Indeed, so much so that reports in Italy suggest that de Ligt could be put on the transfer market this summer as Juventus look to move on from a project that, so far, has been a relative failure. Despite good displays, the huge fee paid and the large commitment made has not been recuperated – often, de Ligt has struggled to get the kind of regular game time that many would have expected. However, the other reason for his exit might come down to a club issue as much as his own: Juventus are known to need to be very careful regarding contracts.
They might be forced into a sale should other veterans decide to stay on. Juve are known for having a veteran team, and key players in their mid-to-late 30s such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Giorgio Chiellini. These players cost large sums to keep around, though, and Juventus are known to be struggling to find an agreement to every major contract they need to extend this summer.
If they wish to keep the ‘old guard’ in place, it might mean making a sale on a player who is not likely to hit his peak during any of their respective careers. Much like a ‘win now’ NBA side, could Juve cash in on a youngster to win more trophies today?
The Juventus UEFA Champions League question
For Juve, everything that has been done in the post-Antonio Conte era has been built around European success. Despite having comfortably the best domestic record in Italy, Juve have long been committed to trying to win trophies across European football. That means going for the UEFA Champions League. However, with football moving to an increasingly younger, higher intensity game, is keeping a team of older stars around the right way to win in Europe?
While older players can still perform to a high standard, having a team of older players who cannot match the high pressing intensity of a younger side can see a side come unstuck in the knockout rounds. Are Juve making a mistake by going all-in on their older talent as opposed to giving a younger player like de Ligt the keys to the long-term future of the squad?
It’s a tough question to answer, as there is no right or wrong answer. What works comes down to coaching, strategy, and the squad make-up. If Juve wishes to keep this more mature aspect to their squad, then, it will likely cost them some of the cogs for their future – including de Ligt.