Andrea Pirlo confirmed it is “unlikely” Luis Suarez will join Juventus from Barcelona but vowed the Serie A champions remain in the hunt for a new striker.
Although there is much about Suarez that appeals to Juventus, the process of securing an Italian passport for a player who turns 34 in January is a complication that Pirlo addressed on Saturday.
Suarez needs that citizenship to be eligible for a move, given the Bianconeri have filled their quota of non-EU players, and he is reportedly eligible to apply because of his wife’s family background.
The prospect of Suarez teaming up with former Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus would have been tantalising, with Pirlo having allowed Gonzalo Higuain to join Inter Miami.
But Juventus have questions over how long the passport process for Suarez might take, and Pirlo said, quoted in Corriere dello Sport: “It is difficult because looking at the times for the passport … it is unlikely he will be our centre forward.”
Suarez has been left out of Barcelona’s squad for Sunday’s Joan Gamper Trophy match against Elche, with incoming coach Ronald Koeman looking keen to offload him.
Speaking in a news conference, Juventus head coach Pirlo said: “We are all waiting for the central striker. The transfer market is long.
“We are calm and happy with what we have. There is no rush.”
Pirlo’s first competitive game in charge comes on Sunday when Juventus face Sampdoria in Serie A, the Turin giants launching their quest to secure a 10th consecutive Scudetto.