Tottenham 6-1 Inter: Kane and Lamela star as Mancini's men suffer misery

Roberto Mancini’s men were delivered a warning for the coming season as a strong side was dismantled by Spurs at the end of the English club’s pre-season preparations

Harry Kane scored twice as Tottenham thrashed Inter 6-1 in Oslo to end their pre-season campaign in stunning style.

Spurs striker Kane’s first goal – a controversial penalty – was levelled by Ivan Perisic, but a brilliant long-range effort from Erik Lamela had Mauricio Pochettino’s men ahead at the break.

Dele Alli and Kane increased Spurs’ advantage and the game was long over as a contest before substitute Vincent Janssen struck on 65 minutes and youngster Shayon Harrison put the icing on the cake late on.

Spurs had lost their two previous pre-season games, but can now take momentum into the new Premier League season, while Inter have only won once in seven matches as they prepare for the 2016-17 campaign.

After both teams named strong sides, with Ever Banega handed his Inter debut having signed from Sevilla, Tottenham were ahead after five minutes thanks to a controversial penalty. 

Cristian Ansaldi appeared to win ball from Kyle Walker prior to making contact with the full-back, but a spot-kick was awarded and Kane stepped up to smash a confident penalty into the top corner, sending Samir Handanovic the wrong way.

Ryan Mason somehow failed to hit the target after being presented with a golden chance to double the lead following Christian Eriksen’s square pass, while debutant Banega drilled an effort just wide before he set up Inter’s 24th-minute equaliser.

Banega’s throughball found Perisic and he smashed in with a powerful left-footed shot that caught out goalkeeper Michel Vorm.

Spurs were back in front five minutes before the break when Alli and Kane combined to find Lamela 25 yards out and he curled a magnificent effort into the top corner. 

A simply stunning strike from @ErikLamela in Oslo! Sit back and enjoy… #COYS
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) August 5, 2016

After 51 minutes, Tottenham extended their lead. Alli played a neat one-two with Janssen and guided an impressive low finish into the far corner.

It should have been four when Kane headed against the post from close-range after Kieran Trippier’s cross, with Lamela unable to convert with an attempted flick on the rebound.

But Kane did get his second goal in the 57th minute, collecting Lamela’s pass before driving into the box and drilling a shot past Handanovic.

Spurs’ dominance of the second half continued when Alli’s weaving run allowed Janssen to comfortably slot home a first-time finish.

And a delighted Harrison made it six with 13 minutes to play – scoring a simple tap-in with his first touch after coming off the bench following great work from Janssen and Lamela.

Arsenal target Icardi told he 'needs to improve as a man'

Arsenal’s target has been told he needs to improve off the field in order to match the talent of Juventus’ Paulo Dybala

AC Milan great Arrigo Sacchi has told Inter captain Mauro Icardi that he has to “improve as a man” in order to succeed at the highest level.

The two-time European Cup winning coach gave his verdict on the latest transfer dramas in Serie A, with Gonzalo Higuain having joined Juventus for €90million and Napoli chasing Icardi as they attempt to replace his compatriot.

Sacchi, 70, also revealed he had previously advised Silvio Berlusconi to bring Maurizio Sarri and Paulo Dybala to Milan, but the duo ended up joining Napoli and Juve respectively.

“I spoke to Silvio Berlusconi two years ago – I told him to get Maurizio Sarri when he was Empoli coach and also Dybala as a player, who was then at Palermo,” Sacchi told La Nacion.

“Dybala is a phenomenon, he’s a great player and a great guy. I always look at the man first.

“Dybala is fantastic and I’m sure he’s going to improve a lot. Icardi as a man is less reliable than Dybala. If he improves as a man he will grow because he also has a lot of talent.”
He added: “When I signed Frank Rijkaard I sent a man I trusted to Zaragoza for 20 days to watch how he trained, what he ate, how he behaved with rivals and team-mates. When I was wrong, I was wrong about the man and not about the footballer. 

“Gonzalo Higuain had an incredible, incredible season and therefore he costs a lot. Do you know the world of football? It’s run on emotions and he gives great emotions.”

Sacchi, though, is concerned about the growing trend of massive transfer fees in the modern game.

He added: “Now, the money being spent is a lot – I have fear looking at the future because football could break with excessive leadership or business.”

