Milan interested in "excellent" Cassano

MILAN - Brief news ahead of this weekend's Serie A matches.

Serie A leaders AC Milan, who host AS Roma on Saturday , are pondering a bid for Sampdoria's Antonio Cassano despite an arbitration panel ruling on Thursday that Samp are not within their rights to rip up his contract after a row.

Cassano has been suspended by the club since October for swearing at their president but now looks set to be sold in January, although a sell-on clause demanded by former owners Real Madrid could complicate any deal.

"If a forward is going to arrive, it must be a technically excellent player. Cassano is one but he's not the only one," Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani told reporters.

Juventus, six points behind Milan in second, visit Chievo on Sunday buoyed by the performances of their young players in Thursday's meaningless 1-1 Europa League draw with Manchester City.

Filippo Boniperti, grandson of Juve great Giampiero Boniperti, made his debut while 19-year-old Niccolo Giannetti scored but neither are expected to make the bench on Sunday despite a number of injuries and Felipe Melo's suspension.

Third-placed Napoli, riddled with suspensions and without injured forward Ezequiel Lavezzi, are already looking beyond Sunday's final match of the year at home to Lecce by planning their January transfer activity.

Estudiantes defender Federico Fernandez is travelling to Naples to try to tie up a deal either for immediately or in June.

"I'm very ready to join straight way, let's see what type of deal the clubs can strike," the 21-year-old Argentine told Gazzetta dello Sport.

Lazio, level on points with Juve and Napoli, will miss injured striker Sergio Floccari at home to Udinese on Sunday so Tommaso Rocchi is set to deputise.

A new forward could be in the offing in January as the Romans try to maintain their surprise title push with Werder Bremen's Hugo Almeida a favourite of Edy Reja.

"We tried to get him in the summer but it broke down because of small details. We could try again," the coach told reporters.

Palermo playmaker Javier Pastore has told reporters he has extended his contract to 2015 ahead of Sunday's trip to Bari.

The new deal is designed to up the price for the highly-rated Argentine should any of Europe's top clubs call.

Bologna travel to Parma on Sunday with uncertainty continuing over their ownership.

Sergio Porcedda, whose side were deducted a point for unpaid taxes, has held talks with the head of coffee company Segafredo over a sale of the club but a deal is some way off.

Bologna's players have not been paid in two months and could use labour laws to all walk out for free in January if the situation is not resolved.

Sampdoria meet Genoa in the city derby on Sunday before Serie A shuts down for a winter break until January 6.

A win for either side would put them above seventh-placed champions Inter Milan, who are not in league action for a second stra