Nicolo Barella Set for €50m Move to Inter as Italian Side Beat Chelsea and Napoli to Midfielder

​Inter have reportedly won the race for Cagliari star Nicolo Barella, beating the likes of Napoli and Chelsea to the Italian’s signature.

The 21-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge in recent weeks, and the speculation only intensified as Cesc Fabregas was granted a transfer to Monaco. It was rumoured that Chelsea had agreed a deal to sign Barella, but it now appears as though they have lost out to Inter.

News of Barella’s imminent move to Inter comes from ​Calciomercato, who state that ​Inter and Cagliari will soon have finalised all the terms of the deal. They will pay an initial €40m, as well as a further €10m depending on Barella’s performances.

He will be allowed to remain with Cagliari until the end of the season, which is thought to have been a deciding factor in Cagliari’s decision to pursue the deal. Barella has already given his consent to the move, and the two sides now coming to the end of their negotiations.

Cagliari are set to sign Boca Juniors midfielder Nahitan Nandez in a €15m deal, and the deal for Barella will be confirmed once the signing of Nandez has been officially finalised.

Nicolo Barella

​Chelsea are still on the hunt for a replacement to ​Fabregas, with only Jorginho capable of operating in the centre of Maurizio Sarri’s midfield. Barella was one of several names to be linked with the club, with Zenit Saint Petersburg’s Leandro Paredes also reportedly on Chelsea’s wish list.

This season, Barella has made 21 appearances for Cagliari and even earned his first cap for the Italian national team. He has started Italy’s last four matches, including two appearances in the UEFA Nations League.

Nicolo Barella

He is regarded as one of the county’s hottest prospects and has drawn comparisons to ​Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, as a result of his creativity and power. He has been used primarily as a central midfielder, but has also proven to be an option in both more attacking and defensive roles on the pitch.

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Picking the Best Potential Inter Lineup to Face Sassuolo in Serie A on Saturday

Inter host 11th-placed Sassuolo in the league at the San Siro on Saturday as they look to keep pace on with Napoli in the race for second place. 

The Nerazzurri, who sit third in Serie A, have won their last three matches in all competitions and face a Neroverdi outfit, who have gone four matches without a victory.

Here’s the potential lineup Luciano Spalletti could select for Saturday’s encounter.

3. Goalkeepers and Defenders

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Samir Handanović (GK): The keeper has been in impressive form this campaign, managing to keep ten clean sheets in 19 league games this campaign, including three in his last four. He isn’t usually called upon, considering his side have the second best defensive record in the league, conceding just 14 goals, but when he is summoned, he usually does his part to keep the Nerazzurri in front.

Šime Vrsaljko (RB): The full back has had his injury concerns this campaign but seems to be back to full fitness and has contributed to goals too (two assists). He has started five of the last six matches and has been on the losing side just once, when he has started. He has also helped to keep four clean sheets when he’s played the entire ninety.

Milan Škriniar (CB): The Slovakian has been pivotal to Inter’s defence this season. He has been such an important player, which is evident, considering he’s played all but twice this campaign, helping his side keep nine clean sheets in 17 league appearances.

Stefan de Vrij (CB): The Dutchman has made 19 appearances in all competitions and has helped to keep eight clean sheets. He has become a reliable figure under Spalletti, starting eight of the last ten matches and also possesses an aerial presence in the opposing box, contributing to two goals (a goal and an assist).

Kwadwo Asamoah (LB): The Ghanaian has become a real favourite of Spalletti’s on the left side of defence, as a result of his attacking nature and quality from out wide. The Italian has faith in the full-back, which is evident by the fact, that Asamoah has played ten of the last 12 games in all competitions. He may have provided just one assist, but the full-back has done his defensive duties and has helped his side keep eight clean sheets.

2. Midfielders

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Matteo Politano (RM): Politano has impressed for Il Biscione since joining in the summer. The Italian, who had a decent start to the campaign, hasn’t been among the goals as of late, but Spalletti seems to be an admirer of the 25-year-old, who has featured in every game for Spalletti’s men. Politano has been involved in six goals in 26 appearances.

