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Juventus' Giorgio Chiellini Talks Matthijs de Ligt Arrival, Mauro Icardi Rumours

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 15, 2019

TURIN, ITALY - MAY 19: Giorgio Chiellini of Juventus poses with the Serie A trophy following the Serie A match between Juventus and Atalanta BC at Allianz Stadium on May 19, 2019 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini has hailed the arrival of Matthijs de Ligt at the club but would not be drawn on rumours linking the Serie A champions with Inter Milan's Mauro Icardi.

De Ligt joined Juve from Ajax in July on a five-year deal for an initial fee of €75 million (£67.8 million).

Per il BiancoNero (h/t Calciomercato.com), Chiellini said:

"He is the most talented youngster in Europe, and we are happy to have him with us. All those who arrived raised the level of the team. In training you see that every year we are getting stronger, and this is a pleasure for those who like I was here for many years but it is also a stimulus and responsibility."

De Ligt turned 20 on Monday, and he's already accomplished a great deal in his career:

Scouted Football @ScoutedFtbl

Matthijs de Ligt at 20 years-old for club and country: • 134 appearances • 47 appearances as captain • 15 goals AFC Ajax's youngest-ever captain. https://t.co/McUhnuMTov

Dutch Football @FootballOranje_

Happy 20th birthday to Matthijs de Ligt. Eredivisie winner Europa League runner up Champions League semi-finalist Golden Boy Dutch talent of the year Dutch footballer of the year Youngest Netherlands debutante since 1931 He certainly achieved a lot in his teenage years!

He will inject some much-needed youth into the Bianconeri's back line after the retirement of the 38-year-old Andrea Barzagli at the end of last season.

The Dutchman's capture was an impressive coup, with the likes of Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United among those linked with him before he made the switch to Italy.

Juve conceded 30 goals in Serie A last season, their worst defensive record since the 2010-11 campaign, so De Ligt's addition was key in their mission to improve in that regard.

At the other end of the pitch, the club has been linked with Icardi.

According to Jaime Candil and Jonathan Meaney of ASJuve sporting director Fabio Paratici met Icardi's wife and agent, Wanda Nara, in July.

On Icardi's potential arrival, Chiellini said: "Fantasy football. Let's talk about who's here. What will be is not my business. If something happens, Fabio will be taking care of it. The goal is to create a group that remains compact and helps each other out in a season where everyone will be needed."

Goal's Carlo Garganese believes the Old Lady need a player in Icardi's position:

Carlo Garganese @carlogarganese

Inter have also turned tables on Juve, who desperately need a top No.9 with only Icardi really available. Inter also know Juve have thrown Dybala under the bus and must sell him. Inter hold all the cards in a potential Icardi-Dybala swap and can’t lose whatever they do there

The club allowed Moise Kean to join Everton earlier in August, though they still have Gonzalo Higuain as a centre-forward option.

Icardi has scored 124 goals in 219 games for Inter, and he only turned 26 in February. Higuain will be 32 in December.

As for Inter, Chiellini said that, along with Napoli, the Nerazzurri "can't hide" following Antonio Conte's arrival as manager and the signings of Romelu Lukaku and Diego Godin this summer.

Conte won three Serie A titles in as many seasons during his time at Juve, and he also won the Premier League title in his first campaign with Chelsea.

Inter finished 21 points behind Juve last season, but Conte's coaching and title-winning experience could narrow that gap. Therefore, the Bianconeri cannot afford to let their standards slip.