Burnley in advanced talks with Young

Burnley are in advanced talks with Ashley Young’s representatives over a free transfer.

The former England international, who turns 36 next month, is in discussions over a one-year contract with the option of a further 12 months.

Both parties are increasingly hopeful a deal can be completed.

Young has huge respect for Burnley boss Sean Dyche, who was his captain at Watford when he started his professional career.

Young is set to depart Inter Milan this summer after turning down a new deal at the San Siro, and held talks over a possible return to Watford.

He made 34 appearances this season as Inter won their first Serie A title in 11 years, although manager Antonio Conte left the club just days after their final fixture over the club’s plans to reduce spending.

Young joined Inter in January 2020 from Manchester United, for whom he made 261 appearances and won a Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup.

Chelsea rival PSG for Inter’s Hakimi with £56m bid

Chelsea have matched Paris Saint-Germain’s £56.1m (€60m) offer for Inter Milan wing-back Achraf Hakimi.

Sky in Italy are reporting that Inter may well be more open to Chelsea’s proposal because of the Italian club’s interest in Emerson Palmieri and Andreas Christensen.

Inter would like Palmieri on loan while Chelsea would prefer the move to be permanent.

Chelsea’s offer for Hakimi appears still to be some way short of Inter’s asking price. They are understood to value the Morocco full-back at £68.8m (€80m).

Hakimi

Last season, Hakimi scored seven goals and registered 10 assists in Serie A.

He was signed by Inter from Real Madrid last summer for a fee of around £40m after establishing himself on the European stage on loan at Borussia Dortmund for two seasons.

Hakimi, who can also play as a full-back on either flank in a conventional four-man defence, would fit straight into Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel’s five-at-the-back system as a wing-back.

Hakimi

AC Milan set to sign Tomori from Chelsea for £25m

May 16, 2021, Milan, United Kingdom: Milan, Italy, 16th May 2021. Fikayo Tomori of AC Milan during the Serie A match at Giuseppe Meazza, Milan. Picture credit should read: Jonathan Moscrop / Sportimage(Credit Image: © Jonathan Moscrop/CSM via ZUMA Wire) (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)
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Fikayo Tomori made 22 appearances for AC Milan in the 2020/21 season

AC Milan will exercise the option to sign Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori on a permanent deal this summer for £25m.

Tomori, 23, joined AC Milan on an initial six-month loan in January and helped the club secure a second-placed finish and a return to the Champions League after a seven-year absence.

Milan held talks with Chelsea in recent days in an attempt to lower the agreed £25m fee but the Premier League club refused, according to Sky in Italy.

Milan, managed by Stefano Pioli, are expected to finalise the paperwork and announce the transfer next week.

Lukaku: I’m staying at Inter

Romelu Lukaku has confirmed his wish to stay at Inter Milan next season despite transfer interest from the Premier League.

The 28-year-old has enjoyed a stellar season in Italy and led Antonio Conte’s side to the Scudetto, bringing an end to Juventus’ nine-year domestic winning cycle.

His 24 goals in 36 Serie A appearances earned him the league’s MVP award and attracted the interest of Chelsea and Manchester City for a return to the Premier League.

However, speaking from Belgium’s training camp ahead of Euro 2020, Lukaku confirmed he will not be looking to pursue a move away from San Siro in the summer despite Conte’s exit and Simone Inzaghi’s impending arrival as head coach.

“Yes, I am staying,” he told Dutch broadcaster VTM.

“I’ve already had contact with the man who normally becomes our new manager. Maybe I shouldn’t say that yet… but it was a very positive conversation.”

“There’s also the challenge of doing it again [winning the league with Inter]. I feel good at Inter.”

Lukaku is valued at around £100m by Inter and they want to cash in on at least one of their high-profile players, which was part of the reason behind Conte’s decision to quit as manager last week.

