Bayern Munich believe they have moved ahead of Chelsea in the pursuit of Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, 90min understands, although the London club remains in the hunt.
De Ligt has chosen to leave Turin this summer having failed to agree a new contract with Juve as the club is unwilling to accept his revised wage demands, alerting Bayern and Chelsea to his potential availability.
The Netherlands international only has two years remaining on his current deal, meaning there is a need for urgency if the Bianconeri want to recoup a significant fee for a player they signed from Ajax for £77m in 2019.
Having reluctantly accepted they will need to sell this summer, Juventus have set their valuation for the 22-year-old at €100m – a fee which would make him the most expensive defender of all time.
That is a figure that Chelsea would be willing to meet, as they look to significantly strengthen their defence following the departures of both Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen at the end of their respective contracts.
However, 90min understands that Bayern Munich believe they are currently De Ligt’s preferred destination, with the defender impressed by the project proposed to his representatives by sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic and head coach Julian Nagelsmann.
Things are not cut and dried, though. Juventus‘ asking price is a significant obstacle to a move to the Allianz Arena, with Bayern currently unwilling to match their €100m valuation.
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The Bavarian giants are conscious of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations having already spent big on Sadio Mane and Ryan Gravenberch this summer, and plans are also in the pipeline to sign RB Leipzig midfielder Konrad Laimer.
And while Die Roten have emerged as his first choice, De Ligt is also not against a switch to Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea originally thought to be his preference – and the Blues are prepared to meet his valuation either in cash or by offering players as makeweights.