Juventus are increasingly confident that they can win the race to sign Matthijs de Ligt and are preparing to bid around €70 million (£63m/$80m) to land the Ajax star.
There is huge interest from Europe’s top clubs in the centre-back, who captained Ajax to a domestic double as well as playing a key role in their progress to the Champions League semi-final.
The likes of Manchester City, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain have all been keen on signing De Ligt, who has insisted that he will consider his next move while on holiday following the conclusion of the Nations League tournament.
Indeed, PSG remain one of the front-runners to land the Dutchman, with talks ongoing over the last two weeks although with the player having yet to accept an offer from the Ligue 1 champions.
Barca had long been considered favourites to sign De Ligt, with his Ajax team-mate Frenkie de Jong already secured for the 2019-20 season and the Catalan giants hoping that the chance to play alongside Lionel Messi would also work in their favour.
With plenty of defensive options already at their disposal, however, they will likely need to sell before they push ahead with a move for De Ligt, while there is also the possibility of Neymar returning in the summer for what would be a significant sum.
City, for their part, had also been interested in signing the centre-back although the Premier League champions have pulled back from a deal for the player because of the figures involved and a reluctance to work with agent Mino Raiola.
But it’s Juve who are now confident they can strike a deal with Ajax and convince the player to head to Italy.
Indeed, according to sources close to the Italian club they are speaking with De Ligt’s agent Raiola on a daily basis in an attempt to move into pole position to sign the 19-year-old.
Juve will contact Ajax in the coming days over negotiating a deal for De Ligt, with their opening offer expected to be in the region of €70m.
The attraction of joining the Serie A champions, who won their eighth title in a row in 2018-19, is obvious, with the club determined to improve their squad ahead of another attempt to progress further in the Champions League.
The signing of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018 was seen as a clear statement of intent in terms of their aspirations to win Europe’s top club competition, although they were dumped out at the quarter-final stage by De Ligt’s Ajax last season.
Indeed, Ronaldo himself appears to have played a part in trying to convince De Ligt to move to Turin, with the Netherlands international revealing that the former Real Madrid star asked about him joining Juve following the Nations League final.
Juve are also exploring a move for Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, although they are aware of rival interest from Real Madrid, who appear the favourites to land the World Cup winner.