Juventus manager opposes moves for Athletic Bilbao and former Chelsea strikers.
Juventus coach Antonio Conte appears to have reiterated his opposition to the club signing former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba and Athletic Bilbao marksman Fernando Llorente, meaning the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham could yet swoop for the Spain star.
Conte, who returned to the bench in mid-December following a four-month ban, added that another reported Juve target – Athletic Bilbao marksman Fernando Llorente – would not be suited to his side either.
It is a surprising stance from Conte given that Athletic Bilbao have already issued a statement reporting Juve’s formal approach to speak to Llorente.
His words come nearly three weeks after Conte affirmed: “We won’t be signing any top players because we’re not in a position to. Neither us, nor other top teams in the Italian league.”
Llorente, who is out of contract with Athletic at the end of the season and could thus leave the club on a free transfer, was also brushed off by Conte despite talks already being held between the Spaniard and Juve last week.
“I’m delighted he is considering Juventus because it shows we can attract big name players again. But I would be surprised to see him in Turin in January,” said Conte.
Llorente’s future now remains unclear, especially with Arsenal now reportedly considering Barcelona ace David Villa.
As for Drogba, currently with Chinese top flight side Shanghai Shenhua, the Ivorian has been linked with a move to the Serie A champions for several months.
Juventus face Scottish giants Celtic in the last 16 of the Champions League next month and reports suggest Drogba – pivotal to Chelsea’s triumph in last year’s competition – would provide a much needed boost to their frontline.
Conte, however, claims he has made no personal request for the club to sign the Ivory Coast striker, and has not been informed of the club’s intention to sign him either.
“I’ve never asked the club to” sign Drogba “and they haven’t proposed him to me either,” Conte was reported as saying by ANSA news agency on Saturday.
Champions Juventus sit top of Serie A with an eight-point lead on Lazio ahead of the visit of Sampdoria on Sunday.
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