• Premier League

Juve end pursuit of City's Kolarov

ESPN staff
August 28, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »

Juventus have denied they are set to move for Manchester City left-back Aleksandar Kolarov before the transfer window closes.

And City manager Manuel Pellegrini's defensive worries are set to ease with the news that Micah Richards is on the verge of a return to training.

Juventus were interested in Kolarov earlier in the summer, but while the former Lazio player was linked with a season-long loan, no deal was agreed.

And now the Italian championshave decided that the presence of Italy international Simone Pepe in their squad means they do not need Kolarov.

Juventus sporting director Beppe Marotta told Gazzetta dello Sport: "Are we interested in Kolarov? No, we have Pepe who is recovering and we are betting on him."

Kolarov, who joined City for £19 million from Lazio in 2010, lost his place as the first-choice left-back to Gael Clichy after the Frenchman's arrival two years ago.

And while Pellegrini has replaced Roberto Mancini as City manager, the Chilean has followed his predecessor's lead by selecting Clichy for the first two games of the season.

Pellegrini will soon have options at right-back as well, with Micah Richards on the verge of a return to action after missing City's first two games of the season with a hamstring problem.

Richards wrote on his Twitter page: "Hamstring feeling much better hopefully train friday!"

The 25-year-old endured an injury-hit season last year, when he was limited to seven Premier League games because of ankle and knee problems.

But while Richards will not be available for Saturday's home match against Hull City, he should be in contention to feature after September's international break.

Fellow defender Matija Nastasic is also yet to play this season after suffering an ankle injury in the pre-season Barclays Asia Trophy.

But the Serb was an unused substitute in Sunday's 3-2 defeat to Cardiff and is likely to be available for the Hull game.

City are without captain Vincent Kompany for another three weeks because of a groin injury and, in his absence, midfielder Javi Garcia played in defence in the loss to Cardiff.

Pellegrini is still expected to sign another centre-back before the transfer window closes, with Atletico Madrid's Martin Demichelis his top target.

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