Antonio Conte, Romelu Lukaku
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Antonio Conte was one of the reasons Romelu Lukaku decided to join Inter Milan in 2019

The former Chelsea boss, who is now in talks to join Tottenham, was told the club needed to make a €100m cut to its budget for next season.

According to Sky in Italy, Achraf Hakimi remains the most likely of Inter’s star players to leave this summer, with the £70m-rated Morocco international being hotly pursued by Paris Saint-Germain.

Lukaku arrived in the Premier League in 2011 when he joined Chelsea from Anderlecht but failed to score for the Blues in his first season, prompting the club to loan him out to West Brom and then Everton in successive seasons.

He eventually flourished after joining the Toffees on a permanent deal in 2014, scoring 53 goals across three seasons at Goodison Park, which earned him a £75m move to Old Trafford in 2017.

After two seasons of ups and downs at United, he signed for Inter on a five-year deal in 2019, scoring 64 goals in two seasons for the Nerazzurri so far.

Inzaghi replaces Conte as new Inter boss

Inter Milan have appointed Lazio’s Simone Inzaghi as their new manager, with the Italian signing a two-year deal to replace Antonio Conte.

Inzaghi arrives at the San Siro after five years as Lazio boss, during which he led them back into the Champions League group stages for the first time since the 2007/08 season.

Before being promoted to manage the first team in 2016, the 45-year-old had coached a number of Lazio’s youth sides.

As senior manager, Inzaghi qualified Lazio for European competition in each of his five full seasons in charge, including a run to the Champions League last 16 in the 2020/21 campaign.

The former Lazio and Italy striker also led the club to a Coppa Italia title in 2019, as well as two Italian Super Cup successes.

Inzaghi was handed a boost before even being confirmed as Inter’s new boss when striker Romelu Lukaku revealed he is planning to stay at the club for next season.



Romelu Lukaku fired Inter Milan to the Serie A title this season








0:21

Antonio Conte has left Inter Milan but Romelu Lukaku insists he is happy to stay with the Serie A champions

Chelsea are interested in signing their former player, who scored 30 times for Inter in 2020/21, with the Italian side understood to be looking for £100m for the 28-year-old.

But despite Inter’s desire to raise funds this summer, Lukaku told Belgian broadcaster VTN on Wednesday: “Yes, I am staying.

“I’ve already had contact with the man who normally becomes our new manager [Inzaghi]. Maybe I shouldn’t say that yet… but it was a very positive conversation.

“There’s also the challenge of doing it again [winning the league with Inter]. I feel good at Inter.”

Inzaghi’s predecessor Conte left Inter just weeks after securing their first Serie A title in 11 years, amid a disagreement with the board over their plans to cut costs.

Conte is now in talks with Tottenham about replacing Jose Mourinho as manager, although it is understood the two parties are yet to reach an agreement over the former Chelsea boss’ wage demands.

Why did Inter let Conte leave?

Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol:

“Antonio Conte is one of the best managers in the world, and now he is unemployed, although he has got a €7m (£6m) pay-off from Inter Milan. There had been crunch talks going on about his future and he was very unhappy about the fact that the owners of the club had asked him just a few days after winning the Italian title for the first time in 11 years to cut costs.

“They wanted him to shave around €100m (£86m) off Inter’s budget for next season and Conte was very unhappy about that. He basically said that he had won the title, he had done what had been asked of him, but when it came to Europe, they had finished bottom of their Champions League group.

Antonio Conte
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Antonio Conte walked away from Inter Milan over their plans to cut costs

“Next season, he wanted to win the title again and to win the Champions League. He wanted to make them a force in Europe again, and he claimed he would not be able to do that if they were asking him to sell some of his best players to cut the wage bill. He said he could not manage with one hand tied behind his back and that’s the reason why he has decided to go.

“The question people will be asking is why Inter’s owners have allowed this to happen? This is a manager who has won titles at Juventus as both a player and as a manager. He’s someone who has won titles at Chelsea and he’s done it again at Inter.

