Football Index

Europe’s Biggest Clubs On Icardi Alert

 

It’s hard to believe that this season marks the first time in which Inter striker Mauro Icardi (£4.29) has ever played in the Champions League, such has been the furore surrounding his talent since he moved to San Siro from Sampdoria at the beginning of the 2013/14 campaign. The Nerazzurri qualified on the final day of last season, entering for the first time since 2011/12, but would exit at the group stage thanks to a 2-1 loss to PSV Eindhoven.

That initial sortie into Europe’s most prestigious knockout competition would see Icardi return to Camp Nou for the first time in his professional career, since he spent three years in the Blaugrana youth sector between 2008 and 2011. However, progress since then in his trademark deadly marksmanship has led to him continually linked with top teams both at home and abroad.

“I’m fine at Inter,” declared the Argentine to La Gazzetta dello Sport before that aforementioned match with Barcelona. “I’ve no intention of going away. Me and my family are fine in Milan. I want to reach my goals and I want to give my contribution to improve the image of Inter. I’m the captain of this team and I want to fight for these colours. That’s why I’ve never thought of moving away, despite the offers that I’ve received and that I will receive.”

This all paints a rosy picture. Yet there have been a number of off-field incidents that have tainted Icardi’s tenure as club Captain, including a £90,000 fine issued by the club this week as the striker reported back late for training after the holidays.

Another bone of contention is his wife and agent Wanda Nara. Reports in the Italian press have suggested that the Nerazzurri hierarchy have suggested that Icardi seeks new representation after she caused alarm with both comments in the press and risque videos of herself posted on social media. “It’ll always be Wanda Icardi who takes care of my and our interests until the end of my career,” the player tweeted in response to those claims.

Seemingly – *ahem* – unwilling to leave anything to the imagination, Nara herself broached the subject of a contract renewal that has completely stalled in the press this week.

“We’re far from reaching an agreement,” she told AS. “The figures being talked about in Italy aren’t true and we haven’t received a satisfactory proposal from Inter yet. I won’t deny that we can reach an agreement, but right now we’re very far apart. It’s not logical to renew Mauro’s contract for the amount he currently earns.

“We believe Mauro is worth more than that. There are some very important clubs interested in signing him. For example, there are the two biggest clubs in Spain, with whom we have excellent relationships, plus an English team and a French one.”

Her hints over which clubs are showing interest are typically unsubtle, and it doesn’t take a genius to deduce that Real Madrid, Barcelona, PSG and either Chelsea or Manchester United make up this list after what has already been reported in the press.

But is this for real, or is it a high-stakes bluff to force Inter into offering more money?

It’s currently hard to tell, but it certainly seems like this is the closest Icardi has ever come to choosing to leave Inter, and the interested parties will be watching how this plays out in order to bag a striker who is one of the best available in terms of shooting accuracy.

However, this saga concludes, you are bound to hear and see every part of the negotiation thanks to the inimitable Wanda Nara, who somehow manages to overshadow her husband’s brilliant play with off-field drama.

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Football Index

Derby d’Italia

This Friday sees a huge clash in Serie A as Juventus host Inter at the Allianz Stadium in Turin. The Nerazzurri are already 11 points behind their rivals after 14 matches, and defeat here would see any small hopes of a title win fade to nothing as Juve march on towards an eighth consecutive Scudetto.

Yet more than a heavily-favoured champion facing an unfancied pretender to the belt, this is a rivalry so fierce that it was handed the title of “Derby d’Italia” (Derby of Italy) back in 1967 by journalist Gianni Brera. That teams from two separate cities – albeit separated by just 90 miles in the North of the country – now have derby status in the matches between them is testament to a series of incidents that have caused an intense dislike.

One of the most notable of these was when Juve were stripped of their Serie A title in 2005/06 and relegated to Serie B for the following campaign during the Calciopolicontroversy. A further crushing blow would then be delivered when their league win was handed to third-placed Inter after AC Milan in second were also given a points deduction.

Moving into more present times, well-loved Juventus director general Beppe Marotta looks to have made the move to San Siro after the Bianconeri opted to move forward without him. The 61-year-old has been the man responsible for sourcing Juve’s incredibly astute signings since 2010, a foundation from which their unprecedented recent success was built.

