Argentina Boss Claims Inter Star Striker Mauro Icardi Is ‘Tempted’ by Summer Switch to Real Madrid

​Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli has claimed that Inter talisman Mauro Icardi is tempted by a summer switch to Real Madrid, as his side continue in their worrying slump of mid-season form.

Speaking to reporters at Buenos Aires airport, via Goal, the former Sevilla boss was questioned on Icardi’s hopes of making his World Cup 2018 side, and claimed that Real Madrid’s rumoured interest in signing the 24-year-old is reciprocal. Sampaoli said:

“It’s a nice problem to have so many players in good form. I spoke with Icardi and told him what I’ve told all of them: not to relax, that, if he’s doing well, he’ll be called up. I know that Real Madrid are following him closely. He is also a little tempted by Real Madrid.”

Having spent his whole career to date in Serie A, Icardi could well look to move on at the end of the season to pursue a new challenge. ​Despite making the best start to their league season in the history of the club, a recent slump of form has seen Luciano Spalletti’s side fall off in the title race – with their winless streak now stretching back to early December.

Given the wealth of attacking talents boasted by the national team, Icardi will be desperate to outshine is international teammates and earn his spot on the plane to Russia this summer. With the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Augero and Paulo Dybala all vying for a starting spot, Icardi will need to find some goalscoring form to stand any chance of appearing at the tournament.

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Icardi has an excellent scoring record for the San Siro sleeping giants – having netted 96 times in 170 appearances. Given the ageing status of a number of their key players, Real Madrid look set to enter a period of transition as they begin to plan for the future. Icardi could well fit the bill at the Bernabéu, as his tenacious style of play certainly fits the requirements of Los Blancos.

In transfer news,​ Inter missed out on their transfer deadline day target Javier Pastore – after the Paris Saint-Germain forgotten man was unable to engineer a move away from the Ligue Un leaders. Having been forced out of the starting lineup by the signings of Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, the former Palermo man is thought to be desperate to return to Serie A.

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Javier Pastore’s Agent Rules Out Deadline Day Move To Inter

​Javier Pastore’s agent has ruled out a move to Inter Milan, the day after PSG manager Unai Emery stated that Javier Pastore could sign for the Italian club.

The Argentinian had been heavily linked with the Italian club recently, with some reports suggesting ​personal terms have been agreed. 

However, his agent has now revealed the move is off, and it seems Pastore will remain at the French league leaders for the remainder of the season. 

Pastore played in PSG’s 3-2 victory over Rennes in the Coupe de la Ligue last night, and Emery was asked about the situation in his post match press conference. ​Football Italia reported that he said: 

”I discussed it with him yesterday. In his head there is the possibility of leaving, but I asked him again today if he was in the right frame of mind to play and he said yes. He’s told me he has the chance to leave, but was very focused and very involved. 

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“I have my opinion and i gave it to everyone. After that it depends on the club and the player. I can’t say more than that, it’s not my responsibility.”

Despite Emery stating the move was out of his control, it appears Pastore has decided to stay in France with numerous sources confirming the deal will not go ahead.

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Inter Dealt Crucial Blow in Pursuit of Celta Vigo Midfielder Stanislav Lobotka

Inter Milan look set to be disappointed in their rumoured pursuit of Celta Vigo midfielder Stanislav Lobotka, with the Slovakian increasingly likely not to move before the transfer deadline.

It was claimed by Italian gossip sources that Lobotka has a ‘verbal agreement’ to join Inter, but that does not appear to be the case at all.

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According to Spanish football journalist David Cartlidge, Lobotka’s agent has denied that any such agreement has been reached, while also confirming that talks over a new contract to keep him at Celta are underway.

Any new deal would likely increase the player’s current buyout clause from its current €35m.

Formerly of Nordsjaelland in Denmark, Lobokta only arrived in Spain last summer. He has already impressed in La Liga, though, playing all 21 Celta’s fixtures and starting 17 of them.

Celta are currently seventh in the standings, just two points behind Sevilla in the last European place. The Galician club are looking to get back into the top half after a disappointing 13th place finish last season and Lobotka has been crucial to that effort.

You may also be interested in ‘Sevilla Edging Closer to Signing Arsenal and Everton Target Marcelo Brozovic After Loan Deal Agreed’

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Sevilla Edging Closer to Signing Arsenal and Everton Target Marcelo Brozovic After Loan Deal Agreed

Sevilla have jumped to the head of the queue to sign Inter midfielder Marcelo Brozovic on loan from Inter, according to reports.

The Croatian midfielder has been linked with a move away from the San Siro throughout January, with ​Arsenal and ​Everton credited with interest in signing the central midfielder​.

According to ​Calciomercato, Los Rojiblancos are set to trump their ​Premier League rivals after agreeing a loan deal with Inter, with an option to buy at the end of the season.

It is reported the Spanish outfit have agreed terms to pay a €1m upfront fee, with an optional €28m deal agreed should Brozovic impress in ​La Liga.