“The owners of Inter are a Chinese retail giant called Suning, which also owned the reigning Chinese Super League champions Jiangsu Suning. They won the Chinese title in November but just a few months later, Suning turned around and said they were closing the club down due to financial problems.

“They wanted to step back from football, and that’s exactly what they have done at their other club as well, Inter Milan. They felt it was costing them too much money. Conte heard what they have had to say and decided that is not how he operates.”

Hakimi most likely Inter star to depart this summer

Achraf Hakimi appears to be the most likely of Inter Milan’s star players to leave this summer, according to Sky in Italy.

Morocco international Hakimi is being hotly pursued by Paris Saint-Germain, although their most recent offer of around £52m is some way short of Inter’s valuation of £70m.

Inter are looking to cash in on at least one of their high-profile players, which was part of the reason behind Antonio Conte’s decision to quit as manager last week, just three weeks after leading the club to a first Serie A title in 11 years.

Sky Sports News reported on Monday that Chelsea have interest in another of Inter’s stars, their former striker Romelu Lukaku.

AP - Romelu Lukaku
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Chelsea are interested in re-signing Romelu Lukaku

Hakimi departing the San Siro would likely lessen the chances of Inter allowing Lukaku to leave.

Hakimi played in all but one of Inter’s league fixtures, scoring seven goals and contributing 10 assists as the Nerazzurri finished 12 points clear of city rivals AC Milan.

The 22-year-old, who can play as either a defender or midfielder, joined Inter last summer from Real Madrid for an initial fee of £36m, having spent the previous two seasons on loan at Borussia Dortmund.

Conte’s replacement as Inter boss is also expected to be confirmed as former Lazio head coach Simone Inzaghi in the next 48 hours.

Meanwhile, Lazio continue to talk with former Chelsea and Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri about their vacancy, with sporting director Igli Tare spending time at Sarri’s house on Monday.

Chelsea interested in Lukaku, Haaland | Tuchel set for new deal

Chelsea are interested in Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku and Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland as the club plan to invest in the playing squad again this summer.

The Champions League winners are keen to bring Belgium forward Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge, with the 28-year-old likely to leave Serie A champions Inter Milan.

Inter need to raise funds due to financial concerns and are looking for a fee in the region of £100m for their top goalscorer last season.

Borussia Dortmund’s Haaland is also being considered. The Norwegian is under contract at the Bundesliga side until 2024 but has a reported €75m (£66m) release clause, which comes into effect in the summer of 2022.

Erling Haaland (AP)
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Erling Haaland’s £66m release clause comes into effect in 2022

The player’s representatives – agent Mino Raiola and father Alf Inge – visited Barcelona and Madrid for talks in April, while he has also been linked with Manchester City and Manchester United.

Raiola acknowledged Dortmund do not want to sell the striker, who scored 41 goals in 41 games this season, and Haaland himself has suggested he could stay beyond the summer.

Tuchel, Silva to be rewarded for CL triumph

Thomas Tuchel celebrates at the final whistle
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Thomas Tuchel will be rewarded with a new deal for winning the Champions League

Thomas Tuchel is set to sign a new, long-term contract at Chelsea following Saturday’s Champions League win.

The German’s current contract has the option for an extension but the former Dortmund head coach will instead be rewarded with a new deal following his immediate success at Stamford Bridge since replacing Frank Lampard in January.

Tuchel admitted following his first meeting with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich on the pitch at the Estadio do Dragao on Saturday, that a new contract could be in the offing.

Thiago Silva will also return to Chelsea for next season with the option for a second year being taken up by the club, on the back of an influential 12 months since arriving from Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer last summer.

Giroud, Abraham, Palmieri set for exit

Tammy Abraham has scored four FA Cup goals this season, including a hat-trick against Luton in the fourth round
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Tammy Abraham has fallen out of favour since Tuchel took over in January

Olivier Giroud is one of the players likely to leave Chelsea this summer as they overhaul their squad. The France striker is close to agreeing a move to AC Milan.

