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Juventus close in on Germany defender Howedes

Germany defender Benedikt Howedes is "more than an option" for Serie A champions Juventus in the transfer market.

Juve are aiming to win a seventh consecutive top-flight title this season, while they were placed alongside Barcelona, Olympiacos and Sporting CP in Thursday's draw for the Champions League group stage as Massimiliano Allegri looks to mastermind another run to the final.

They fell at the final hurdle in Europe's top competition to Barca in 2015 and Real Madrid last term, while Juventus' pre-season preparations were rocked by influential centre-back Leonardo Bonucci's departure to AC Milan.

Allegri's men began their Serie A campaign with a 3-0 win over Cagliari on Saturday and defensive reinforcements are seemingly on the way in the form of Schalke's Howedes.

Juventus are understood to be close to getting a €10million deal for the 29-year-old over the line and, speaking at the Champions League draw in Monaco, chief executive Giuseppe Marotta suggested as much.

"We are looking for a defender who may play both to the centre and as wing-back," he told Premium Sport TV.

"Howedes is an option. Actually, he's a little more than an option. But we still have to discuss terms with the player and Schalke."

If Howedes' agent Volker Struth is to be believed, the former hurdle is one Juventus need not worry about negotiating.

"Juve wants it, Benedikt Howedes wants it," he told Bild. "We have an agreement in principle. Now Schalke must want it too."

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