Icardi in the dark over Napoli as transfer saga continues

The Argentine forward has been linked with a possible €70million move to the Nerazzurri’s Serie A rivals, but insists he has only been concentrating on pre-season

Inter captain Mauro Icardi claims he knows little about his future as he continues to be linked with a move to Napoli.

The San Siro side’s president Erick Thohir has confirmed the 23-year-old has already been the subject of a rejected bid from last season’s Serie A runners-up as they look to replace new Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain.

Icardi – who has also been linked with Arsenal – came off the substitute’s bench and scored his first goal of pre-season as Inter suffered a 4-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in Charlotte on Saturday.

But the striker revealed he was not up to date on the latest speculation on his future amid reports in Italy suggesting Napoli are preparing to return with a new €70million offer and rumours that his wife and agent Wanda Nara will be offered a movie role by Aurelio De Laurentiis.

“There have been a lot of rumours over recent days,” Icardi told reporters after the defeat to Bayern. 
READ MORE  | RUMOURS: Arsenal plan Icardi bid

“The truth is that I have been a long way from home for a month, so I’m not very informed about what is happening.

“The criticism? People looking from the outside can think whatever they want, I am staying calm.”

Inter team-mate Stevan Jovetic, meanwhile, is eager to see his fellow forward remain at San Siro.

He told Premium Sport: “I would certainly be sorry to see Icardi leave because he is a great player. 

“I have seen him look calm in recent days, so I don’t know anything about what is happening, but I truly hope he stays with us.”

Ranocchia faces make-or-break stage in career

Andrea Ranocchia missed out on selection in Antonio Conte’s preliminary Italy squad for Euro 2016, continuing his run of poor fortune.

The Azzurri were pressed into several difficult selections for the tournament, and the 28-year-old narrowly missed out on a place on the plane to France after featuring earlier in the year for Conte’s men.

As of 27th May, Italy are backed at 16/1 in the latest Euro 2016 betting odds to win the competition for the second time in their history, but they will have to do so without the services of Ranocchia.

Ranocchia was a key player for Inter Milan during the reigns of Andrea Stramaccioni and Walter Mazzarri.

However, Roberto Mancini deemed the defender surplus to requirements last season, despite featuring prominently as captain for the Nerazzurri in the 51-year-old’s first term at the club.

The Italian was also a regular in Conte’s squads for their Euro 2016 qualifiers, making 11 appearances for the Azzurri under the tenure of the former Juventus boss.

At the start of last season, Ranocchia was stripped of the captaincy by Mancini as the manager handed the armband over to striker Mauro Icardi, losing patience with the centre-back’s mistakes from the 2014/15 campaign.

Ranocchia made a crucial error allowing Gonzalo Higuain to fire Napoli past the Nerazzurri into the Coppa Italia semis, while further mistakes followed in the club’s Europa League clash against Wolfsburg and Serie A matches with Parma and Genoa.

Although the defender signed a contract extension until 2019 with the Milan-based outfit, the arrivals of Joao Miranda and Jeison Murillo pushed him down the pecking order.

Ranocchia was linked with moves to Liverpool, Everton and Norwich City during the transfer window, but remained at Inter and featured off the bench 10 times before January.

However, he secured a loan switch to Sampdoria in January and managed to rediscover his best form for Vincenzo Montella’s men, with the only blight being a late red card in their 0-0 draw against Sassuolo.

Ranocchia’s improvement was deemed good enough to regain his place in Conte’s squad for friendly matches against Spain and Germany, although he only played the last 30 minutes of their defeat to Die Mannschaft.

He failed to make an impact on Conte’s decision to go with inexperienced back-up options for the tournament as Angelo Ogbonna, Daniele Rugani and Davide Astori all made the 30-man squad.

As a result, the defender faces a crossroads in his career as Sampdoria refused the option to make his loan deal permanent, leaving him with an important summer ahead at Inter or elsewhere.

The future of Mancini at Inter could also play a huge part in his decision as a new manager may break-up the partnership of Murrilo and Juan Jesus at the back.

Ranocchia has all the attributes needed to be a successful defender with the height and strength to cope with physical players in the final third, while he is also no slouch with enough pace along with positional awareness to cope with speedy forwards.

A move to the Premier League could bring out the best in the Italian once again, perhaps under his former boss at Inter, Mazzarri, who has been named as the new manager of Watford.

He would have no problem with the physical rigours of the Premier League and has a good injury record, which will endear him to teams in the English top flight and their hectic fixture schedules.

