Pjanic ‘a Juventino’, but Roma in denial mode: report

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.

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.   -  Getty Images

Juventus has paved the way for Miralem Pjanic to join the Serie A champion after paying an estimated 38 million euros (USD 43m) to trigger his release clause from Roma, reports said on 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, runner-up the past two seasons, finished two points behind second-placed Napoli and now needs to pass the preliminary round of the Champions League to reach the competition’s group stages.

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

Sportmediaset claimed Juventus has 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 has 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 Sportmediaset.it 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 its sterling Serie A season with a 5-0 rout of Sampdoria on Saturday to finish nine points ahead of Napoli, which 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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