Lazio are stepping up negotiations with Empoli for defender Francesco Pratali.

Empoli management yesterday declared that Pratali was not for sale, despite the player going AWOL from training in recent weeks over Lazio's interest.

However, with Cribari facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after suffering a horror head injury against Dinamo Bucharest, Lazio are desperate to find a replacement and are now accelerating talks with Empoli over a fee for Pratali.