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Juve remain interested in Llorente

Italian champions Juventus have confirmed they would be interested in signing Athletic Bilbao's Fernando Llorente in January if the Spain striker remains on the transfer market.

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Llorente has opted not to sign a contract extension with Bilbao and his current deal expires next summer.

Juve chief executive Giuseppe Marotta was asked about the 27-year-old striker in an interview with Tuttosport, following comments from Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho, who said Llorente would be Turin-bound early in the new year.

Marotta said: "He (Mourinho) will have precise information, he is always well-informed... If he (Llorente) remains on the market then he is a player that we are interested in. In January we will evaluate the whole situation."

However, Athletic Bilbao president Josu Urrutia remains hopeful that Llorente will sign a new contract.

"Nobody knows what will happen over the season," he said earlier this week. "Among us all, maybe we can make him change his mind."

Juventus chief Marotta went on the express regret that his club had been unable to sign Robin van Persie, who joined Manchester United from Arsenal in the summer.

However, Marotta did not believe the deal could be justified financially and was pleased with Juve's work in the transfer window.

"I have regrets about Van Persie, but it would have been a bad choice for a club like Juventus to pay almost €30 million for a player who was almost out of contract," Marotta said.

"We were able to hit the priority target of strengthening the group and raising the level of quality with the acquisition of players from the correct profile: good, young and with a reasonable salary. I refer in particular to (Kwadwo) Asamoah, (Mauricio) Isla and (Sebastian) Giovinco."

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