RUMOURS: La Liga an option for £17.5m Chelsea and Liverpool target

The 23-year-old midfielder has started just seven of Inter’s 16 league fixtures this season and is reportedly available for transfer in the new year

Chelsea and Liverpool target Geoffrey Kondogbia is a target for La Liga outfit Valencia in January, according to reports from Spanish newspaper Superdeporte.

The 23-year-old is available to any club willing to meet the midfielder’s £17.5 million price tag, having fallen out of favour at Inter, with the aforementioned Premier League club’s said to be monitoring his situation. 

Kondogbia has started just seven Serie A games for the San Siro side this season and is thought to be open to a move elsewhere, though his preferred destination is somewhat unknown. 

Valencia are currently struggling in 17th position in the Spanish top flight and are expected to add to their squad once the winter transfer window opens.


'He's got massive potential' – Pioli expects Perisic to lead by example

The Inter Milan coach has urged his Croatia international to step up and provide inspiration for his team in Sunday’s Serie A match with Sassuolo

Stefano Pioli has called on Ivan Perisic to lead by example when Inter head to Sassuolo at the weekend.

The Croatia international has netted four times in 15 Serie A appearances this term and Pioli hopes the versatile attacker can add to his tally on Sunday as Inter go in search of their third consecutive win in all competitions.

“Winning breeds confidence and all that matters now is what we do on Sunday,” said Pioli.

Pioli: I decide if Gabigol plays

“We have the chance to get three points and it will be an important weekend in terms of our climb up the table. This is Inter and we must always think about winning. Sunday’s game is hugely important because we can make it three wins on the trot.
“I expect a great deal from Perisic because he has massive potential. I am looking to him.

“We need to be switched on for the whole game against Sassuolo. There are still plenty of points to play for, but we must make the most of every opportunity.”

Inter 2-0 Genoa: Brozovic double seals three points

The Croatia international was in fine form as the Nerazzurri continued their impressive run of form at home, moving into eighth position in the process

Marcelo Brozovic scored twice as Inter beat Genoa 2-0 at San Siro to win their fourth consecutive Serie A home game.

The Croatia international struck in each half as Inter prevailed, despite being made to work hard for victory.

Home goalkeeper Samir Handanovic made key saves and Genoa squandered a number of opportunities, but Brozovic – who had only scored once in the league prior to Sunday’s game – proved decisive.

Stefano Pioli made five changes to the team that lost 3-0 to Napoli in their last league outing and his side rewarded him with a second victory in four Serie A matches since his arrival, moving up to eighth in the table as a result.

The visitors, meanwhile, stay 13th after suffering their first defeat in three games.

Genoa came so close to scoring a first-half opener on three occasions in the fog of San Siro.

Only a goal-line clearance from Danilo D’Ambrosio saved Inter early on after Tomas Rincon had fed Darko Lazovic, who skipped inside and beat Handanovic with his strike.

Lazovic turned creator when his threatening cross from the right somehow eluded Giovanni Simeone when the striker had appeared destined to score.

Inter were struggling to deal with the magnificent Lazovic, with the Serbia winger then finding Lucas Ocampos – in for ex-Inter man Goran Pandev as one of two Genoa changes – at the back post, Handanovic getting down superbly to keep out his header.

And the visitors paid the price for those misses when Brozovic struck after 38 minutes.

Joao Mario’s right-wing corner came out all the way to Brozovic and the midfielder controlled a fine right-footed finish into the bottom corner from just inside the penalty area.

Genoa made a strong start to the second half, with Simeone heading wide, before Handanovic made a wonderful save to deny Lazovic after good work from Ocampos had created the opportunity.

And Inter sealed victory with 21 minutes remaining. Joao Mario again created the goal with a superb solo run into the box and his square pass found Brozovic, who took one touch and finished confidently from 12 yards.

Genoa ran out of steam after that strike as they failed to repeat famous wins over AC Milan and Juventus from earlier in the campaign, the loss extending their winless away run to five games.

Pioli: Gabigol will play when I decide

The Brazilian, who has been generating plenty of transfer talk, was an unused substitute for the 11th time in Serie A this season as Inter faced Genoa

Inter boss Stefano Pioli says he will not be pressured into playing Brazil international Gabriel Barbosa.

The 20-year-old moved to San Siro from Santos in August, a major deal that was reportedly worth €29.5million.

However, the striker nicknamed ‘Gabigol’ has only played 16 minutes of football under both former head coach Frank de Boer and his replacement Pioli, all of which came in one substitute appearance against Bologna in September.

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But after Gabriel was again an unused sub in the 2-0 Serie A win over Genoa on Sunday, Pioli stressed he will not be rushed into starting him.

“He will get to play when there are situations that I consider to be opportune,” Pioli told Mediaset.

“My only objective is what is best for the team. 