​Inter have added Lisandro Lopez and Rafinha to their ranks during the January transfer window, and the 25-year old is believed to be open minded about his future, understanding that a move away from the Italian giants is likely the best option for his career.

(You may also be interested in Everton Outcast Offered to Serie A Giants With Dutchman Seeking First-Team Football)

Everton have been long-term admirers of Brozovic, with speculation suggesting in recent days that out-of-favour midfielder Davy Klaasen could be used as a makeweight to broker a deal. Sam Allardyce had suggested that further incomings at Goodison Park were unlikely to happen after signing Arsenal winger Theo Walcott, but Brozovic remains an option for the Toffees.

The former Dinamo Zagreb playmaker has reportedly been on Arsene Wenger’s radar as well, though the Gunners interest is thought to have cooled after Mesut Ozil signed a new three-and-a-half year contract at the Emirates Stadium.

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Where it All Went Wrong: Gabigol Admits He Suffered From ‘Trying Too Hard’ to Make His Mark at Inter

​Inter flop Gabigol has admitted that he simply tried too hard to shine at the Italian giants, and is targeting a change in attitude as he returns to Santos on loan.

The 21-year-old appears to have become a victim of the media’s hype and endured a disastrous spell at San Siro since moving there in 2016.

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He has failed to make any starts whatsoever since his €29.5m move, and is now back with the team where he made his name, albeit on a temporary basis, ​just as speculation suggested he’d return.

The attacker, whose real name is Gabriel Barbosa, is hoping to use his time wisely back home, and get back his dynamic old self.

Speaking honestly about his situation, he said ​(h/t Football Italia): “I tried too hard on certain occasions. I know I’ve made mistakes, but I’m moving forward again. It’s very easy for me at Santos.

“I’m very young, playing football gives me happiness and I need to be back playing. I decided it was time to come back, while also thinking about the World Cup.

“I went wrong as soon as I left the bench for Inter, but I apologised the next day. The best quality of a man is to apologise after making a mistake and learn from it.”

Gabigol certainly has work to do if he wants be considered for selection by manager Tite for the World Cup this summer, as there is a huge pool of Brazilians performing well in European top five leagues at the moment.


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Pastore Inter Move Appears to Have Fallen Through Following Meeting in Milan

​Paris Saint-Germain attacking midfielder Javier Pastore looks set to be denied a move to Inter Milan after Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio said “there are no conditions” for the transfer to take place.

That is according to ​Football-Italia, who believe that representatives of the two clubs met recently to try and hammer out a deal, but couldn’t reach an agreement. It is believed that Inter only want to take the 28-year-old Argentinean on a loan deal, while PSG are keen to include an obligation to buy clause in the deal, something that Inter appear unwilling to do.

Despite making as many as 174 appearances for PSG since he signed in 2011, Pastore has been in and out of the first team recently, and was recently quoted as saying he needs to be playing more football if he is to break into the Argentina squad for the World Cup this summer. 

​​Pastore, who has 29 caps for Argentina, has also recently been linked to English sides such as Liverpool and Tottenham, but reportedly had his heart set on a move to Milan.

The move appears to be falling through, however, and Ausilio said after the meeting about the player: “There’s no news about anyone. I give solid reality, not dreams. We have to work. Dreams are not part of our job, we look at serious things which are needed for Inter.”

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With this in mind, Pastore may have to make a decision about whether to stick it out at PSG or join a club that he may not be so keen on but who can guarantee him first-team football. 

It is believed that PSG coach Unai Emery would still be happy to keep the player at the club, and it remains to be seen what Pastore decides to do with just a few days left before the end of the transfer window.

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Ciao Ciao: Inter Captain Sparks Real Madrid Transfer Rumours With Cryptic Instagram & Twitter Posts

​Inter captain Mauro Icardi has sparked rumours of a January move away from San Siro with a cryptic message posted on social media, with Real Madrid monitoring the 24-year-old Argentinian as they struggle through a difficult domestic and European campaign. 

Icardi posted an image on his Instagram account which read “Poder decir adios es crecer,” or “to say goodbye means to grow,” with the caption ‘Goodbye Goodbye’ and a pair of emoji (a waving hand and a contemplative face with a hand stroking its chin). 

Fans of the Milan-based club immediately began to panic while Real fans piled into the comments of his Instagram account and into the replies to his tweet – which read simply ‘hello hello’ with a few emoji – to ‘welcome’ the Argentina international to the Bernabeu. 

Despite the post though, it’s massively unlikely that Icardi will stun his teammates by leaving the club before Wednesday’s transfer deadline, with ​Corriere dello Sport reporting that there are no negotiations underway for the player with Real or any other side. 

The release clause in the forward’s contract cannot be activated in January either, leaving him with no viable way out of San Siro unless the club are willing to sanction a move on no notice and with no time to bring in a replacement. 

Fans and media outlets have begun to speculate on other potential meanings of the post, noting that the image quotes the final line of ‘Adios’ by Gustavo Cerati – a song about the end of a romance – and speculating about his relationship with Wanda Nara. 