Matías Vecino (CM): The Uruguayan has struggled with muscular injuries this campaign, but has still contributed for the Nerazzurri, with a goal and four assists in 19 appearances in all competitions. He has featured in three of the last four games and has done well in a deeper role, being able to keep possession under pressure and finding players in key attacking areas.

Borja Valero (CM): The Spaniard has become a reliable member of Spalletti’s squad, considering he’s played in the last 19 games in all competitions. He has excellent passing, can spread the ball out to the opposite flank to initiate opportunities and knows when to press the opponents. He has also provided one assist.

Ivan ​Perišić (LM): The Croat hasn’t had the best of campaigns, but he has looked more like his usual self in recent games. Perišić has contributed to eight goals in 24 appearances, including three assists against Benevento alone in his last outing, and will look to kick on in the second half of the season. 

1. Forwards

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Lautaro Martínez (ST): The Argentine has done well in his debut season in Italy. He has contributed to six goals in 16 appearances – (five goals and one assist) – including three in his last three. The first of three was the winner against Napoli at the San Siro, before he grabbed a brace against Benevento in the Coppa Italia. He has thrived alongside compatriot Icardi and could form a fine partnership going forward.

Mauro Icardi (ST): Icardi has been instrumental for Inter this campaign, continuing last season’s form which saw him finish as joint top scorer in the league. He already has 14 goals and three assists in 23 appearances overall and his goal against Benevento ended a run of three games without netting, which provide him with some confidence going into the game against Sassuolo.

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Inter Ready to Offer Contract Extension to Premier League Target Milan Skriniar

​Inter will offer a new contract to defender Milan Skriniar in the next few days as a reward for his excellent form since moving to San Siro in 2017.

Signed from Sampdoria for around €20m, Skriniar quickly established himself as one of the best defenders in Serie A, leading Inter to Champions League qualification as part of a tight defence.

The Nerazzurri are well-placed to finish in the top four again this season, and Skriniar’s continued consistency has earned interest from European giants including ​Manchester City and ​Manchester United.

Milan Skriniar

According to ​Calciomercato, Inter will put a stop to these rumours by offering Skriniar a new contract worth €3m a year. The club have informed Skriniar’s representatives of their intentions and the two parties will meet to discuss these fresh terms in early February.

Skriniar is keen to commit his future to ​Inter, having repeatedly stated his commitment to the club. Earlier this month, he reacted angrily on social media to reports in the Slovakian media claiming he could move to Manchester United.

“You write things that you don’t even know,” Skriniar said, sharing an image of the offending newspaper. “You are sh***. Now write an article on this.”

Luciano Spalletti

​Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked with Skriniar, but Inter manager Luciano Spalletti warned them that no club in the world can afford him.

“Nobody has the money to pay for Skriniar. He is priceless,” said Spalletti. “He is staying here, because nobody can afford him.”

Skriniar has missed only two league matches this season and Inter’s defensive record is the second-best in Serie A behind only leaders Juventus.

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Wanda Nara Set for Showdown Talks With Inter on Friday Over Mauro Icardi’s Contract Extension Saga

​Mauro Icardi’s wife and agent Wanda Nara is set to meet with Inter’s sporting director face-to-face on Friday, in hopes of resolving the contract saga that has been going on since the start of the season. 

Icardi is said to have rejected the club’s initial advances last summer, which contained a €6.5m a year pay package, with a request of a whopping €9m a year, more than double his current salary.

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The two parties have subsequently sparred repeatedly through the media, with Nara recently going as far as to say they were “very far from producing an agreement”, while also claiming: “We have a very good relationship with the two biggest clubs in Spain who, are very interested in Mauro, as well as one in France and one in England.”

However, according to Sky Sports Italia, as relayed by ​Calciomercato, the public war of words is finally set to end with a face-to-face meeting on Friday between Giuseppe Marotta and Wanda.

Aside from the salary, a huge stumbling block in the negotiations has reportedly been the buy-out clause present in the Argentine’s current deal. While the ​Nerazzurri are desperate to remove it altogether, the player and his representatives are trying to maintain its inclusion, even if it is at a much higher figure. 

That figure currently stands at €110m, but it will only come into effect in the first two weeks of July, and can only be activated by clubs outside of ​Serie A. 

