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Juventus general manager Beppe Marotta has played down speculation linking the club with a move for Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta.
The 33-year-old’s contract is set to expire at the end of the current campaign, prompting some reports that he could be set for a Camp Nou exit. But speaking to La Sexta (h/t Football Espana), Marotta said it’s unlikely he will end up in Turin.
“He’s a great champion, but he has a contract with Barcelona, which he’ll surely extend,” he said of Iniesta. “He’s on the best of terms with his club’s board and he’s a very important player for them, so I think he’ll stay at Barcelona.”
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Indeed, speaking after Barca beat Juve 3-0 in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, the Blaugrana’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu said he remained confident Iniesta would agree fresh terms at the club, per Football Espana.
Juventus are a club renowned for taking players in the twilight of their career and finding some additional longevity within them. In recent years Dani Alves and Andrea Pirlo are two examples of footballers who have benefitted from a move to Turin.
As noted by sports writer Jonas Giaever, Iniesta was exceptional as Barcelona breezed past Juventus at the Camp Nou:
Jonas Giæver @CheGiaevara
Watching Barcelona v Juventus again now. Good grief, can we somehow mass produce Andrés Iniesta and bottle him up? Supercrack is the term.
While it’d be strange to see Iniesta, a footballer who is almost an embodiment of the Blaugrana, don the colours of another club, some key men have moved on from Barcelona in the past. Alves, Xavi and most recently Neymar all left the club when there was still something for them to offer.
There appears to be a confidence on the part of the Blaugrana that Iniesta will sign an extension. Though until a deal is finalised there’ll be concern he could leave the Catalans.
Lazio Swoop to Secure Sergej Milinkovic-Savic
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According to Corriere dello Sport (h/t Football Italia), Lazio are ready to pay Genk another €9 million to purchase the rights outright of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
As noted by Football Italia, the midfielder has been linked with a move to Juventus recently having excelled in the top flight of Italian football. It appears as though Lazio are ready to make it difficult for any side to prise the Serbian away from the Stadio Olimpico, though.
Since joining Lazio in 2015 the 22-year-old has gone from strength to strength, adding a thrust, ingenuity and incision to the team’s midfield.
While Ciro Immobile grabbed the headlines on Sunday in Lazio’s 4-1 win over AC Milan after his hat-trick, Milinkovic-Savic was also impressive, as we can see courtesy of Squawka Football:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Sergej Milinković-Savić game by numbers vs AC Milan:
100% aerial duels won
4 tackles won
4 fouls suffered
Combative display. https://t.co/rRa9aIEyeg
David Amoyal of ESPN is a big fan of the youngster:
David Amoyal @DavidAmoyal
Next summer Milinkovic Savic will be one of the most sought after players on market- has Simeone’s grinta & Pogba’s body & class
Juventus don’t necessarily need more options in the middle of the park. Already manager Massimiliano Allegri has Miralem Pjanic, Blaise Matuidi, Claudio Marchisio and Sami Khedira to call upon, not to mention Rodrigo Bentancur, who made his first start for the club in the loss to Barca.
Still, Milinkovic-Savic is a gifted footballer. When there are such players in Serie A, typically Juventus are monitoring their development.