De Ligt rose to prominence last season as Ajax’s skipper amid their spellbinding Champions League run and domestic triumphs. The Amsterdamers knocked out both Madrid and Juve on their way to the semi-finals, before Lucas Moura’s second half hat-trick in the second leg sent Tottenham through to the final at Ajax’s expense.
De Ligt scored the winner in Ajax’s Champions League quarter-final tie against Juventus last season | Michael Steele/Getty Images
Nevertheless, de Ligt’s displays saw him establish himself as one of Europe’s most coveted defenders, with the Bianconeri winning the race for the Dutchman last summer in a £67.5m deal.
And despite spending just a year in Turin, Calcio Mercato understand Real Madrid – who were also interested last summer – view de Ligt as Ramos’ long-term replacement in Madrid.
The 34-year-old Spaniard is still one of Europe’s finest centre-back’s, but there’s no doubting that Los Blancos will have to part ways sooner rather than later.
Zinedine Zidane, meanwhile, is believed to be an admirer of de Ligt and has approved the pursuit.
Barcelona’s well-documented interest in the player has given Madrid further incentive to snatch him from under their noses. Catalonia seemed like the inevitable destination for the 20-year-old last summer before losing out to Juve. They even enquired in April about a potential move, to which the Bianconeri replied an emphatic ‘no’.
Real Madrid are targeting a long-term replacement for captain Sergio Ramos
Nevertheless, despite Florentino Perez reportedly willing to offer €100m to secure de Ligt’s services and make him the highest-paid defender in the world, Juventus have made it clear they won’t sell the Dutchman this summer for any price.
The former Ajax man experienced a tough time acclimatising to a new environment at the start of the season following his move, but has since emerged as a key figure in Maurizio Sarri’s side; churning out a string of impressive performances before the unprecedented suspension in March.
Despite Juve’s defiance in keeping de Ligt for the 2020/21 campaign, however, it appears Madrid will be persistent in their pursuit for the mightily talented centre-back in future windows.