Numerous Italians have arrived in England and thrived, which may be enough to push him back into the plans of the next manager of the Azzurri for the 2018 World Cup.

Montella emerges as favourite to succeed Conte as Italy coach

The Azzurri are expected to turn to the Sampdoria boss and are also considering appointing World Cup winner Marcello Lippi as technical director of the FIGC.

Vincenzo Montella has emerged as the favourite to succeed Antonio Conte as Italy coach, with president Carlo Tavecchio keen to name a successor before Euro 2016.
The Azzurri are set to say goodbye to Conte after the European Championship in France, with the 46-year-old moving to Chelsea on a three-year deal.

Montella, currently with Sampdoria, has endured a difficult season and endures a difficult relationship with sporting director Carlos Osti. The side currently in 15th place in Serie A and Montella could be tempted to leave to pursue a new challenge.

The 41-year-old has previously admitted he would be open to replacing Conte, saying: “The national team is the highest possible achievement for a coach and I’ve already said that if I got an offer I would consider it.”

Tavecchio is not concerned that Montella does not possess the best relationships with some Serie A clubs, including Fiorentina, but is attracted by his youth and his attacking style of football.

Sampdoria are unlikely to stand in Montella’s way, despite him having a contract until 2018, as Tavecchio boasts an excellent relationship with owner Massimo Ferrero.

Tavecchio is keen to develop the profile of the national side and as well as appointing Montella would consider Marcello Lippi for the role of technical director of the FIGC.

The World-Cup winning coach has been out of work since leaving Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande in November 2014. Check out Football Wallpapers of Andrea Ranocchia.

Should Montella take over from Conte, it is likely that Sampdoria will turn to Marco Giampaolo, who has enjoyed an impressive season with Empoli.

Merseyside rivals ready to lock horns in Ranocchia chase

Bragging rights on Merseyside could be considered to lie in the hands of Everton at present, with a 1-1 draw on derby day prior to the recent international break having put the final nail in the coffin of Brendan Rodgers’ reign at Liverpool.

Stalemate at Goodison Park also helped to ensure that the blue half of the city maintained their one point, and three place advantage over the Reds in the Premier League table.

The tables may have turned slightly with the appointment of Jurgen Klopp at Anfield, but he remains untested in English football and will have to go some in order to meet the lofty expectations which have accompanied his appointment.

He is, however, a man with an enviable CV and a positive reputation throughout Europe.

Taking the reins midway through the 2015/16 campaign means he will have to wait to put his own stamp on the squad inherited from Rodgers, but it is expected that he will ask Fenway Sports Group for further funds in the January transfer window.

According to the Express, one of those he will look to entice to Anfield in the New Year is Andrea Ranocchia.

And if he is to tread that path, then he may well be placed into direct competition with arch-rivals lurking on the other side of Stanley Park.

Everton were heavily linked with an approach for Ranocchia over the summer, as reported by the Daily Mail, with doubts cast over the future of John Stones as reigning Premier League champions Chelsea tabled a flurry of big-money bids.

The Toffees were able to rebuff those approaches, but there is a feeling that they remain light in the centre-half position.

Ranocchia would fit the bill, as a proven performer at the highest level and a man seemingly boasting all of the attributes required to be a success in the English top-flight.

A towering presence at the heart of Inter Milan’s defensive unit, the 6ft 5inch defender is strong in the air while being mobile and comfortable in possession on the deck.

It is those qualities which have earned him 20 senior caps for his country, and he will be hoping to help Italy – a side priced around the 16/1 mark within international football betting markets when this article was produced – make a good fist of their Euro 2016 campaign next summer.

It may be that he heads to that tournament on the books of a different employer to those currently paying his wages, with interest in his services likely to mount as the next window approaches and Europe’s leading clubs scramble to address frailties within their squad.

Everton, having clearly monitored the 27-year-old for some time, should be expected to head that queue, but Liverpool may also feel that – with Dejan Lovren struggling to justify his hefty price tag – reinforcements are required at the heart of their defence.

Were they to make an approach, alongside their neighbours, it would be interesting to see not only if Inter are prepared to enter into negotiations – having rediscovered their mojo in Serie A this season – but also how much sway Klopp’s presence at Anfield holds when the Reds go in search of the continent’s top talent.

Ranocchia to Everton?

