Bayern Munich: Manuel Neuer backs Matthijs de Ligt to be leader in defense

Bayern Munich skipper Manuel Neuer praises new signing Matthijs de Ligt. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
Bayern Munich skipper Manuel Neuer praises new signing Matthijs de Ligt. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images) /

It has been a sensational summer transfer window for Bayern Munich. Even though they have lost Robert Lewandowski, the club hierarchy has strengthened key areas of the squad. The most recent acquisition has been that of Matthijs de Ligt from Juventus.

The Dutch international completed the move to Bavaria on Tuesday. He will now link up with his new teammates in the USA during the pre-season tour. Die Roten could end up paying €80 million for de Ligt if all bonuses are met. It is a statement signing for Die Roten as they look to win every possible trophy from next season.

Matthijs de Ligt is expected to go straight in the lineup at Bayern. Julian Nagelsmann has been reportedly pushing for the signing of a center-back after Niklas Sule left the club to join Borussia Dortmund in June. The club hierarchy moved swiftly to conclude the deal once de Ligt gave the green light to the transfer.

Along with his playing ability, de Ligt is also known for his leadership qualities. While speaking to Bild on Tuesday (via iMiaSanMia), Bayern skipper Manuel Neuer backed de Ligt to make an instant impact. The German goalkeeper also believes that de Ligt can fill the leadership void left by David Alaba in the defense 12 months ago.

"“He is really someone who can lead, who has charisma, who is a great defender. From my feeling, as I’ve watched him lately, he’s very close to German football. I don’t think it will take him a long time to integrate.”“It’s important to show presence in defense, also in terms of body language, that’s what David Alaba did a lot. Basically, as a defensive player, you’re grateful when you have players who can lead from behind”"

Matthijs de Ligt first showed leadership qualities during his time at Ajax. At the age of 19, he was the captain of the first team at Ajax that went on to reach the semi-final of the Champions League. He eventually learned more about leadership and defending at Juventus with the likes of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci.

Bayern was interested in signing de Ligt when he was leaving Ajax in 2019. However, the transfer never materialised. Despite a topsy turvy season in de Ligt, Bayern is getting a solid center-back that is far from the peak of his career.

Matthijs de Ligt’s immense ability on the ball will also make Die Roten’s buildup play much smoother. After the signing of de Ligt, Nagelsmann will have a significant number of options to play different systems at the back. He can go with a back three with de Ligt in the heart of the three-man defense. He also has attacking full-backs on both sides to use this formation consistently from next season.

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The Dutch international could make his debut for Die Roten against Manchester City on Saturday. He is set to wear the number four, previously worn by Sule. After the signing of Sule, Die Roten is not expected to make further signings in the defense this summer. They will turn their attention towards offloading fringe defenders.