“If I think Gabi is in better shape than his team-mates, then I will play him.”

Felipe Melo, though, is one player who has been brought in from the cold by Pioli having barely featured under De Boer.

“It was a choice made by the coach and I respect that,” he said about his spell out of the side.

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“In truth, that experience helped me to grow, because it was the first time I wasn’t even chosen for the bench. It was difficult and people even said I caused trouble in the locker room, but that was not true.

“I am no longer 22 years old, I am 33 and can always help the squad with my experience.

“We are on the right track. It might not have been a great performance, but we worked hard and did what Inter need to do: win.”

Pioli: Inter victory a stepping stone

The Nerazzurri won for the second time in Serie A under their new boss and the head coach is prioritising steadying the ship

Stefano Pioli says Inter’s victory over Genoa is an important stepping stone as the club look to turn their season around.

The Nerazzurri won their second league game in four since the former Lazio boss replaced Frank de Boer, Marcelo Brozovic scoring in either half to secure a 2-0 win, their fourth consecutive top-flight triumph at San Siro.

It was a solid result after a 3-0 loss at Napoli last time out in Serie A, with Pioli making five changes from that line-up – including leaving out Ivan Perisic.

Inter too strong for Genoa

Inter struggled for much of the first half despite the victory, but Pioli feels points are more important in the early stages of his reign after Inter moved from 11th to eighth in the table.

“We did suffer in some situations where we should have been more focused, but it was an important stepping stone because we won,” Pioli said to Mediaset.

“We want to be in a better position by the Christmas break and right now is the time for determination, humility and playing an efficient style.

“It is a long season and we will certainly improve. Naturally there is pressure, we are in a difficult moment and playing at San Siro, but I see a positive attitude and the desire to prove we don’t belong in 11th place.

“In the first half we should have attacked the space better. Genoa were doing it well and our strikers struggled to get good service. We need to be more efficient both when defending and attacking.

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“We got it wrong against Napoli, partly due to our approach, but the other games have been decent. That means there is quality here. 

“We cannot be satisfied with the season so far, so we must accept the criticism and give our best. We are working to get the best out of our potential.”

Inter are back in action away to Sassuolo Sunday, December 18.

'We were focused and sharp but lacked balance' – Pioli eyes further Inter improvement

After winning their final Europa League group game with elimination already confirmed, the manager urged his side to improve further

Inter coach Stefano Pioli believes it is clear his side must continue to improve, despite their Europa League win over Sparta Prague on Thursday.

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Ahead of the game at San Siro, Inter were already guaranteed to finish bottom of Group K, while their visitors had secured top spot.

However, Eder’s brace fired the Serie A side to a 2-1 victory – with Pioli later reflecting on the positives alongside the areas in which his team must still get better.

“We tried to take the initiative, and we were focused, sharp and created some good situations,” he told Sky Italia.

“Clearly, at the moment, we still need to improve. [We must] be quicker and more effective.
“We are seeking a more balanced outfit [with a 3-4-3 formation] that can be more efficient both defending and attacking. We’ll see what system is the most effective.

“All it takes is a negative incident – which can happen, because we are not the best side in Italy and are recovering from a difficult situation – and everything becomes more difficult.

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“When there’s a setback we tend to lose our shape and get stretched out.”

With their European campaign over, 10th-placed Inter can turn their attentions back to Serie A, where they host Genoa on Sunday.

Chelsea miss out as Brozovic extends Inter stay

Inter have agreed a new two-year contract with the midfielder that ensures the Croatia international remains at San Siro for the time being

Chelsea have received some bad news on their transfer hunt as Marcelo Brozovic has agreed a two-year contract extension that will keep him at Inter until 2021.

The 24-year-old arrived at San Siro on loan from Dinamo Zagreb in January 2015, with the Serie A side having since taken up their obligation to sign him permanently.

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Under the terms of his previous deal Brozovic was tied to the club until 2019, but Inter have moved early to extend his stay in Milan.

Brozovic has made 11 appearances in all competitions for Inter this season, scoring twice and providing two assists.

BREAKING: Marcelo #Brozovic has signed a contraction extension until 2021! #ForzaInter #FCIM
— F.C. Internazionale (@Inter_en) December 7, 2016

The Croatia international had been the subject of a transfer bid from Antonio Conte’s side in August, but agent Miroslav Bicanic admitted that he was happy to stay in Serie A.

“Yes, it is official Brozo will stay in Inter,” he told Goal. “Otherwise, he would have been on the plane to London and not with national team in Sisak. After he returns from Croatia, Marcelo will sign a new, improved contract with Inter.”

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Having made eight league appearances for Stefano Pioli’s side this season, Brozovic will continue to play for Inter, meaning Conte will have to turn his attentions elsewhere in the transfer window.

