University of Pretoria respond to reports linking Orlando Pirates with Mexican duo Diego Franco and Lugiani Gallardo

AmaTuks claim to be in the dark regarding Bucs' reported interest in their star attackers

University of Pretoria have responded to reports linking the club's key players with Orlando Pirates.

Diego Franco and Lugiani Gallardo have both reportedly attracted interest from the Soweto giants.

Goal spoke to AmaTuks team manager Khatho Mbanda amid reports indicating that Bucs are keen to snap up the two players during the upcoming 2018 January transfer window.

"We are not aware of Orlando Pirates' interest in the players," Mbanda told Goal

Franco and Gallardo, who both hail from Mexico, have hit the ground running at the Tshwane-based side which is campaigning in the National First Division (NFD).

The two attackers joined the club last month and they have already found the back of the net for the Premier Soccer League (PSL) promotion hopefuls.

Gallardo is a 27-year-old striker, who previously turned out for Zacatepec in Mexico, while attacking midfielder Franco (26) was once on the books of Costa Rican side Belen FC. 

The duo are said to have signed long-term deals (three-year contracts) with AmaTuks, who are under the guidance of Evangelos Vellios.

This means Pirates would have to purchase the two highly-rated attackers from the 2011/12 NFD champions midway through the current campaign.

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Furthermore, the Buccaneers will need to make space on their foreign quota if they decide to sign both players or one of them.

Zimbabwean duo Marshall Munetsi, Kudakwashe Mahachi, Zambian forwards Justin Shonga and Augustine Mulenga, and Brazilian defender Caio Marcelo are currently holding all the five available spots at Bucs.

Mahachi, Mulenga and Marcelo only joined Pirates this year, while Shonga was signed at the beginning of last season and Munetsi has been on the books of the Houghton-based side since 2016.