Mauro Emanuel Icardi

After being fined €100,000 for turning up to the first training session of the New Year late, it took ​Icardi just three minutes to make ammends in Inter’s first game of 2019, with the opener in the 6-2 victory over Benevento in the Coppa Italia. 

Their first league clash of the year will take place this Saturday, against Sassuolo at San Siro.

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Inter vs Sassuolo Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

Inter return to league action after their Coppa Italia exploits, with a league game against Sassuolo at the San Siro on Saturday.

The Nerazzurri are hoping to remain in the hunt for the Scudetto and could temporarily close the gap on second-placed Napoli, who face Lazio on Sunday, to two points. 

Meanwhile, the Neroverdi, who were eliminated from the Coppa Italia at the hands of the Neapolitans on the weekend, come into the game on the back of three successive defeats in all competitions and are hoping to get back to winning ways against Inter, who they defeated on the opening day of the campaign.

Check out 90min’s preview of the game below.


Where to Watch

When Is Kick Off? Saturday 19 January
What Time Is Kick Off? 19:30 (BST)
Where Is it Played? Stadio San Siro
TV Channel/Live Stream? Eleven Sports 2
Referee? TBC

Team News

Having rested several first-team players in the Coppa Italia, ​Inter manager Luciano Spalletti may choose to revert to some of his more familiar faces with Samir Handanović, Stefan de Vrij, Kwadwo Asamoah, Borja Valero and Matteo Politano set to return to the starting line-up.

However, the Italian may choose to keep the likes of Antonio Candreva and Lautaro Martínez, who both scored twice against Benevento on the weekend.

Antonio Candreva,Lautaro Martinez,Marcelo Brozovic

Sassuolo have a lengthy list of absentees including Marlon, Gian Marco Ferrari, Federico Di Francesco and Claud Adjapong, who are all out due to injury. Full-back Rogério was also replaced by Cristian Dell’Orco in the latter stages of their encounter against ​Napoli and is a doubt for Saturday’s fixture.


Predicted Lineups

Inter Handanović; Vrsaljko, Škriniar, De Vrij, Asamoah; Politano, Vecino, Valero, ​Perišić; Martínez, ​Icardi.
Sassuolo Consigli; Lirola, Magnani, Peluso, Rogério; Locatelli, Sensi, Duncan; Berardi, Boateng, Boga.

Head to Head Record

The Neroverdi have the better record going into the game, winning seven of the previous 11 meetings, with Il Biscione triumphing on just four occasions.

Sassuolo have won the last four successive meetings against the Nerazzurri, all by a one-goal margin, and have been victorious in their last three visits to the San Siro.

Domenico Berardi

Inter’s last victory over Sassuolo came in December 2016, a 1-0 win away at the MAPEI Stadium, but Inter have put seven past Sassuolo on two previous occasions, home and away, and could repeat the feat, having put six past Benevento on the weekend.


Recent Form

Inter are unbeaten in their last six matches in all competitions, winning four of the last five games, including their last three matches.

Mauro Emanuel Icardi

Sassuolo are currently four matches without a victory and have lost the last three matches in all competitions. Their last victory came against 19th-placed Frosinone in mid-December.

Here’s how each team has performed in their last five fixtures:

Inter Sassuolo
Inter 6-2 Benevento (13/1) Napoli 2-0 Sassuolo (13/1)
Empoli 0-1 Inter (29/12) Sassuolo 2-6 Atalanta (29/12)
Inter 1-0 Napoli (26/12) Roma 3-1 Sassuolo (26/12)
Chievo 1-1 Inter (22/12) Sassuolo 1-1 Torino (22/12)
Inter 1-0 Udinese (15/12) Frosinone 0-2 Sassuolo (16/12)

Prediction

Inter will have several of their usual starters back in contention for the game against Sassuolo, who are without key defensive options.

Nerazzurri skipper Icardi is in terrific form this campaign, with 14 goals and three assists in 23 appearances overall and got back on the scoreboard against Benevento after a run of three games without netting. If he is in the mood against Sassuolo, La Beneamata could win the game convincingly.

