Luis Suarez's proposed move to Juventus appears to be off, after coach Andrea Pirlo admitted it would be 'difficult' for the Uruguayan forward to obtain an Italian passport before the end of the transfer window.
I Bianconeri have already filled their allotted allowance of two non-EU signings per window, after they confirmed the arrival of Brazilian midfielder Arthur Melo from Barcelona, and American Weston McKennie from Schalke.
This meant that Suarez's signing hinged on the Uruguayan's ability to obtain an Italian passport, as Juve would be unable to bring in any more players from outside of the EU. However, boss Pirlo has confessed that a deal for the 33-year-old would be 'difficult', and he is now 'unlikely' to swap Catalunya for Turin this summer.
"We're all waiting for a centre forward. There is still a long way to go in the transfer window so we're calm and happy, we're not in a hurry," said Pirlo. "Suarez is difficult because it takes a long time to get the passport, so it's unlikely that it could be him."
The Barça man could qualify for Italian naturalisation as his wife is already a citizen, but that process can take a number of years, so the player and club were forced to search out a quicker and more viable route.
Suarez had undergone a language exam as part of this process to gain an Italian passport, but the Juve boss is now doubtful that they will be able to get the deal across the line in time.
Pirlo was coy his other attacking options however, speaking ahead of his coaching debut against Sampdoria on Sunday and insisting that neither Dejan Kulusevski nor Cristiano Ronaldo will start as a traditional centre-forward.
"Neither Kulusevski nor Ronaldo will start in the classic centre forward position, they will try to move according to what the other does. There will be rotation to allow as many people as possible to arrive in the area."
I Bianconeri will be without Paulo Dybala, Matthijs de Ligt and Douglas Costa however, as they all continue their recovery following injury setbacks.
"Dybala is recovering slowly, while De Ligt will still take some time. Douglas Costa is a strong player who has had some physical difficulties in recent seasons, we are trying to bring him back in the best condition."
Speaking over his ambitions for the season, it was obvious that the rookie coach has only one idea in mind - winning the title. He has plenty of faith in his players too, who he described as 'a team of champions'.
"A new season begins, we start from scratch and we have to face it with desire and ferocity. I'm going to tell the guys tomorrow that we have to get off to a good start.
"The pre-season was short for everyone; we weren't able to play much. We needed the minutes that the internationals got in their legs. We have a lot of games with little time to prepare. I carry on my idea of football, which must be aggressive and with a mastery of the game.
"I have no doubts. I am so certain because I coach a team of champions."