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Rome derby has high stakes

Roma
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 By Ben Gladwell

Roma ahead of Inter in pursuit of Patrik Schick; Juve not interested

Gab Marcotti previews the upcoming Serie A season with his predictions for the top four and the Scudetto winner.

Sampdoria president Massimo Ferrero says Roma are leading the chase for Patrik Schick, whose proposed move to Juventus fell through earlier this summer after he failed a medical.

Inter Milan and Roma have both expressed an interest in the Czech Republic forward, who was recently given a clean bill of health by Sampdoria's doctors and given permission to resume full training, and Ferrero says the latter are in pole position.

"I can confirm that Roma are much further ahead than the other suitors for Schick," Ferrero said in quotes reported by La Repubblica. "I don't want to talk about the player's advisors because that is nothing to do with me."

The Giallorossi have strengthened their interest in the player after having two bids for Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez rejected. However, while in that instance they appeared to have the player's willingness to join them, but not his club's, the roles may be reversed with Schick.

He is reported to favour a move to Inter, although Roma's bid is the only one tempting Sampdoria to sell.

The 21-year-old has also been linked with Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund, but Juve's general manager Beppe Marotta has ruled out returning with a new bid for him, or Lazio's Keita Balde.

"The matter of Keita is closed, as is Schick," he said. "It's easy for you to say Milan, Juventus and Roma, but for us, the matter is closed."

In fact, Marotta says he does not expect to be involved in any more transfer activity this summer.

"There are just nine days left and we're relaxed and could close everything today," he said. "Then there is the fact that there could always be things which could make what I say now change, but there's nothing of concern because with the arrival of [Blaise] Matuidi, we have a player with a certain kind of characteristics, giving us a squad which can respond to any style of play."

That squad will also include Claudio Marchisio, despite the player being linked with a move to AC Milan in recent days.

"He's part of this squad which, year after year, tends to increase its quality, even in midfield, where there is now a strong competition for places, unlike a few years ago," Marotta said. "Then it is up to the coach to decide who plays, but we have to bear in mind that last year we played 57 competitive matches which, added to the games for the national team, mean that you really do need to have a lot of depth in your squad.

"It's normal that Marchisio, like [Sami] Khedira and Matuidi, cannot play every game. That's absolutely normal."

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.

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