Thomas Tuchel has been told Chelsea have a better player than Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt has been linked with a move to Chelsea after the Blues failed in their efforts to sign Jules Kounde from Sevilla.

According to CalcioMercato, the Dutchman is the ‘first name’ on the Blues’ list of defensive recruits and the club could activate his €120million (£103million) release clause next summer.

A deal for the 22-year-old star may be important, too, especially if Antonio Rudiger – who has been linked with a move to La Liga giants Real Madrid – decides to leave in the coming months.

De Ligt may even be secretly hoping for a move to Stamford Bridge as it will allow him to join up with his former teammate, Hakim Ziyech, a player he thinks – or jokes – is as good as the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi on his day.

When asked about his future in 2018 during his Ajax days, de Ligt told Sky Italia just how much he liked playing with the Moroccan.

“I don’t know what will happen yet,” he said. “Now I am focused only on Ajax – but Italy is a beautiful place and Serie A is an excellent championship.

“Who do I prefer between Cristiano Ronaldo to Juve and Messi to Barcelona? Hakim Ziyech.”

The duo were part of the Ajax side that were famously knocked out of the 2019 Champions League to Lucas Moura and Tottenham Hotspur.

Even though they were eventually eliminated, that team – which was captained by de Ligt – surprised many, and although the pair ended up going their separate ways, the prospect of a reunion is certainly exciting for Chelsea fans.

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