Mauro Emanuel Icardi

However, the Neroverdi will take confidence knowing they have won the last four successive meetings against Inter and have managed to win the last three previous encounters against Inter at the San Siro.

They showed great spirit against Napoli in the Coppa Italia and were unfortunate to have a goal harshly disallowed for hand ball by VAR, when they were 1-0 down.

The Neroverdi will certainly provide a test for Spalletti’s men, but the third-placed side should have enough firepower to overcome a weakened Sassuolo side.

Prediction: Inter 2-1 Sassuolo

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Inter Chief Claims Nerazzurri Came Close to Signing Manchester City Striker Gabriel Jesus

​Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio has claimed that the club were close to signing Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus, whilst the Brazilian was at his former club Palmeiras.

Ausilio also claimed that the offer which Inter proposed to the Brazilian club was better than the one from the Premier League club, however Jesus was lured to England by the opportunity to play in a team managed by Pep Guardiola, resulting in him joining the Citizens in January 2017.

Piero Ausilio

Ausilio told Sky Sport Italia (as quoted by Football Italia): “We were negotiating with ​Gabriel Jesus for a month.

“Our offer was also better than ​Manchester City’s. Palmeiras preferred to sell him to us but the lad, through his agents, let us know that he preferred to play for Guardiola.”

​Inter’s loss has been City’s gain as the 21-year-old forward has gone on to make 80 appearances for City under Guardiola, scoring 38 goals in the process; 13 of which came during their 2017/18 Premier League title winning campaign.

Gabriel Jesus

Jesus has not had his most prolific return during the current campaign, having only notched five league goals in seventeen appearances as City trail ​Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table by four points. 

He has, however, shown signs recently of returning to form having scored six goals in his last two appearances – four against Burton in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup, and two against Wolves in the Premier League.

Inter, meanwhile, currently sit in third in Serie A, 14 points behind unbeaten league leaders ​Juventus. Fans of the Nerrazzuri will now be wondering if that gap could be closer if they had an all South American strike partnership of ​Mauro Icardi and Gabriel Jesus gracing the pitch at San Siro.

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Mesut Ozil ‘Offered’ to Juventus & Inter as Unai Emery Looks to Offload Unwanted Arsenal Star

​Unai Emery has reportedly made Mesut Ozil available this window, offering the out-of-favour German to Serie A giants Inter and Juventus.

The former Real Madrid playmaker has had a season to forget so far and has missed nine Premier League games in all this term, registering just one assist in his 13 appearances.

Mesut Ozil

According to Italian news outlet TuttoMercatoWeb, Emery is keen to offload the 30-year-old as the Spaniard attempts to build a transfer war chest to restructure his newly acquired squad.

Ozil currently earns £350,000 per week, making him the club’s most expensive asset of all time. Even though the midfielder signed a new lucrative contract last year, he appears to have fallen out of favour under the new management and could be expendable to Emery’s future plans.

The ​Arsenal manager announced last week that the club would be unable to make any permanent signings during this transfer window, due to a lack of money, meaning any business they do would be of the loan variety.

The report also notes that the ulterior motive behind the sale of Ozil could be the Spaniard’s desire to bring in Belgian winger Yannick Carrasco this month, who is ​reportedly keen on a move to the Emirates. 

Yannick Carrasco

But any deal for the winger is unlikely to be put in place before Emery trims his current squad to the desired fit, which is proving a difficult task.

The reports also claims that ​Juventus and ​Inter are reluctant to chase Ozil’s signature, deterred predominantly by the hefty wages he demands. Juve do already look set to bring in one of Arsenal’s midfielders though, after Aaron Ramsey reportedly agreed a deal to join this summer.


After ​Man Utd drew level on points with the Gunners last weekend, Emery will be desperate to keep pace with the top four next Saturday as his side travel to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea.

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China’s Richest Man Set to Invest Close to €150m Into Serie A Giants Inter

Alibaba chief Jack Ma, reportedly the richest man in China, is preparing an offer to buy Erick Thohir’s 31% stake in Inter.

Thohir’s share is reportedly valued at around €150m and Ma, along with business partner David Yu, are looking to sanction the deal through Yunfeng Capital – a Hong Kong-based fund the two created. Thohir stepped down as Inter’s president in October, and it has long been rumoured that the Indonesian is looking to sell his stake in the club.

