Dutch centre back Matthijs de Ligt's had become one of the most coveted players in world football and it was Juventus that won the race for his priceless signature.
Why did he choose Juventus over Barcelona and PSG?
The nuts and bolts of the move 🔧
Juve will pay Raiola €10.5 million in commission, while De Ligt gets a reported €10m net a year plus up to €5m in bonuses for a five-year contract. In Italian football, only Cristiano Ronaldo earns more. It's a big move and it's hard to argue that money wasn't a massive factor in De Ligt's decision.
Ajax got a transfer fee of €75m, about €15m more than they were asking this winter before their run to the Champions League semifinals made De Ligt everybody's must-have young defender. Now De Ligt must deal with the pressure on his shoulders that accompanies such a price tag. In Italy, Juventus fans will expect him to slot straight into the first team and assimilate into the winning culture.
Barcelona was thought to be frontrunners in the race for De Ligt for a long time, partially because they had already wrapped up the signing of De Ligt's friend and compatriot Frenkie de Jong, but they were not ready to meet his salary demands. PSG was rumoured to have expressed an interest, but perhaps Ajax used the widespread knowledge of PSG's wealth to force Juventus to up their bid.
When De Ligt got accusations that money was the driving factor in his decision to move to Juventus, he said "In the end, I decide! I look purely at my own development," to Ditch newspaper De Telegraaf.
Mino Raiola's huge cut from the transfer fee cannot be ignored, though.
How will he fit in? 🤔
Maurizio Sarri seems intent on replicating Ajax's attacking system of 2018/2019 that took them so far in the Champions League and won them admirers around the world. With central defenders often bypassing the halfway line and playing out from the back, Ajax was able to suffocate opponents. With Juve skipper Giorgio Chiellini now 35 and lacking a yard of pace, it will De Ligt's job to carry out this tactic as his captain mops up behind him. It's the way that De Ligt has been playing at Ajax since he was 9 years old.
De Ligt's brilliant range of passing and ability to pick out teammates with long raking passes will be a huge weapon for Juve as they look to hurt opponents in transitions with a more direct style.
How good can he become? 🌟
With Leonardo Bonucci's future at Juventus unclear, De Ligt is expected to become a first-team regular straight from the get-go. This might rip up the regular script where Juventus usually favours veterans and guides youngsters through their early years.
De Ligt told Algemeen Dagblad "It feels as if I've landed in the grown-up men's world, Work, work, work. Even on day one here, I noticed the different emphasis: good football, too, of course, but the most important thing is winning."
Still, only 19, De Ligt's ambition and high regard for his potential and current ability seem to be matched by his agent. "In terms of work rate and mentality, he approaches or even exceeds Nedved. His ambition reminds me of Ibrahimovic," Raiola said.
It seems that Juventus is the club that most closely matches his sky-high ambition to become the best defender on the planet, and it's also the environment where he can express himself as a ball-playing defender. This combination could well end up being a match made in heaven.