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Juventus cool on Roberto Mancini link

Juventus general manager Giuseppe Marotta has confessed he is an admirer of Luka Modric, and he has played down a recent meeting with the agent of Roberto Mancini.

Marotta sparked speculation over a summer move by Juventus for Manchester City boss Mancini, after he met with agent Giorgio De Giorgis. Juve are currently seventh in Serie A under Luigi Del Neri, and it was reported that The Old Lady were considering a move for former Inter coach Mancini.

However, Marotta insists everything was above board, commenting to Sky Sports Italia: "I met Giorgio De Giorgis, but we just chatted about football in general.

"Even about Roberto Mancini? No, Mancini has a contract with City and we talked with De Giorgis about players."

Those conversations are likely to have included Tottenham schemer Modric, among others, with Marotta admitting the Croatian is a player admired by Juventus.

"[Stephan] Lichtsteiner? We like him," Marotta told Corriere dello Sport. "Modric? He's an interesting footballer but we are following many players.

"Neymar and [Carlos] Tevez? They are two great players that everyone wants, including Juventus, but we must consider the economic aspects. On Neymar there is a strong interest of Chelsea."

Spurs go into Wednesday's clash with Arsenal knowing they must win to put pressure on Manchester City in the race for Champions League qualification. And goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes recently admitted he fears Modric will leave if the club cannot offer top-level European competition next season.

"It's important we qualify for the Champions League again because we know it won't be easy to keep players like [Gareth] Bale and Modric," Gomes said. "But the club thinks big and wants to keep the best. Spurs will do their best to keep them."

One player who looks set for a switch to Turin when the transfer window reopens is Lyon's Michel Bastos, with the Brazilian's agent dismissing rumours he would reject a move to Juve if they failed to qualify for the Champions League.

"Juventus do not need to be worried about these rumours," he told Tuttosport. "The prospect of playing in the Italian league and meeting teams such as Inter and AC Milan twice per year is more important for Michel than playing in the Champions League.

"It's just a matter of waiting for us now. The directors of both clubs have yet to talk. I don't expect there to be any problems though. Lyon have told us that they're willing to open talks and to cash in on Michel."


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