FC Internazionale v AC Milan - Serie A

Football Italia, via Corriere dello Sport and Tuttosport, also report that Ma’s interest in Inter is likely linked to his 20% ownership of Chinese retailer Suning. That’s because Suning owns 68.55% of the club.

​Inter fans will be hoping that a possible change of ownership leads to greater investment into the club as I Nerazzurri seek to return to their former glory. Whilst Inter are currently third in Serie A and on track to qualify for the Champions League, it’s looking like another year without any silverware.

Since the remarkable 2009/10 season under the management of José Mourinho, when Inter won the Champions League, Serie A and Coppa Italia, the famous Italian club have failed to win a single Serie A title.

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Perhaps an even more damning statistic for Inter is that the only trophy they have won since that treble-winning season came in 2010/11 as they won the Coppa Italia. 

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Inter Head Coach Luciano Spalletti Reveals ‘Nobody Can Afford’ Milan Skriniar Amid Man Utd Interest

​Inter head coach Luciano Spalletti has issued a warning to any potential suitors of Milan Skriniar, claiming ‘nobody can afford’ the centre-back.

The Slovakian continues to be linked with a big money move to Man Utd, whilst Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid have also reportedly shown an interest in the 23-year-old, however, Inter look set to refute any bids they might receive this window.

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Spalletti was forced to respond to a report this week that ​Man Utd were preparing an offer for the ​Inter star but the Argentine revealed Skriniar is to remain with the club, following his side’s 6-2 win over Benevento on Sunday.

​As quoted by ​Goal.com, Spalletti said: “Skriniar is staying here, he is out of everybody’s price range. Nobody can afford him.”

Speculation regarding the defenders future appears to have irked Skriniar himself after he lashed out at a Slovakian news outlet for creating transfer stories. He posted on his Instagram account: “You write things that you don’t even know. You are sh***. Now write an article on this.”

Skriniar has built himself a reputation as one of the most promising defenders in world football following a string of superb performances at the heart of Inter’s backline. The 23-year-old made the move from Sampdoria to I Nerazzurri for a reported €20m back in 2017, although the lofty price tag didn’t faze the youngster.

The Slovakian was an ever present during Inter’s previous ​Serie A campaign, appearing 38 times whilst managing four goals. This term, he has made a further 17 appearances with his robust performances attracting plenty of interest from Europe’s elite.

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Luciano Spalletti Claims Benevento Should Be ‘Proud’ Despite Inter Running Riot in Coppa Italia Tie

​Inter manager Luciano Spalletti praised opponents Benevento, despite seeing his side put six past the Serie B team to advance to the Coppa Italia quarter-final.

The Nerazzurri went ahead in the game after just three minutes thanks to Mauro Icardi’s penalty, as Antonio Candreva made the most of a tackle by Luca Antei to allow the Argentinian to smash home.

Candreva and Dalbert made it three, before Lautaro Martinez’s brace, coupled with a late second for Candreva, sealed a comfortable victory for Spalletti’s side.


Despite the scoreline, Spalletti was impressed by Benevento’s application and approach to the game, suggesting that his side felt threatened throughout the game.

“I told (Benevento coach Cristian) Bucchi after the final whistle that he ought to be proud of that performance,” Spalletti said on Inter TV, as quoted by ​Football Italia.

Lautaro Martinez

“When we went 4-0 up, there was the risk they would stop playing and our attitude was one of assuming it was over, but they constantly pushed forward to harass us off the ball. It was a real game and a difficult one.”

Played in front of no home supporters, due to Inter’s stadium ban as a result of racist chants directed towards Kalidou Koulibaly in their last Serie A match against Napoli, Spalletti was pleased with the way his side performed.

“I compliment my team, because they proved themselves very professional in their approach during the week building up to it,” the Italian added.

FC Internazionale v Benevento Calcio - Coppa Italia

“There is the risk of getting distracted and embarrassed, the way we were last year, so this result is a step forward. I was impressed with the players who haven’t been on the field as much this season, such as Andrea Ranocchia, Daniele Padelli, Antonio Candreva and Roberto Gagliardini.”

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