Allegri warns Juventus to expect 'difficult' four-team Scudetto race

The Bianconeri are gunning for a sixth Scudetto in a row as they open their campaign against Fiorentina, but their coach believes Napoli, Roma and Inter can compete

Massimiliano Allegri urged Juventus not to believe they are in for an easy route to Serie A glory and thinks four teams will challenge for this season’s Scudetto.

Juve open their season at home to Fiorentina on Saturday as hot favourites to win the title for a sixth consecutive season.

Despite selling Paul Pogba in a world-record transfer to Manchester United, Allegri’s men have added five impressive names in Dani Alves, Mehdi Benatia, Gonzalo Higuain, Marko Pjaca and Miralem Pjanic.

But Allegri does not think that transfer business makes Juve overwhelming frontrunners and expects Napoli, Roma and Inter – although not his former club AC Milan – to contest the title.

He said: “We know that our big rivalries this season will be with Inter, Napoli and Roma. They will all be in the Scudetto fight.

“The first overall objective is to get to March and be fighting for three competitions, to be fighting in the league, the last 16 of the Champions League and the Coppa Italia. From then on we’ll play our season.

“It’s definitely not easy, because in every year that passes – Juventus have won the Scudetto for five in a row – the level of difficulty gets higher and higher. The other teams become more aggressive, and as we saw at the beginning of last year, subconsciously there’s a drop-off.
READ MORE  | Allegri jokes about Pogba sale

“Nothing is easy – especially in football. We know that winning the title is going to be very difficult.

“You can’t necessarily say that because Juventus have made some good signings – Higuain, Pjanic, Benatia, Pjaca, Dani Alves – that it’s a mathematical equation and we should win the Scudetto.

“To win the Scudetto you have to earn it on the pitch, like going forward in the Champions League. We’ll take it a step at a time, which is the way it should be.”

While not having the profile of Alves, Benatia, Higuain and Pjanic, Allegri tipped Pjaca – the 21-year-old winger brought in from Dinamo Zagreb – to be one of the stars of the Italian season.

He added: “Marko Pjaca is very good and interesting. He is talented – I think he could be the revelation of the season because he has physical and technical quality.

“At the moment, I think he is more suited to playing in a wider role but it depends on the system that we use as he is also effective as one of the two forwards.”

Candreva reveals title ambitions with Inter

The new Nerazzurri winger is full of ambition following his transfer to San Siro and wants to win titles with his new club, while recognising they must topple Juventus

Antonio Candreva is determined to win silverware with Inter following his transfer from Lazio.

The Italy international was initially linked with a move to Napoli, but eventually opted to join Inter instead and is looking forward to a new chapter in his career.

“I joined Inter to win. That is what Inter are used to doing,” said Candreva.

“Inter were chasing after me and I am proud to have joined this club. Negotiations were long and hard and at some point I feared the deal would collapse. I did not reject Napoli. I don’t know whether there were talks between both clubs.
READ MORE  | How will each Serie A side line up?

“Inter wanted me right from the start and I am proud to be here.

“I have reached the right age to aim for success. Juventus have been the team to beat in recent years, but we want to improve on last season and have a good campaign.

“We have got a lot of quality players and we can achieve big things together.”

The 29-year-old signed a four-year deal with Inter.

De Boer questions Juventus strength

The Serie A champions have brought in the likes of Dani Alves, Miralem Pjanic and Gonzalo Higuain over the summer, but the new Inter boss believes Pogba’s loss will be key

Inter coach Frank de Boer has questioned whether Juventus have genuinely strengthened their squad ahead of the 2016-17 campaign, despite the arrival of a number of high-profile names.

The Serie A champions have secured the services of Gonzalo Higuain, Miralem Pjanic and Dani Alves among others, but De Boer has stressed there is no guarantee the new signings will fit in and improve the team.

“Juventus are a great team and have an exceptional squad,” De Boer told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“They have brought in Higuain, but they have lost [Paul] Pogba at the same time. We will have to wait and see how they cope with these changes in midfield.

“I don’t think it’s a certainty that they are stronger than last season. Yes, they have a lot of big names, but we don’t know yet whether these big names fit in the team.”
READ MORE  | ‘Juve laughing at United over Pogba’

Inter are looking to qualify for the Champions League again in 2016-17 having not played in the competition since 2011-12, but De Boer has warned he needs time to make the team his own.

“We’ll see my Inter after four months, that’s the norm,” De Boer added. “In January, you will have more of an idea about what we are trying to do as I have only just arrived.

“We also must be very careful at the moment not to be too intense in training as it can lead to many injuries.

“I remember [Jurgen] Klopp taking over at Liverpool last October and tried to immediately impose his high-pressing style which he used at Borussia Dortmund and it resulted in several injuries. Sometimes it is better to slow down.