Pioli not concerned by Simeone's Inter comments

The new Nerazzurri boss is determined to pull his side out of their current funk, and is not thinking about the possibility of a former hero returning

Stefano Pioli is not concerned by Diego Simeone’s desire to coach Inter in the future and is focused on revitalising their fortunes this season.

The current Inter boss has come under pressure as the Nerazzurri have been dumped out of the Europa League and are struggling down in 10th in Serie A.

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To add to that pressure former Inter midfielder Simeone – along with his son Giovanni – has reiterated his desire to return to the club where he won the UEFA Cup as a player in 1998.

His interest does not worry Pioli, though, and he has told the Atletico Madrid manager to focus on his own team, rather than looking into the future.

“I just think about the real situation,” Pioli told a media conference.

“That [situation] is that I coach Inter and he coaches Atletico. We both have to stay focused and concentrate on our work.

“I’m the coach of Inter and I’m focused on my work here. I’m determined and keen to be successful, along with my team.”

#Pioli looks ahead to #InterSpartaPraga: “We must get straight back to winning ways” #UEL #FCIM
— F.C. Internazionale (@Inter_en) December 7, 2016

Inter are already guaranteed to finish bottom of Group K after a miserable European campaign, so Thursday’s home clash with Sparta Prague – who will finish top – is a chance for Pioli’s squad to restore some pride.

“This match is an opportunity for us to return to winning ways and honour a continental competition,” he added.

“We are disappointed to have missed out of qualification because it’s a prestigious trophy and the team put a lot of effort in last season to achieve European football.

“I believe in the team and we have the potential to be successful. We have to work hard and give 100 per cent until the last.”

Arsenal receive boost as Gabigol agent hints at Inter exit

The Gunners could be in line to seal the Brazilian on a loan move after the player’s agent indicated he was not happy in Serie A

Arsenal target Gabigol is “not happy” due to a lack of playing time at Inter, according to the player’s agent.

The 20-year-old, who has been labelled as the ‘next Neymar’ after moving to Europe from Santos, has played just 16 minutes of Serie A football this season.

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Gabigol was left on the bench at the weekend as Inter lost 3-0 to Napoli and is eager to move away from Stefano Pioli’s side to get more match experience.

The forward’s agent, Wagner Ribeiro, revealed that he is likely to leave in January, with Premier League giants Arsenal among the sides linked with the Brazil international.

“Gabriel is not happy at the moment,” Ribeiro told Radio Bandeirantes. 

“It’s not a case of being in conflict with his team-mates; the problem is that he never gets a chance to play. In January we want the situation resolved.

“Just before he left, Frank de Boer said there was no problem but now with Pioli the situation is the same. If he doesn’t get a chance to play when his team are 3-0 down to Napoli, when will he get a chance?”

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Ribeiro confirmed that there has been interest from clubs in Brazil, but indicated that Gabigol is likely to stay in Europe if he leaves the San Siro outfit on loan in the January transfer window.

“This possibility exists and he could return to Brazil in 2017, even if that would be seen as a step backwards,” Ribeiro continued. 

“There is, however, the situation concerning the non-EU slot that Gabriel takes in the team. If he goes out on loan to Brazil they would lose this place so it would be easier for him to head out to another club in Italy.”

Simeone: Some day I will coach Inter

The Argentine has never hidden his hopes of taking over at San Siro at some point, and his words were echoed by his son who expects a move to Italy

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone says there is no problem with his son Giovanni stating he will coach Inter in the future because he has often spoken of a desire to lead the Nerazzurri later in his career.

Simeone has made no secret of the fact he plans to return to San Siro to coach a club he represented as a player and with whom he won the UEFA Cup in 1998.

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Giovanni, who plays for Genoa in Serie A, told Onda Cero last week that he expects his father to move back to Italian shores in the future.

And the Simeone senior defended his son’s comments at a news conference ahead of Atleti’s final Champions League group stage game against Bayern Munich.

“It is normal that my son, my father, my sister, my wife would say that I will train Inter in the future, because they know someday I will lead Inter,” he said.

However, Simeone insists that does not place his immediate future at the Vicente Calderon in doubt, adding: “I have nothing to say about my future. It is abundantly clear.”
When Atleti travel to the Allianz Arena, Simeone will come up against a familiar foe in Carlo Ancelotti, who led Real Madrid to Champions League glory at Los Rojiblancos’ expense in 2014.

Bayern have not been firing on all cylinders under Ancelotti, though, and cannot overhaul Simeone’s men at the top of Group D, while they trail surprise package RB Leipzig by three points in the Bundesliga.

But Simeone rejected suggestions Ancelotti is facing a crisis.

“I do not think they’ve had a crisis,” he said. “During the season there are always difficult situations.

“Sometimes you and sometimes you lose touch. Knowing Ancelotti, I have no doubt that they will fight for the Champions League.”