Jaap Stam sends warning to Matthijs De Ligt amid Man Utd transfer interest

Former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam has warned Matthijs De Ligt against a move away from Juventus, amid interest from the Red Devils.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer identified the Dutch defender as a top priority target last summer, but lost out in the race for his signature to the Italian giants.

The Manchester club are reportedly in line to submit another offer to bring the 20-year-old to Old Trafford again this summer, where he could slot in alongside £80million centre-back Harry Maguire.

De Ligt has struggled for form in his debut season at Juventus, starting just 15 Serie A games, but Stam believes he needs to stay and fight for his place rather than move on too quickly.

The three-time Premier League winner with United told TuttoJuve.com: ‘I think it’s fundamental that De Ligt stays at Juve for many years, because it’s the only way to improve, by dealing with the best, learning to live with pressure in important Champions League and Serie A games. 

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‘He was criticised a little but had to understand how to adapt to a different style of football. He’s still young and Matthijs is at a big club with far more pressure than he was accustomed to. 

‘The standard of opponent he is facing in Italy is also far higher than in the Netherlands.

‘Juventus invested a large sum to sign him, some way would say too much, but in my view he has done well so far. The experience has made him believe in himself more. He just needs to learn Italian so he can communicate with his teammates.’

One of the major factors in De Ligt opting to move from Ajax to Juventus was the opportunity to play alongside veteran defenders Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci.

Stam says they can help elevate the young centre-back’s game, he added: ‘They are top level defenders, real winners accustomed to the biggest games.

‘They are the best centre-backs in Italy and they can teach him so much on the art of defending.’

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