“We’ll see” was the answer given to reporters by Marotta outside a Lega Serie A meeting, when questioned over rumours that he will be officially unveiled in a new capacity at Inter ahead of Friday’s anticipated encounter. If so, it will be a poignant moment indeed, especially as this will be seen by many as a sure-fire way to close the gap.

A good summer in the transfer market saw Inter impress on paper, however boss Luciano Spalletti is yet to get his team firing on all cylinders, a tendency for inconsistency harming their chances of getting near a Juventus team that remain unbeaten in the league this term. Even if they are still a long way from making a genuine attempt at the title, a win over their despised rivals on Friday will certainly give them some hope that they are heading in the right direction.

Last year’s fixtures between the pair first saw a monumental effort from Inter secure a 0-0 away from home, but the match in Turin was poignant in that it was the last of an unbeaten start to 2017/18 for Inter – Spalletti’s side going on to notch up two losses followed by five consecutive draws. It was followed by a thrilling 3-2 away win for Juve at San Siro, scoring on 87 and 89 minutes to take home all three points in a victory which effectively handed the Bianconeri the title towards the end of the season.

All of the above factors give this fixture a real intensity, and neutral supporters can look forward to something special at the end of the working week. It is now 51 years since Brera gave this match its moniker, and it has been living up to it ever since.

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Talk Sport

Chelsea and Manchester United suffer blow as Inter Milan ‘reach agreement’ for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic

Inter Milan have swooped in ahead of Chelsea and Manchester United to reach a provisional agreement with Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, according to reports in Italy.

The midfielder was in high demand during the summer and it was thought he would leave Lazio for a new challenge.

Lazio wanted £130million for Milinkovic-Savic during the summer
 

However, the Italian club dug their heels in over the Serbian’s price tag and refused to let him go for anything less than £130m.

That put off the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United, who were keen to strike a deal for Milinkovic-Savic.

Inter too were reluctant to press ahead with a transfer, but that has now changed over the past few days.

According to Corriere della Sera, the club have now struck a provisional agreement with Milinkovic-Savic ahead of a move next summer.

Inter’s general manager-elect Beppe Marotta, who is joining the club from Juventus, is said to have brokered the deal.

Now, the club’s owners need to agree a fee with Lazio for the 23-year-old, who scored 12 goals in Serie A last season.

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Transfer gossip: Chelsea and Manchester United target Mauro Icardi could be sold by Inter Milan with Financial Fair Play sanctions looming

Mauro Icardi could be on his way to either Manchester United or Chelsea with Inter Milan reportedly facing financial woes.

The San Siro club are, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, in line to receive sanctions from UEFA for breaching Financial Fair Regulations.

The Argentine has scored goals for fun in Serie A
 

The governing body are said to have informed Inter they need to balance their books and raise €50million (£44million) by June or risk facing sanctions.

To do so it has been suggested the Serie A side can generate the money through player sales – and Mauro Icardi is the prime target.

The striker is already a wanted man, with both Chelsea and Manchester United hot on his tail.

The Argentina international has already struck seven times this season in Serie A, and chipped in with two assists.

Chelsea and Manchester United would both love to snap up the 25-year-old and they may now get their chance if Inter need to raise funds.

Icardi currently has a release clause of around £90million in his current contract.

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FootballIndex Futures

Argentina forward Mauro Icardi, 25, is set to sign a new contract with Inter Milan despite interest from a number of European clubs, including Chelsea. (Calcio Mercato – in Italian)

Argentina forward Mauro Icardi, 25, is set to sign a new contract with Inter Milan despite interest from a number of European clubs, including Chelsea. (Calcio Mercato – in Italian)

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Talk Sport

Former West Ham loanee Joao Mario ‘rejected the chance to join Fulham’ from Inter Milan

Former West Ham loanee Joao Mario snubbed a summer move to Fulham, according to reports in Italy.

The 25-year-old made 13 Premier League appearances for the Hammers last term and impressed during his stint in east London.

Mario featured for Portugal at the World Cup
 

However, it has now been suggested that he turned down the chance to stay in the capital when Fulham came calling during the window.

