Maurizio Sarri has hinted that Miralem Pjanic is leaving Juventus for financial reasons because his technical ability ‘isn’t up for discussion’.
Pjanic is set to swap clubs with Barcelona midfielder Arthur Melo, in a move that could pocket Juve a ‘plusvalenza’ – or capital gain in English – of €57m and benefit the Catalans too.
“I don’t know the situation, but we’re relying on him fully right now,” Sarri said at a press conference.
“The lad is coming out of a delicate moment, but his technical ability isn’t up for discussion.
“I don’t know if he’ll be sold, but I haven’t heard anything from the club. For now, there’s no such story.
“Arthur’s a Barcelona player, talking about him wouldn’t seem right. I didn’t like it when Setien talked about Pjanic, our player. That’s why I won’t talk about Arthur.”
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s Serie A match against Lecce, the coach highlighted the need for a ‘winning mentality’ in the Bianconeri’s remaining fixtures.
“Our physical condition isn’t the best and we’ll play several matches close together.
“We must approach the game in the right way, without being sloppy or presumptuous.
“Lecce have done better away than at home, so we must have the maximum respect for them.
“I didn’t see the Inter game and I saw some of Lazio’s. Right now, we don’t have a substantial advantage.
“There are 33 points up for grabs and we must have the mentality to win points in all our games, nothing else.”
Gonzalo Higuain is back training after being among those last to return from the coronavirus lockdown.
“Gonzalo trained with the team yesterday. He can play a small role in a match, just like Ramsey.
“Pipita’s a sensitive player, everything that’s happened in his personal life and around the world has affected him.
“Upon returning, he didn’t think it was right to restart [the season]. He’s an important player for us.”
Blaise Matuidi seems set to fill in as a makeshift left-back, with Alex Sandro, Danilo and Mattia De Sciglio all unavailable.
“Today we went towards the Matuidi solution. We’ll try out others and then make a decision.
“We may have to rely on some of the Under-23 lads. One of them, in my opinion, is almost ready.
“He would only need a bit of Serie A experience behind him, but I’ll never tell you their name.”
Finally, the former Chelsea boss backed winger Federico Bernardeschi to become ‘a great central midfielder’.
“Bernardeschi’s strong, he has technical and physical ability. He must find consistency and he certainly has to mature as a footballer, but I never had any doubts about his ability.
“I still think he can become a great central midfielder for his ability to accelerate.”