Chelsea have entered the race to sign Dutch international defender Matthijs de Ligt from Juventus in the summer. Antonio Rüdiger’s departure has left a big hole in the Blues’ defence. He was their best defender last season, and the manager is looking to replace him with a defender who has the same calibre and can take Chelsea to a new level. Matthijs de Ligt is just 22 years old and is rated as one of the best centre-backs in the world. He was signed by Juventus in 2019 from Ajax for a high fee. The defender can pass the ball well and is a threat in the air while going forward on set-pieces. Thomas Tuchel is also looking for a similar type of defender to Rüdiger.
De Ligt made seven appearances in the UEFA Champions League 2021/22 season. He was also a regular in the league and made 31 appearances. The above viz shows the heat map of the player in the UEFA Champions League. He featured on the left side of the defence. Rüdiger featured as the left-centre back for Chelsea, and de Ligt also played a similar role. The tall defender was unable to score a goal in the UEFA Champions League but registered three goals in Serie A. In the UEFA Champions League, he managed only three touches inside the opposition’s penalty box.
The above viz shows all the duels that were contested by the defender in the UEFA Champions League this season. Most of the duels contested by de Ligt were defensive duels, as he averaged 5.3 defensive duels, 4.76 aerial duels and 1.77 loose ball duels per 90 minutes, respectively. De Ligt had a high win ratio as the player managed to win 35.9% of defensive duels, 65.71% of aerial duels, and 76.92% of loose ball duels. He also contested a few aerial duels inside the opposition’s penalty box but failed to attempt a shot in the competition.
The 22-year-old also made a few other defensive contributions. He made 41 interceptions, and four were made inside the opposition’s half. He made 20 interceptions when other players were on the ball; 11 interceptions were in the form of passes intercepted; seven interceptions were made while contesting a duel, and three were normal interceptions. Other than this, he made 78 recoveries, and 16 were made inside the opposition’s half.
Chelsea are in desperate need of a defender and de Ligt looks like their primary target. They are also after Jules Kounde, and both these players are on the wishlists of other clubs too. The Blues will look to persuade the player and bring him to London. He plays in a similar role to Antonio Rüdiger and could be his like-to-like replacement.