“Getting into the Champions League [is our goal]. With good organisation and the right mindset, you can do just about anything in football. However, we know that Roma, Napoli, Lazio, Fiorentina and Milan are all good teams and must be respected.”

Inter to beat Man Utd & Chelsea to Gabigol signing

The Nerazzurri are already in talks to sign Brazil’s Olympics star and look set to beat Premier League clubs and Juventus to his signature

Inter are leading the race to sign Gabriel Barbosa from Santos for £25 million and are expected to beat Juventus, Manchester United, Chelsea and Leicester City to the signing of the star, Goal understands.

Santos president Modesto Roma held provisional talks in London with representatives from the Premier League clubs. He also visited Madrid to speak to Atletico, while Juventus also made an offer for him.

However, the 19-year-old will most likely join Inter this summer, as sources close to the forward have confirmed the Nerazzurri have agreed terms with Santos. 
READ MORE  | Juve still laughing at Man Utd over Pogba – Pirlo

Frank de Boer’s side are yet to open talks over personal terms with Barbosa, though, and will wait until after the Olympics, with the attacker nicknamed ‘Gabigol’ aiming for a gold medal with Brazil in Rio.

There is still time for Premier League clubs to make a move, but there is little sign they will do so. 

Chelsea are focusing their financial strength on securing Everton’s Romelu Lukaku, who they are prioritising over Gbigol, and have been trying to re-sign the Belgian throughout the transfer window.

De Boer: Blind move unlikely but we'll see

The Manchester United defender has been linked with a reunion with his former coach, but the Inter boss feels a transfer is not likely in the current transfer window

Inter coach Frank de Boer has admitted he is a keen admirer of Daley Blind, but believes there is little chance the Manchester United defender will switch clubs this transfer window.

De Boer and Blind, contracted to United until June 2018. worked together at Ajax and reports suggest the newly appointed Inter boss is keen to lure his compatriot away from Old Trafford.

However, a transfer seems very much unlikely as things stand, though the coach would not rule it out completely.

“I like him as a player for sure, he’s fantastic,” De Boer was quoted as saying by Gazzetta World.

“He is very happy at Manchester United, though, and played in the Community Shield. 

“I know his situation and I think he’s very happy and playing with confidence, but we’ll see in the future.

READ MORE  | Eder & Candreva earn De Boer winning start

“Of course, any of my ex-players from Ajax are guys I like to keep an eye on and watch them very closely. I do the same with [Christian] Eriksen, [Toby] Alderweireld, all of those guys. I like to follow them and I do the same with Daley.”

Inter are also being linked with a move for Sporting midfielder Joao Mario and De Boer has hinted there could be developments soon regarding the Portugal international.

“He’s a European champion,” De Boer added.

“He is an interesting player to a lot of teams and for Inter, that’s no different. We will see in the coming days what happens. 

“Firstly, I do have to see how the group is and then I’ll make a choice about whether or not we really need players in the squad. Now I can make real judgements about the players.

“We will have to wait and see and then make choices.”

Injured Ansaldi set to miss start of Inter's season

The Argentine full-back pulled up in training on Thursday with a ligament problem, and could be out for up to a month – which will keep him out against Chievo

Cristian Ansaldi is set to miss the start of Inter’s season after the club confirmed he had suffered a knee injury.

The 29-year-old full-back arrived at San Siro last month after spells with Zenit St Petersburg, Atletico Madrid and Genoa over the past three seasons, but has suffered a strained medial collateral ligament prior to making his competitive debut.

Ansaldi sustained the problem in training on Thursday, prior to his presentation as an Inter player later that day.
READ MORE  | De Boer: Icardi not leaving Inter

“Cristian Ansaldi has had a scan on his left knee which has revealed a strained medial collateral ligament,” read the club’s statement on Friday.

Reports in Italy suggest he will miss two to four weeks of action as a result, with Inter’s league campaign due to start away to Chievo on August 21.

Ansaldi had appeared in five of Inter’s pre-season matches under former head coach Roberto Mancini, who has since been replaced at the helm by Frank de Boer.

Banega looking forward to Icardi partnership at Inter

The Argentine star says he is looking forward to the opportunity to link up with attacker, while he says that he would like to be “in the thick of the game”

Ever Banega says he hopes to form an effective partnership with compatriot Mauro Icardi at Inter this season.

The Argentina international joined Inter on a free transfer following the expiration of his contract with Sevilla, where Banega won successive Europa League crowns.

And the former Valencia midfielder, who shone as a deep-lying playmaker under new Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, was attracted by the presence of a strong Argentinian contingent at San Siro, particularly star striker Icardi.

“Definitely one of my goals will be to give [Icardi] as many chances as possible to score,” Banega, who will wear the number 19 shirt for the Nerazzurri, said at his official unveiling on Friday.
READ MORE  | De Boer: Icardi not leaving Inter

“Even the presence of [former Argentina captain and current Inter vice-president] Javier Zanetti was important. Talking to him was very useful.”

