Di Natale opts to stay with Udinese

MILAN - Udinese striker Antonio Di Natale, Serie A's top scorer last season, has snubbed a move to big-spending Juventus and decided to stay with the perennial mid-table club.

"The player...has confirmed his wish to stay in Udine. Udinese are very satisfied by the decision taken by our captain and consider the issue closed," the club said in a statement on Thursday on their website.

Twice European champions Juve have made seven major signings already in the close season and let a host of players leave as they bid to recover from a woeful seventh-place finish in Serie A last term.

Di Natale rejecting the move just days before the close of the August transfer window could cause problems for Juve, whose new coach Luigi Del Neri had admitted the club were considering selling forwards Diego and David Trezeguet.

If both still leave, Juve will only have 35-year-old Alessandro Del Piero, Amauri and Vincenzo Iaquinta as out-and-out strikers unless another deal can be struck in the coming days.

Di Natale, 32, also rejected a move to Parma last season before scoring 29 league goals and being named in the Italy squad which flopped at the World Cup.

The new Serie A season starts this weekend.

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