The Whites launched an ambitious summer spending spree, splashing almost £100m on the likes of Aleksandar Mitrovic, Jean-Michael Seri and Andre Anguissa.

But they currently find themselves in the Premier League’s bottom three after a dreadful start to the season, conceding a staggering 28 goals in their opening ten games.

According to FCInterNews, AS Monaco also wanted to land Mario before the transfer window closed but he decided to stay and fight for his place at Inter.

Fulham are struggling so far this season
 

So far this season, he has made just one Serie A appearance for the Italian giants.

The Portuguese midfielder reportedly decided against joining either Fulham or Monaco because he wanted to play for Inter rather than move to a ‘less ambitious club’.

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Manchester United transfer news: In-form star Anthony Martial being eyed by Juventus, AC Milan, and Inter Milan

Italian trio Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan are all monitoring the contract situation of Manchester United star Anthony Martial.

The young French forward has been in impressive form of late, bagging four goals in his last four appearances for the club and there are rumours that United are preparing to offer the 22-year-old a new long-term contract.

Manchester United star Anthony Martial applauds his fans.

 

Martial was linked with a summer exit from United after failing to nail down a regular spot in Jose Mourinho’s first-team squad, but he insisted upon staying at Old Trafford and fighting for his place.

However, while he has enjoyed a recent upturn in form, recent reports have suggested that Martial is no closer to agreeing a new contract at United.

And, according to Tutto Mercato, Juventus, Inter and AC Milan are all poised to make their moves should his contract issue not be resolved.

Martial’s current deal expires next summer and while there is no indication that a new deal is close to being agreed, United are reportedly confident of keeping hold of the in-demand forward.

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Transfer news: Manchester United and Man City must pay more than £70million to sign Milan Skriniar

Manchester City and Manchester United will have to spend more than £70million to sign Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar.

The 23-year-old has been one of the standout performers in Italy ever since he moved to the San Siro in 2017 and drew praise from Barcelona forward Luis Suarez this week.

Inter Milan star Milan Skriniar in action against Tottenham in the Champions League.
 

The centre-back has shone for Inter and Europe’s biggest clubs are now fighting it out to sign him.

Both Manchester City and Manchester United are interested in Skriniar, who has also caught the eye of Bayern Munich.

But, according to Tuttosport, Inter have warned those chasing the Slovakia international it could cost them more than £70m to sign him.

The Serie A side are under no financial pressure to sell and as such they will not let him go cheaply.

Skriniar celebrates scoring for Internazionale earlier this season.
 

It is understood £70m is the starting price for Skriniar, but a bidding war could cause that figure to go up.

The defender, however, may have an impact on the price if he opts to force through a move.

Skriniar is hoping to secure a pay rise at Inter, but as of yet they have not met his demands of £3m-a-year.

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Crystal Palace transfer news: Rivals for striker Gabriel Barbosa confess completing a deal will be difficult

Santos president Jose Carlos Peres has admitted it will be difficult for them to keep Crystal Palace target Gabriel Barbosa.

The striker is currently on loan at the Brazilian club from Inter Milan after struggling to settle in Italy.

Gabriel Barbosa in action for Santos.
 

The Brazilian moved to the San Siro from Santos in the summer of 2016 for around £25million and big things were expected of him.

However, Barbosa has flopped in Serie A and he was loaned back to his old club in January.

The 22-year-old has found his feet again there and he has scored more than 20 goals in all competitions.

Santos would love to keep Barbosa, but they face strong competition from England in the shape of Crystal Palace.

Barbosa, nicknamed Gabigol, flopped in Italy.
 

And now Santos president Peres has confessed it will be tough for them to keep the striker due to financial factors.

“We will not give up, we will keep trying,” Peres told UOL.

“But it is important to say that it is very difficult to take that player out of Inter for next year.”


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Wolves, Leicester City, Southampton and Fulham are all being linked with 25-year-old Portuguese midfielder Joao Mario, who has not played for Inter Milan this season. (Calciomercato – in Italian)

Wolves, Leicester City, Southampton andFulham are all being linked with 25-year-old Portuguese midfielder Joao Mario, who has not played for Inter Milan this season. (Calciomercato – in Italian)

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