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Daniel Sturridge Closing in on Loan Move to Newcastle as Inter Play Down Move for Reds Striker

Newcastle United are increasingly hopeful of completing a loan move for Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge until the end of the season, according to reports.

The​ Magpies are desperate for firepower up front after scoring just 22 league goals in the ​Premier League this season, with boss Rafa Benitez identifying the out-of-favour Reds striker as a potential solution to his goalscoring problems.

According to ​The Times, the club are in the final stages of negotiations with the Liverpool hierachy, with Newcastle expected to pay an upfront £1.5m loan fee for Sturridge, as well as covering his £120,000 wages for the remainder of the season.

Sturridge has been the subject of widespread interest across Europe, with a loan agreement with ​​Serie A giants ​Inter already in place with the Reds. The 28-year old has stalled on making a decision though, fuelling speculation that he is not keen on a move to Italy.

Inter have seemingly played down speculation over Sturridge’s potential arrival over the last 24 hours, with director of football Piero Auselio quoted by​ Calciomercato as saying; “Sturridge? He is still on our transfer shortlist, we have important players already but we we cancel nobody from the shortlist.”

(You may also be interested in Newcastle Set to Hijack Liverpool’s Bid to Sign £17.5m-Rated Brazil Forward)

It is understood that Newcastle have now stepped to the head of the queue after failing to land Rafa Benitez’s preferred target, Feyenoord striker Nicolai Jorgensen. The Danish international was the subject of two bids of £13m and £15m respectively last week, but both offers were rejected, with Benitez now moving on to other targets.

Sturridge’s last appearance for the Reds came on December 6, when he came on as a substitute in the 7-0 mauling of Spartak Moscow in the UEFA Champions League.

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Inter Boss Luciano Spalletti Bemoans ‘Bitter Taste’ of Conceding Last Minute Equaliser Against SPAL

​Inter boss Luciano Spalletti has claimed that conceding a last minute equaliser against SPAL left a bitter taste in his mouth – as the late goal saw the Serie A minnows condemn his side to seven matches in a row without a win.

I Nerazzurri took the lead early in the second half, thanks to a calamitous own-goal from SPAL defender Francesco Vicari. However, Inter were unable to add to their lead, and the home side’s pressure eventually saw them draw level in the 91st minute, with Alberto Paloschi’s headed effort sending the 13,000 home fans into hysteria. 

Speaking after the match, via Goal, Spalletti bemoaned his side’s fortunes, claiming:

When you concede goals like that, you’re sorry The bitter taste stays in your mouth. You work harder but nothing changes.

“It’s always the same thing. I don’t see any improvement. Even when we were winning games, there were these blackouts where we lost simple balls and at other times didn’t fight. We need a balance of behaviour and a consistency of mentality.”

“The team work well and keep their balance on the pitch, but then we lose duels in trivial ways. We have to work better and find more solutions, without becoming timid and fearful. We’re going through a moment that doesn’t help us to play calmly. It feeds the tension. Our self-esteem is so severely tested. We need a strong reaction.”

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Inter’s disappointing result sees them slip further behind in the race for a top four finish – with their closest league rivals Lazio and Roma both having the luxury of a game in hand. Despite an excellent start to the season, The San Siro side’s poor winter form has seen them fall off in the race of the Serie A title – which now appears to be a race between Napoli and Juventus.

In other news, Inter could be in the running to sign Paris Saint-Germain outcast Javier Pastore, who has ​explicitly mentioned the club as a possible transfer destination. The Argentine international has been forced to play a bit-part role for his side this season, as their world record signing Neymar has been setting Ligue Un alight in a formidable front-three.

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Javier Pastore Admits He Could Leave PSG But Rules Out Move to Premier League

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Javier Pastore has admitted he could leave the club this month, but ruled out the possibility of a move to the Premier League.

The Argentine international has fallen down the pecking order at the Parc des Princes, starting just eight Ligue 1 games so far this season.

Pastore has revealed his hope of making the Argentina squad for this summer’s World Cup, which might require a move elsewhere in order to find more regular first-team football.

“I have a tough choice to make,” he told Le Parisien. “I love Paris but I’m desperate to play in the World Cup. Will that happen if I stay? No. But if I leave it’ll only be to Italy, a league I know well.”

He added: “Last time, I was not selected because I was not playing and that’s normal. In Argentina, there are plenty of players who are at their best. 

“We always need to be competitive so that the coach has plenty of choice. Here, I have to wait for someone to be suspended or injured to play a match. It’s not pretty.”

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Asked about his potential destination should he leave, Pastore said: “We talk a lot about Inter Milan. If I leave, it’s to go to Italy. It’s a championship that I know, that I like a lot. 

“My wife is from there and the family is very important in my decision making. We talk with the club. It is a decision that is not easy for the club and for me. We will try to find an agreement in the coming days and see what we will do.”

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