Lazio are continuing to push for Atalanta trequartista Aleksei Miranchuk, who had already been close to Genoa, but now La Dea want to keep him amid on-going Josip Ilicic uncertainty.

The 26-year-old Russia international has not been quiet about his frustration at the relative lack of playing time in Bergamo.

He has made 16 appearances this season between Serie A, the Champions League and the Coppa Italia, contributing one goal and two assists.

Miranchuk had been linked with Genoa when Andriy Shevchenko was at the helm, but that interest seemed to drop after the coach was replaced by Alexander Blessin.

Now Sky Sport Italia insist Maurizio Sarri is calling for Miranchuk to join him at Lazio and provide some creativity to bond midfield with attack.

It would be a loan with option to buy, but Atalanta are by no means ready to let him leave in the January transfer window.

This is largely because Miranchuk is seen as one of the alternatives to Ilicic, whose future with Atalanta and indeed in football is up in the air.

Coach Gian Piero Gasperini confirmed the reports that Ilicic was again suffering from mental health problems and the club would support him all the way, but it’s not clear when or if he will play again.

Today is the Slovenia international’s 34th birthday and Atalanta marked the occasion with a video of some of his best flicks and tricks from this season.

Meanwhile, fans greeted Ilicic after training with balloons, desserts and books on the history of Atalanta.

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