Juventus respond to Chelsea's player-plus-cash offer for Matthijs de Ligt

Matthijs de Ligt of Juventus Fc during Atalanta BC against FC Juventus, Serie A, at Gewiss Stadium on February 13, 2022.

Juventus have turned down the opportunity to sign either Timo Werner or Christian Pulisic and will only accept a straight cash offer from Chelsea for Matthijs de Ligt, according to reports.

Thomas Tuchel has made a new centre-back his top transfer priority this summer having lost two cornerstones of his defence, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, on free transfers.

After long being linked with a move for Sevilla’s Jules Kounde, Juventus defender De Ligt has now emerged as Chelsea’s top choice to reinforce their back-line.

The Blues are believed to have opened the bidding with a player-plus-cash deal worth £40million plus the choice of either Werner or Pulisic.

However, Italian newspaper Tuttosport claim Juventus’s hierarchy have rejected the proposal and made it clear that neither player is of interest to them.

Chelsea were conscious of the fact that Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri wants to sign a striker and a winger this summer, but the Italian coach is ‘not crazy’ about either player.

Allegri wants a more traditional striker with physicality and strength who has similar characteristics to Dusan Vlahovic and can fill in for the giant Serbian frontman.

But Werner does not fit that profile and Allegri would rather sign Marko Arnautovic, who netted 14 goals for Bologna last season.

Similarly, Pulisic is not particularly highly rated by Juve and Allegri’s top target to play on the wing is Angel Di Maria, who is available on a free transfer, while there have also been links with a sensational swoop for Neymar.

With a player swap deal off the table for De Ligt, Juventus – who do not want to sell – will only accept a massive cash offer.

The Old Lady value the Netherlands international at closer to €100m (£86m), around £10m more than they paid Ajax three years ago and a figure that would make De Ligt the most expensive defender in history – eclipsing compatriot Virgil van Dijk’s £75m move to Liverpool.

While new co-owner Todd Boehly is believed to have earmarked a £200m transfer kitty, it remains to be seen if he is willing to spend almost half of that budget on just one player.

De Ligt’s intentions will also play a part in whether Chelsea can pull off the deal and as yet he has not given a clear indication of his preference to Juve, though he is likely to have intimated to the west London club that he is open to the move.

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