Jaap Stam has urged Matthijs de Ligt to stay at Juventus and ‘adapt to the Italian game’ amid speculation that Manchester United are preparing a summer bid for the defender.
The Old Lady won the race to sign the highly-rated Netherlands international last summer after fighting off interest from the Red Devils and PSG to secure a £67.5million deal for the 20-year-old.
However, after a tough first season in Turin in which he has made just 15 league appearances, United are reportedly ready to test the water with another bid for De Ligt this summer as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seeks to bolster his back line.
But Stam, the former United centre-back, believes the youngster must stay with Juventus in order to improve his game, citing the difference in the quality of the Dutch and Italian leagues as the reason why he has found his first season difficult.
“I think it’s fundamental that De Ligt stays at Juve for many years,” said Stam, “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.
“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.
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“The experience has made him believe in himself more. He just needs to learn Italian so he can communicate with his teammates.”
Meanwhile, it is believed United have moved one step closer to sealing a move for Borussia Dortmund ace Jadon Sancho this summer.
Sancho, the England winger, has been in tremendous form this season having scored 14 goals and recorded 16 assists in 23 Bundesliga matches.