Barcelona CEO Oscar Grau has made the shocking claim that Matthijs de Ligt only chose Juventus over them for a bigger payday.
Following a standout campaign for Ajax, De Ligt was one of the summer’s biggest transfer topics. The likes of Barcelona, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus were all chasing him.
For many months, though, Barcelona were the reported favourites to sign the 20-year-old. Both Spanish and Dutch media outlets claimed at one point during the summer that an agreement was imminent.
But De Ligt ultimately settled on a €75m transfer to Serie A champions Juventus in a five-year deal. He will reportedly make €8m per year plus bonuses of €4m.
And now Grau has boldly stated that this was the main reason the centre-back overlooked Barcelona for Juventus.
Speaking in a presentation of the Camp Nou club’s budget, Grau said: “We made him an offer, but he preferred to go to Juve where Italian taxation allows him to earn a higher net salary.”
Contrary to the 55-year-old’s claims, though, De Ligt has already played down suggestions that money was a factor in his summer move.
Meanwhile, Grau also reflected on Barcelona’s attempts to re-sign Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.
“We made a very big effort for him,” added Grau.
“The club did everything possible with two offers, one with and one without players in exchange but still sustainable.
“The feeling, however, is that PSG never really opened up to a sale.”
Despite missing out on De Ligt and Neymar, however, Barcelona still got some good business done during the transfer window.
The Catalan club welcomed the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong to the fold while spending €255m in the summer.