Italian Serie A, Juventus, Keita Balde Diao, Lazio, Leagues, Story, Transfers

ESPN FC’s Gab Marcotti discusses the state of Juventus following their defeat against Lazio in the Italian Super Cup.
Gab Marcotti previews the upcoming Serie A season with his predictions for the top four and the Scudetto winner.

Juventus general manager Beppe Marotta would not be drawn on a possible improved bid for Lazio’s Keita Balde after confirming that their first offer was rejected.

The Bianconeri are in the market for a midfielder and the 22-year-old features at the top of their list, but Marotta insists they are not going to be held to ransom for a player they do not value as highly as Lazio do.

“I don’t think we’re going to be talking to Lazio about him tonight,” Marotta told RAI television ahead of Sunday’s Super Cup, which Lazio won 3-2. “It’s nothing to do with us now. I spoke with [Lazio president Claudio] Lotito personally in Milan and made our interest clear, but we made a bid that was not deemed sufficient.

“Maybe we will see again further down the line.”

Marotta added that Juve will be signing a new midfielder this summer and Keita, who is also being targeted by Tottenham Hotspur, could still be an option after he was left out of Lazio’s squad for the season curtain-raiser at the Stadio Olimpico.

Keito Balde joined Lazio from Barcelona’s youth team in 2011.

The attacking midfielder wrote on Twitter how he was “profoundly hurt” to be left out, but coach Simone Inzaghi said he just was not in the right frame of mind to play.

“I think too much has been said about him and he just didn’t look serene to me,” Inzaghi told RAI after his side’s victory.

“I preferred to put my faith in the young lads who had shown me their desire to give it their best. But let’s not dwell on that — it’s right that we enjoy this victory and enjoy the night.”

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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