Manchester United and Chelsea have been dealt a transfer blow in their reported pursuit of Italian legend Andrea Pirlo.
The veteran midfielder has been heavily linked with a move away from Juventus in the summer, with both the Red Devils and Blues touted as potential new destinations for the 34-year-old.
However, general director Giuseppe Marotta is confident the player will opt to stay with the Old Lady in the New Year, despite the possibility that he could agree to leave for nothing from January onwards.
A deal will not be in place for either Pirlo or Paul Pogba in time for Christmas, but he is relaxed over the situation and expecting good news.
"There will not be a present under the Christmas tree in the form of a contract renewal, but we are calm over the situation," Marotta told Rai Sport.
"We have a great relationship with both players and they see Juventus as their home. This is their natural habitat and it will be hard for them to find a batter place. I am optimistic that the situation will soon be solved."
The news will be a blow to the interested Premier League parties, including Manchester United manager David Moyes.
After replacing Sir Alex Ferguson at the Old Trafford helm, the Scot had trouble making his mark for the Red Devils in the transfer window, and missed out on a couple of big-name targets.
Pirlo certainly would have got the pulses racing among the Manchester United supporters, but it appears a deal is no longer likely to happen.
Chelsea boss Jose Mouinho is also set to miss out, having witnessed the player’s ability first hand during his time managing in Italy.
‘The Special One’ has generally looked to strengthen the Blues squad with young signings since returning to Stamford Bridge in the summer, but did add Samuel Eto’o in a position where he felt the team was light.
Pirlo would have added quality to the Chelsea side from a deep-lying midfield position, but it appears his future remains in Serie ‘A’.
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