However, Banega is not sure which position he will be deployed in by new Inter coach Frank de Boer, having fulfilled both creative and destructive duties during spells at Valencia and Sevilla.

“I’ve played in so many roles but I believe there is a role that I can consider mine: I like to be in the thick of the game,” he added.

De Boer: Icardi not leaving Inter

The new Nerazzurri coach is looking forward to working with the Argentine striker at San Siro and believes his side can challenge Juventus for the Serie A title this season

New Inter boss Frank de Boer insists captain and star striker Mauro Icardi will not leave the club as he plots to end Juventus’ dominance of Serie A.

The former Netherlands international has signed a three-year deal at San Siro to succeed Roberto Mancini, who left his role amid reports of a dispute with club owners Suning Holdings Group.

A succession of heavy pre-season defeats preceded Mancini’s exit, with De Boer confirming the club approached him in the aftermath of last Friday’s 6-1 defeat to Tottenham.

But the 46-year-old was bullish over Inter’s prospects at his first news conference as coach and he expects Icardi – a reported transfer target for Arsenal and Napoli over the course of the close-season – to play a key role in attempting to stop Juve adding a sixth consecutive league title this season.

“I thank Inter for choosing me,” De Boer said. “I spoke with the owners and everyone wants to bring the club where it deserves to be. 

“Juventus are not unbeatable, sometimes things change. They have a great team and it will be tough, but we want to fight. 

“We will keep the players who do not want to sell. Icardi will remain.
READ MORE  | De Boer and Inter need each other

“Mauro is young, can still learn and we will work very well together.”

Mancini’s future was a source of speculation throughout a fractious pre-season and De Boer revealed that he held exploratory talks with Inter’s owners two weeks ago.

“We spoke to Inter two weeks ago simply to understand whether there might be any common ground,” he explained.

“Everything happened quickly. I was honoured by their interest.”

Inter’s opening game of the Serie A season comes away at Chievo in 12 days’ time, meaning De Boer faces a race against time to get his players up to speed.

“It’s not an ideal situation but we have a very talented and experienced side,” the ex-Ajax coach added.

“We can use our ideas to be ready in a short space of time. We have a philosophy and the team needs to believe in that.

“I’m convinced that we’ll be ready and that we’ll get on the right track as quickly as possible.”

OFFICIAL: Inter confirm De Boer as head coach

The Dutch coach, who won four Eredivisie titles with Ajax, has signed a three-year contract with the Serie A side after Roberto Mancini’s departure

Frank de Boer has been appointed as the new head coach of Inter on a three-year deal, the club have announced.
Inter have acted swiftly to replace Roberto Mancini, who left his role at San Siro on Monday amid reports of a dispute with Suning Holdings Group, the club’s new owners.
De Boer quickly emerged as the favourite to take the reins and the former Ajax boss’s arrival has now been confirmed.
“F.C. Internazionale Milano confirms that Dutchman Frank de Boer will be unveiled as the club’s new head coach at a press conference today at 14:00CET at the Centro Sportivo Angelo Moratti,” a club statement confirmed.
“De Boer will join the Nerazzurri on a three-year contract and will take charge of first team training this afternoon.
“The Dutchman brings with him a wealth of international experience having played at the highest level for both club and country.”

Frank #deBoer is #Inter’s new Head Coach. Press unveiling at 14:00 CEST #WelcomeFrank #FCIM
— F.C. Internazionale (@Inter_en) August 9, 2016
READ MORE  | OFFICIAL: Vermaelen joins RomaMancini returned to San Siro in 2014, having led the club to three consecutive Serie A titles during his first stint in charge, but the former Manchester City boss is thought to have been at loggerheads with Inter’s hierarchy over the club’s transfer policy.
The 51-year-old has also overseen a poor pre-season, which culminated in a 6-1 rout at the hands of Tottenham on Friday, while they also suffered defeats to Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain.
De Boer is now tasked with stabilising and rebuilding the club following a short spell out of coaching, after his decision to step aside at Ajax at the end of last season.
Following a decorated playing career, De Boer’s first senior coaching role saw him assist Bert van Marwijk in Netherlands’ 2010 World Cup campaign, where they were beaten by Spain in the final.
A six-year spell in charge of Ajax – for whom he played over 300 games – followed and he steered them to four successive Eredivisie titles, a first in the club’s history.
Last season was a disappointing one for the Dutch giants, though, as they exited the Europa League in the group stages after a failing to qualify for the Champions League, while they were pipped to the domestic title by arch-rivals PSV on the final day of the campaign.
Everton were reportedly interested in De Boer before turning to Ronald Koeman.

Inter, who finished fourth last term, begin their season away to Chievo on August 21.