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Manchester United-linked Matthijs de Ligt plays down Bayern Munich exit talk

Man United-linked De Ligt plays down Bayern exit talk
© Reuters
Matthijs de Ligt insists that he remains "very happy" at Bayern Munich amid links with a summer move to either Manchester United or Arsenal.

Bayern Munich defender Matthijs de Ligt has poured cold water over suggestions that he is seeking an exit from the Allianz Arena this year.

The former Ajax and Juventus man has not had the easiest time of things under Thomas Tuchel in the 2023-24 season, only playing 19 times in all competitions, although injuries have not helped his cause.

Seven of De Ligt's 10 starts in the Bundesliga this season have come since the turn of the year, although he was dropped by Tuchel for their 3-0 loss to league leaders Bayer Leverkusen on February 10.

Dayot Upamecano, Kim Min-jae and Tottenham Hotspur loanee Eric Dier - who is now confirmed to be staying for another season - were all preferred at the BayArena, where Leverkusen took a giant step towards ending Bayern's 11-year reign of dominance in the Bundesliga.

De Ligt said after the match that his omission was nothing to do with a lack of fitness, and he was also overlooked for a place in the first XI for Bayern's Champions League last-16 first-leg loss to Lazio last month.

Matthijs de Ligt in action for Bayern Munich on July 20, 2022© Reuters

Amid rumours that his relationship with Tuchel had become strained, reports claimed that the 24-year-old would be open to a move to the Premier League, and both Arsenal and Manchester United were monitoring the situation.

The Red Devils could lose both of Raphael Varane and Jonny Evans at the end of the campaign, while Arsenal are lacking cover for William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes and have seen Jakub Kiwior linked with a return to Serie A.

However, speaking to reporters ahead of Tuesday's second leg with Lazio - which he is set to start in due to Upamecano's suspension - De Ligt insisted that he remains "very happy" in Munich and is feeling strong after his fitness woes.

When asked about the transfer speculation - as quoted by Fabrizio Romano - the Netherlands international said: "I'm not thinking about that now. I'm very happy at Bayern Munich.

"Of course I haven't had an easy season so far. I was injured for a long time. But at the moment I feel good and am fit, I want to play."

Bayern Munich coach Thomas Tuchel reacts on February 14, 2024© Reuters

De Ligt is still under contract at the Allianz Arena for another three seasons and would not be sold on the cheap this summer, having arrived in a £57.3m deal from Juventus in 2022.

The centre-back has registered five goals and one assist in 62 matches for the Bundesliga champions across all tournaments, winning the top-flight title and German Super Cup during his debut campaign.

However, Bayern are at serious risk of a first trophyless season since the 2011-12 campaign, as they lie 10 points worse off than Leverkusen at the top of the Bundesliga standings and have already suffered heartache in the DFB-Pokal and German Super Cup.

The Bavarian giants will part ways with Tuchel at the end of the season regardless of how they fare in the Champions League, where they have a 1-0 deficit to reverse against Lazio on Tuesday owing to a first-leg Ciro Immobile penalty.

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Matthijs de Ligt in action for Bayern Munich on July 20, 2022
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