Caption: Martinez has expressed an interest in Ranocchia

This season, Everton have set out to prove the doubters wrong and bounce back after a poor campaign last time out. They looked especially well equipped in their emphatic win over Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium, but then lost at home a week later, albeit to a very strong Manchester City side.

Something that could be causing upset behind the scenes is the transfer saga surrounding John Stones, and Chelsea’s continued pursuit of the player. Roberto Martinez has said that they don’t want to sell the player, but it is believed that if the price is right then the deal will go ahead.

According to reports, his replacement may well be the seasoned Italian defender, Andrea Ranocchia. Ranocchia currently captains Serie A side Inter Milan, but it is understood that the club are open to offers. Although Everton already have a very promising talent in Stones, it may be wise for them to take the big pay out from Chelsea and replace him with a more experienced player. Ranocchia and Phil Jagielka, would be a rock solid pairing. And with Leighton Baines out injured for the foreseeable future, Everton are in need of some well qualified stalwarts at the back.

Ranocchia joined Inter in the 2010/11 season, and made his debut for the club in January 2011. They finished second in the league that campaign, and won the 2010/11 Copa Italia. When Javier Zanetti retired, Ranocchia was the obvious candidate to take over, because of his strong leadership skills. In his 119 appearances for Inter, he chipped in with seven goals and his aerial ability makes him a danger in set pieces.

Ranocchia is a strong, physical centre-back whose technique, timing and tactical knowledge would suit the Premier League perfectly and he could be an excellent acquisition for The Toffees. At the time of writing betfair have Everton at 3/1 to finish in the top six. Surely, if they managed to capture Ranocchia, it would only would improve their chances of achieving this.

Inter signings can only help Ranocchia

Inter Milan have already been busy in the transfer market this summer and, with further signings to come, it’s likely to boost Andrea Ranocchia’s chances of playing at Euro 2016 for Italy.

Ranocchia already knows how it feels to miss a major tournament. He was named in Italy’s provisional squads for both the 2012 European Championship and the 2014 World Cup, but was then left out on each occasion by former coach Cesare Prandelli.

Under current Azzurri coach Antonio Conte, the 27-year-old has been a regular member of the squad and he started the European Qualifiers against Norway, Azerbaijan and Croatia last year.

But he was left on the bench against Bulgaria and only featured as a late substitute in the 1-1 draw away with Croatia in 2015. He did start the friendlies against England and Portugal, and that shows he is clearly in Conte’s plans.

With Italy a bigger price than England in the international football betting for Euro 2016, Ranocchia can help to show the Azzurri are not outsiders in France next summer.

But, for Ranocchia to be more than just a squad member for Italy, he needs to have an excellent season with Inter and, likewise, Inter also need to have an excellent season.

After finishing eighth in Serie A last season, Inter owner Erick Thohir has been quick to spend money on new signings. Inter beat city rivals AC Milan to the signing of Geoffrey Kondogbia from Monaco. Getting the midfielder was a brilliant piece of business given Kondogbia was also linked with other clubs who would have been able to offer Champions League football. It just goes to show the pull of Inter.

Jeison Murillo has joined from Granada and Joao Miranda is also expected to complete a move from Atletico Madrid to further strengthen Inter’s defence. More signings are anticipated, with the likes of Barcelona defender Martin Montoya, Marseille midfielder Giannelli Imbula and Chelsea winger Mohamed Salah linked with moves.

Added to Mateo Kovacic and Mauro Icardi signing new contracts, then there is plenty of promise for the future next season for Inter.

From Ranocchia’s point of view, the key additions will be the defenders who join and playing alongside either Miranda or Murillo will certainly make Inter more solid.

Last season’s primary partnership with Juan Jesus didn’t give Inter a firm base, while neither Hugo Campagnaro nor Nemanja Vidic made the impact expected of them.

As captain, Ranocchia’s place isn’t going to be under threat by the new arrivals, but playing alongside Miranda should only boost his Italy prospects.

There is serious competition for a place in the centre of the Italy defence and Ranocchia knows he can’t afford to put a foot wrong if he wants to be in Conte’s starting line-up when Euro 2016.

Champions League qualification, or even a Serie A title challenge, for Inter next season will give Ranocchia a better chance of getting into the Italy team. Given the signings Inter have made so far, they should at least finish above eighth and that can only mean good news for the club and Ranocchia.