harry Maguire in 2019.

Chelsea have offered a number of underperforming or fringe players in part-exchange to offset that fee, but so far Juventus have not shown an interest. As a result, sources have informed 90min that a firm bid from the Blues is incoming.

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