Saturday August 24 2013
Conte on Juventus rivals

Antonio Conte identified the challengers to Juventus in Serie A, clings to Paul Pogba and reveals he didn’t want to sell Emanuele Giaccherini.

The Bianconeri won the title for two years running and a third would be an historic achievement not managed since the 1930s. They open their campaign tonight against Sampdoria, click here for a match preview.

“Napoli signed Gonzalo Higuain, so have a strong side. Juventus had also negotiated for Higuain, but would not spend €35m,” Conte told Sky Sport Italia.

“Then there’s Fiorentina, who want to abandon their status as a mid-table side and in my view they can target ambitious objectives like the Scudetto.

“Milan invested for Mario Balotelli and in my view Inter have an excellent squad at their disposal.”

Conte also commented on his own team, which has been enriched with Carlos Tevez, Fernando Llorente and Angelo Ogbonna.

“Tevez and Llorente have settled in very, very well. Let’s not forget that Tevez is coming off a different League, while Llorente barely played last season. We need patience, as we know Llorente is a great signing and he was a free transfer too.

“I am convinced that those two, along with Ogbonna, can give us a great hand this season.”

Arsenal reportedly made an offer for midfielder Pogba, but it was turned down point-blank, unlike the Sunderland bid for Giaccherini.

“I say that the Pogba we see today is not the same Pogba who arrived a year ago. He is a guarantee, not just a player of potential, a hard worker and someone who really wants to become one of the best.

“As for Giaccherini, his departure was a symptom of where Italian football is at financially right now. I would never have parted with a player like Giaccherini.”

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