He could be followed out of Stamford Bridge by fellow striker Tammy Abraham and defender Emerson Palmieri.

Abraham, who has two years left on his current contract, was not named in the matchday squad for the Champions League final.

Young in talks with Watford over Vicarage Road return

Watford are in talks with Ashley Young’s representatives over a return to Vicarage Road for the 35-year-old.

The two parties are currently discussing personal terms, with a one-year contract on the table for the former England international.

Young is set to leave Inter Milan this summer after turning down a new deal at the San Siro.

He was part of the side that won Inter their first Serie A title in 11 years this season, although manager Antonio Conte left the club just days after the end of the season over the club’s plans to reduce spending.

Young came through the ranks at Watford before joining Aston Villa in 2007.

He went on to move to Manchester United in 2011, where he won the Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup.

Ashley Young began his football career at Watford as a 10-year-old
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Young began his football career at Watford as a 10-year-old

Young told Sky Sports News earlier this month that it would be difficult to turn down a return to his boyhood club Watford.

“I’ve never said I wouldn’t go back,” he said. “It’s the club where I started at 10 years old.

“It would be a difficult decision to make.”

Watford are preparing for Premier League football once again after securing an immediate return to the top flight following a second-place finish in the Championship.

Conte parts ways with Inter Milan

Antonio Conte has left Inter Milan by mutual consent, with Simone Inzaghi likely to replace him as head coach of the Serie A champions.

Conte has agreed a deal with the club’s owners which will see him paid €7m (£6m) for the final year of his contract.

The former Chelsea boss guided Inter to their first Serie A title in 11 years but was embroiled in a dispute with the club’s owners after they proposed a downsizing of his squad.

Inter chairman Steven Zhang reportedly asked Conte to cut his wage bill by 15 to 20 per cent and potentially sell players worth up to £70m this summer.

Zhang arrived at Inter’s headquarters to continue discussions with senior staff on Wednesday morning.

A club statement read: “FC Internazionale Milano announces that it has reached an agreement for the consensual termination of the contract with the coach Antonio Conte.

“The whole club would like to thank Antonio for the extraordinary work he has done, which culminated in winning the 19th Scudetto. Antonio Conte will remain forever in the history of our club.”

Simone Inzaghi celebrates with his players after Lazio's second goal
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Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi could replace Conte at Inter

Conte was keen to keep up to eight players he sees as “untouchables” which include Milan Skriniar, Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez.

Lukaku is happy at Inter but Conte’s departure, coupled with the club needing to cut costs, has put a question mark over his status at the club.

The club’s strategy, according to Sky in Italy, could include the sale of one of the club’s star players and a move to focus on developing young talent.

Lazio manager Inzaghi is set to replace Conte at the San Siro. The former Italy striker has been in charge of the Rome club since 2016 and led them to a sixth-place finish this season, finishing six points above fierce rivals Roma.

Why have the owners allowed this to happen?

Antonio Conte, Romelu Lukaku
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Conte enjoyed a fine relationship with prolific striker Romelu Lukaku

Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol:

“Antonio Conte is one of the best managers in the world, and this evening he is unemployed, although he has got €7m pay-off from Inter Milan. There had been crunch talks going on all day about his future and he was very unhappy about the fact that the owners of the club had asked him just a few days after winning the Italian title for the first time in 11 years to cut costs.

“They wanted him to shave around €100m off Inter’s budget for next season and Conte was very unhappy about that. He basically said that he had won the title, he had done what had been asked of him, but when it came to Europe, they had finished bottom of their Champions League group.

“Next season, he wanted to win the title again and to win the Champions League. He wanted to make them a force in Europe again as well, and he claimed he would not be able to do that if they were asking him to sell some of his best players to cut the wage bill. He said he could not manage with one hand tied behind his back and that’s the reason why he has decided to go.

Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez celebrates after he scored his side's fifth
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Uncertainty remains over several of star players including Lautaro Martinez

“He had one year remaining on his contract worth around €11m after tax, so a lot of the talks today were around what the pay-off was going to be. The question people will be asking is why Inter’s owners have allowed this to happen? This is a manager who has won titles at Juventus as both a player and as a manager. He’s someone who has won titles at Chelsea and he’s done it again at Inter.

“The owners of Inter are a Chinese retail giant called Suning, who also owned the reigning Chinese Super League champions Jiangsu Suning. They won the Chinese title in November but just a few months later, Suning turned around and said they were closing the club down due to financial problems.

“They wanted to step back from football, and that’s exactly what they have done at their other club as well, Inter Milan. They felt it was costing them too much money. Conte has heard what they have had to say and decided this is not how he operates.”

‘Players may follow Conte to next club’

Sky in Italy reporter Ghilda Pensante:

“From the fans’ point of view, their fans have not had the time to enjoy and celebrate the title they’ve longed for for such a long time, because Antonio Conte has decided to leave already, just a few days after the end of the season.

“There were mixed emotions from the fans, many have been thankful towards Conte for what he did. Sad, upset, most of them were angry, but not with Conte, more with the club, because they think it was their financial plans which led to his decision to leave.

“All the players, in general, have expressed gratitude and said he helped them improve, as well as win the title. It is possible [some players could leave], firstly because of the club’s financial plans, which may force them to save money and balance the books.

“But most of all, Conte has been like a glue holding the group together. As we know, he’s a strong manager who can attract players. Some players may choose to follow him if he goes to another club.”

Lukaku’s Inter future uncertain after Conte exit

Antonio Conte’s departure from Inter Milan today has increased the likelihood Romelu Lukaku will also leave the Italian champions this summer.

Lukaku has been happy at Inter but Conte was one of the main reasons he agreed to move there from Manchester United two years ago and clubs such as Chelsea want to sign him this summer.

Conte left on Wednesday after he was told Inter needed to make a €100m cut to its budget for next season, and the former Chelsea head coach is likely to be replaced by Lazio manager Simone Inzaghi.

Former Inter Milan head coach Antonio Conte
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Conte left his role as Inter head coach earlier today

Inter signed Lukaku for £74m and he is now valued at between £90m and £100m after scoring 64 times in two seasons.

He has three years left on his Inter contract and is taking a short holiday at the moment before joining up with the Belgium squad for the Euros.

Lukaku and Inter will wait until a new manager is appointed before any decisions are made about his future.

If Lukaku was to sign for Chelsea it would cap a remarkable return to the club who sold him to Everton for £28m seven years ago.

Tebas questions Infantino’s ‘loyalty’ amid Super League fallout

FIFA president Gianni Infantino should not have hidden any meetings he had with Super League clubs from UEFA and the affected competitions, says La Liga president Javier Tebas.

The head of the Spanish top flight remains convinced Infantino played a part in the discussions which ultimately led to the foundation of the Super League by 12 clubs last month, and the FIFA boss did not deny speaking to those clubs when asked about it last week, though he did say he had not colluded with them.

Tebas said Infantino’s first loyalty should have been to the existing global institutions.

“Of course the president can talk to who he wants, and be with who he wants to talk about whatever. What we’re talking about is the football institutions and his loyalty,” Tebas told the Club Advisory Platform of the European Leagues in Madrid.

“If he is being shown a format of a Super League – and a closed Super League – as soon as he had finished meeting with those clubs the first thing he should have done was to ring the president of UEFA, and all the leagues that would have been affected by it.

“He shouldn’t have kept it secret.”



Gary Neville in the stands during the Sky Bet League Two match at the Peninsula Stadium, Salford. Picture date: Friday January 22, 2021.








6:12

Sky Sports’ Gary Neville dissects the European Super League scandal, claims the big six clubs ‘attempted murder’ on English football, and has urged people to mobilise in order to protect the game in future

Infantino was asked about his role in the Super League discussions by the PA news agency at FIFA Congress last Friday.

