- Associated Press - Thursday, July 24, 2014

ROME (AP) - Serie A runner-up Roma has edged city rival Lazio in the race to sign defender Davide Astori, adding another signal that it’s making a serious title bid this season.

Roma says it’s paying Cagliari 2 million euros ($2.7 million) for loan rights with the option to purchase Astori’s full contract for 5 million euros at the end of the season.

Lazio fans surrounded sporting director Igli Tare outside the squad’s hotel this week demanding an explanation.

Having moved up through AC Milan’s youth system, Astori spent six seasons with Cagliari and has seven appearances for Italy, although he was not included in the World Cup squad.

Astori, 27, joins new Roma signees Ashley Cole (from Chelsea), Juan Iturbe (Verona), Seydou Keita (Valencia), Urby Emanuelson (Milan) and Salih Ucan (Fenerbahce).