Adem Ljajic to be rested for EL clash

Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella is unlikely to play Adem Ljajic in Thursday's Europa League clash with Grasshoppers because the rumours surrounding his future are becoming too distracting.

AC Milan have seen two offers for Ljajic, 21, rejected -- but the Rossoneri’s interest has affected the midfielder, who has also been linked with Atletico Madrid and could become a target for Roma should Erik Lamela leave for Tottenham.

With Serbia international Ljajic’s future up in the air, Montella said picking him for a game “the whole season depends on” could be a gamble, even if he has praised the player’s work ethic.

“He seems serene to me, but he could well be affected by this whole affair,” Montella said. “He’s still a young lad, so that would be quite normal. That does not mean he will not play, but I will base my decision on what is best for the side at the moment.”

The Viola are keen to extend Ljajic’s contract and end speculation about his future, but the issue is unlikely to be resolved until September 2, when the transfer window closes.

“We’re close to the end of the transfer window and, when that closes, so too will this affair,” Fiorentina general manager Sandro Mencucci said.

“Everything is still possible and it’s only normal that Ljajic has a lot on his mind. I’m optimistic, always, and I’d like to see these negotiations come to the best possible conclusion.”