He said: “At FIFA it is my responsibility to hear, to meet, to discuss with football stakeholders – our member associations, leagues, our clubs, everyone: big, medium and small.

“To listen to some clubs and to speak with some clubs doesn’t mean in any way whatsoever that FIFA was behind, was colluding, was plotting, [on] any Super League project.”

‘Other clubs treated like stupid naive puppets’

Tebas added: “I would like to say the Super League is dead, that it has come to an end. For me though, the Super League is still alive. The Super League is not just a competition format. The Super League is an ideology that started 20 years ago.”

He said the Super League clubs had treated the leagues and other clubs like “stupid naive puppets” in the way they had behaved, adding he would “respect” any sanctions UEFA imposed on Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus over their refusal to renounce the Super League.

Tebas described the holdout clubs as “complete failures”.

Do they think they are cleverer than we are? The fact that they have won a lot of titles does not mean that they are smarter than a lot of the leagues and a lot of the clubs in Europe

Tebas on Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid owners

“Their boat is half-sunk but they want to give us lessons on how to modernise football,” he said. “Are they going to give us lessons on what modernising football is about, these three clubs? Or should I say these three main leaders of these clubs (Florentino Perez, Joan Laporta and Andrea Agnelli).

“Do they think they are cleverer than we are? The fact that they have won a lot of titles does not mean that they are smarter than a lot of the leagues and a lot of the clubs in Europe.

“The fact that they’re a big club, it doesn’t mean that they know everything that is going on in football. That press release (when the league was founded) shows how ignorant they are.”

Masters calls for ‘rebalancing’ of European football

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters told the meeting that the events of the last 18 months demonstrated the need for a “rebalancing” of European football governance.

Aside from the Super League disruption, the continent’s top clubs had also driven reforms to UEFA’s club competitions from 2024 which included an increase in the number of group stage matches from six to 10.



PA - European Super League - 'big six' clubs








2:01

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters says relations between the six European Super League ‘breakaway’ clubs and the rest of the division are strained and will take time to be restored

The 2024 proposals also include plans to allow two clubs to qualify for Europe based on historical performance, a move which would clearly benefit the traditional big sides and something the Premier League and its clubs have opposed.

Masters said: “We need to look at the governance model within European football because it needs rebalancing in my view.

“It means that in the future when we talk about all of these really important things and solutions we need, is that all the people in this room have a stronger voice.

“So that’s leagues, the wider group of clubs, and also fans have a voice in the future. In the future of the game. That seems to me to be what needs to change, and that’s the only way you can bring the unity that Aleksander (Ceferin) was talking about [in his video address].”










5:07

Gary Neville and Richard Scudamore reflect on the attempted European Super League breakaway, the ‘consequences’ for the six Premier League clubs involved, and whether regulation is required to prevent another attempt

Speaking about the formation and collapse of the Super League, Masters said: “What happened created so much division and uncertainty at a time when we least needed it and I think the reaction in this country was incredibly unified.

“The reaction of fans was decisive. That concept was short-lived, and clearly there are issues in the short term for us to resolve and I am confident we will be able to do that.

“But when something like this happens I don’t think you can ever go back to where you were before, and so at the Premier League at least we’re focused on ensuring something like this can’t happen again.

“That means strengthening our regulations and aligning everybody around a core set of principles.

“It’s a situation that does demand a reset, it demands openness, talking about the issues that still face us in English football or European football but without the threat of a European Super League.”

Ceferin: We want to maximise passion, not profits

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said in a video address to the meeting: “You can rest assured that UEFA is committed more than ever to supporting the entire football pyramid. We want to maximise passion, not profits.

“We want to lend a hand, not show a fist. All leagues, all clubs and all fans are equally important to holding the pyramid together. The smallest stone of the pyramid is of no less importance than the biggest.

“The big clubs do not become big in isolation. They needed to play all clubs to become victorious and establish their fame. This is the irony of the failed endeavour of the ill-fated Super League. They believed they had to knock out the podium on which they stand.”