Juventus are being linked with a move for Barcelona maestro Andres Iniesta who is yet to sign a new contract with the Spanish giants.
The Bianconeri were linked with the Spanish international towards the end of the summer when their search for a big-name midfield signing seemed to be coming to an end. Despite signing Blaise Matuidi for the box-to-box role in the centre of the pitch, Juve were still being linked with a number of more creative midfielders and Iniesta was reportedly top of the list.
Juve slumped to a 3-0 defeat in their opening Champions League match against Barca where Iniesta shone in the centre of the pitch, turning back the years to deliver a vintage performance. The disappointing display may lead to a change in the odds for the Bianconeri to lift the elusive trophy after being in the final the previous year where they lost against Real Madrid . Who will win the competition this year seems to be more difficult to predict than previous years, with teams like Real Madrid, PSG and Barcelona standing on almost equal odds with the bookmakers to win.
Speaking ahead of the game, Juve director Beppe Marotta declared that Iniesta was more likely to remain in Spain.
“He’s a great champion, but he has a contract with Barcelona, which he’ll surely extend,” Marotta told La Sexta.
“He’s on the best of terms with his club’s board and he’s a very important player for them, so I think he’ll stay at Barcelona.”
The following day, reports emerged from Italy that Juve are still aiming to sign the midfielder on a free Bosman transfer next summer.
According to the Corriere dello Sport newspaper, Iniesta will not make a decision on his future until next spring and will delay signing a contract extension despite reports to contrary from the Catalan media who cite Barca sources who insist that a renewal is very close.
Juve will continue to press for Iniesta in the interim, but will likely face stiff opposition from a host of Premier League sides, names Manchester United and Manchester City where former Barca coach Pep Guardiola is currently in charge.
Despite being 33, Iniesta has continued to deliver some impressive individual performances, providing the assist for Lionel Messi’s second goal in the 3-0 victory over Juve.
The diminutive play maker has racked up the trophies with Barca over the years, winning 8 La Liga titles, 5 Spanish Cups, 6 Super Cups, 4 Champions League titles, 2 UEFA Super Cups and 3 Fifa Club World Cups. Equally impressive at international level for Spain, Iniesta was instrumental in the World Cup 2010 side as well as playing a huge role in Spain’s 2 European Championship victories.