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Pjanic ‘a Juventino’, but Roma in denial mode


 Miralem Pjanic

Miralem Pjanic

Juventus have paved the way for Miralem Pjanic to join the Serie A champions after paying an estimated 38 million euros ($43m) to trigger his release clause from Roma, reports said Sunday.

The Bosnia midfielder has been one of Roma’s the leading lights this season, hitting 10 league goals and two in the Champions League to help the capital club to a third-place finish on Saturday after a 3-1 win at AC Milan.

It means Roma, runners-up the past two seasons, finished two points behind second-placed Napoli and now need to pass the preliminary round of the Champions League to reach the competition’s group stages.

Whether Pjanic is part of their summer play-off fixtures remains to be seen.

Sportmediaset claimed Juventus have already paid Roma the fee to trigger Pjanic’s release following a phone call from Massimiliano Allegri to the player.

Pjanic, notably, has honed his free kick-taking skills this season and Juventus have yet to find a true replacement for dead ball specialist Andre Pirlo since his move to New York City FC last year.

Roma have not denied Pjanic could leave, but in a statement relayed by Gazzetta dello Sport on Sunday the club said: “Roma denies the report relayed by claiming the club has already received payment for Miralem Pjanic’s release clause. This news is totally unfounded.”

Reports in Italy claim Pjanic has been bidding his teammates farewell in recent days and that they, in return, have been jokingly calling him ‘Juventino’ – which equates as ‘little Juventus player’.

Juventus capped their sterling Serie A season with a 5-0 rout of Sampdoria on Saturday to finish nine points ahead of Napoli, who saw striker Gonzalo Higuain score a hat-trick in a dramatic 4-0 win over relegated Frosinone to enter the history books.

With a stunning 72nd minute strike from the edge of the area, Higuain broke AC Milan forward Gunnar Nordahl’s 1950 record of 35 goals in a single, 20-team, three-points-for-a-win Serie A season.

Nordahl’s record stood for 66 years, but Higuain finished the season on 36 to claim a prestigious ‘Capocannoniere’ (top scorer) award.

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