By John Cross
Italian giants Juventus are ready to switch targets – and try to snatch Luis Suarez away from Liverpool.
Juve general manager Giuseppe Marotta fears they are set to miss out on Arsenal’s Robin van Persie, and is determined to go all out for Suarez.
Uruguay hitman Suarez was on the Turin club’s original list of big-name targets, along with Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko, and at one point Juve were reportedly chasing him AND van Persie to form a formidable strikeforce.
Juventus fear van Persie has made up his mind not to move to Italy, even though they have offered £190,000-a-week AFTER tax, and may now draw a line under their pursuit, leaving Manchester United as favourites if Arsenal decide to sell.
That means Suarez is back in their sights, and they will test Liverpool’s resolve to keep him – and whether the Uruguayan, who bristled after being booed while playing for his country at the London Olympics, is happy in the Premier League.
Suarez has become public enemy number one in the Premier League after being banned last season when an independent panel appointed by the FA found him guilty of racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra.
Juventus, whose coach Antonio Conte is facing a lengthy ban connected to a match-fixing scandal, are desperate to bolster their title winning squad and regain their former standing as a European power by making a major acquisition.
They have struggled to land a big name so far but Suarez is now back on the agenda, with Dzeko seen as the back-up option.
City are open to offers for Dzeko to help them clear their decks – fellow strikers Emmanuel Adebayor and Roque Santa Cruz also hoping to leave.
Dzeko has had mixed fortunes at City since arriving 18 months ago and may be tempted by a switch to Juventus, as the Italians are unlikely to find Liverpool willing to be so receptive to interest in Suarez.
Van Persie, meanwhile, is set to play for Arsenal in an away friendly against Cologne next Sunday, after participating in the Gunners’ pre-season training camp nearby this week, even though his future is uncertain.
With Juve and Manchester City seemingly out of the race, van Persie is waiting to see whether United will make a fresh bid that’s closer to Arsenal’s £20m asking price.
Van Persie is interested in a move to Old Trafford, but boss Arsene Wenger has not given up hope that he’ll stay now that Arsenal’s summer spending spree is set to go close to £40m.
The Gunners are poised to add Malaga and Spain midfielder Santi Cazorla’s capture to the earlier signings of forwards Lukas Podolski (Cologne and Germany) and Olivier Giroud (Montpellier and France).
Meanwhile, Galatasaray have tabled an offer for Andrey Arshavin and Alex Song continues to be linked with Barcelona.