AAP Soccer

De Ligt is most expensive defender ever

By AAP Newswire

Ajax Amsterdam captain Matthijs de Ligt has signed a five-year contract with Italian champions Juventus to become the world's most expensive defender ever in a deal worth a total 85.5 million euros ($A136 million).

The Serie A club said on Thursday that the 19-year-old centre back joins them "for a consideration of 75 million euros, payable in five financial years, and additional costs of 10.5 million euros."

The full sum is just above the 84.5 million euros Liverpool reportedly paid last year for Southampton's Virgil van Dijk, and above the 80 million euros Bayern Munich splashed out for Atletico Madrid's Lucas Hernandez this season.

Juventus said later in the day that the official presentation will take place Friday morning.

De Ligt became Ajax' youngest-ever captain last year and in the past season won the Dutch league and cup double.

The 17-times capped player reached the 2017 Europa League final and scored the deciding goal as the Dutch ousted Juventus in the European Champions League quarter-finals in April.

Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain were reportedly also interested in de Ligt but Juventus prevailed in the long battle for his signature.

De Ligt was quoted last month as saying that star striker Cristiano Ronaldo asked him to join the Bianconeri. The two spoke briefly after the Nations League final won 1-0 by Ronaldo's Portugal over de Ligt's Dutch side.

"It's the news all Bianconeri fans have been waiting to hear all summer: Matthijs de Ligt is officially a Juventus player," Juventus said.

De Ligt is the latest high-profile arrival at Juve, who have won the last eight Serie A titles but are yet to win the Champions League since their last title in 1996.

He joins a high-profile veteran backline including Leonardo Bonucci and captain Giorgio Chiellini at the club now coached by former Chelsea and Napoli helmsman Maurizio Sarri.

Veteran keeper Gianluigi Buffon has rejoined the club after one season at PSG, midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot arrived on free transfers from Arsenal and PSG respectively, and Juventus has also signed Luca Pellegrini, Cristian Romero and Merih Demirel.

De Ligt is the second star to leave the the Ajax team - who apart from ousting Juventus also beat then three-time reigning European champions Real Madrid - following midfielder Frenkie de Jong's transfer to Barcelona for 75 million euros.