Mauro Icardi is not causing any issues for Inter coach Antonio Conte, who insists the unsettled striker's failure to secure a move away from San Siro has not hindered preparations for the new season.

Inter handed Icardi the number seven shirt for the 2019-20 campaign in a move that indicated he is expected to remain at the club, where he was stripped of the captaincy last term.

The 26-year-old was widely expected to leave in the close season and was linked with Juventus and Monaco.

However, with Icardi still at Inter and the arrival of Romelu Lukaku from Manchester United, it appears Conte will be left with a player deemed surplus to requirements.

Asked about the effect of Icardi's continued presence by the media, Conte said: "I have great respect for everyone, but I don't feel any disturbance.

"We are working hard, we know full well what approach has been taken with the player, but it is not causing any disturbance for me."

Inter open against Lecce at San Siro on Monday, with Conte making clear that the aim for his side is to close the gap on last season's top two, Juventus and Napoli.

The Nerazzurri finished fourth, 10 points behind second-placed Napoli, but Conte believes Lukaku's arrival can boost their chances of improving this term.

"Lukaku arrived full of enthusiasm," said Conte. "He is a very joyful guy to be around and the team immediately welcomed him into their hearts.

"He was on the margins of the Manchester United squad for a while, so is not at 100 per cent, but has immense potential and can improve in every area.

"I tried him out alongside Lautaro Martinez, Matteo Politano and Sebastiano Esposito, so I am pleased with the synergy that is forming between these players.

"I always said that I wanted to feel even a one per cent chance of competing for victory. We are building something important here and I can say that the chase is on.

"We aim to close the gap, which is pretty large, from the top two. I don't set limits, only time will tell what we are fighting for, but we've got to work even better than the rest if we want to achieve something extraordinary."

Neymar's future with Paris Saint-Germain remains up in the air.

The Brazil star has been linked to LaLiga champions Barcelona and Real Madrid as he eyes an exit from the French capital.

If he does leave, PSG have drawn up contingency plans, with one particular Premier League player attracting interest.

 

TOP STORY – PSG PLOTTING BIG ZAHA MOVE

Paris Saint-Germain are lining up a £100million (€109m) move for Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha as a replacement for Neymar, according to The Mirror.

Neymar wants to return to LaLiga, with former club Barcelona and Real Madrid reportedly vying for his signature before the transfer window shuts on September 2.

If Neymar does get his wish, former Manchester United forward Zaha has emerged as a potential signing, with PSG reportedly sending a team to London to try to strike a deal.

The Ivory Coast international was linked to Arsenal and Everton before the Premier League's transfer window closed.

 

ROUND-UP

Dinamo Zagreb goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic, 24, has been lined up as a potential replacement for Manchester United's David de Gea, according to The Sun. De Gea, whose last-gasp howler led to United's shock 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace on Saturday, is out of contract in 2020 and is yet to sign an extension.

- Also at Old Trafford and The Mirror says United are targeting Leicester City playmaker James Maddison. Having already prised Harry Maguire from the Foxes in a world-record deal for a defender, the Red Devils are reportedly ready to return for another Englishman.

- An agreement between Callum Hudson-Odoi and Chelsea over a new contract has been reached, reports Football London. Hudson-Odoi had previously been linked to Bayern Munich.

- According to The Express, Inter and Alexis Sanchez will discover whether a season-long loan deal will go through on Monday. Manchester United are willing to sanction Sanchez's exit.

Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic remains a coveted player for Inter, according to FCInternews, who say a transfer is complex but not impossible. The Serbia star is valued at €100m by Lazio, who could receive the likes of Matteo Politano and Joao Mario in return.

- Sport says Espanyol are keen on signing Real Madrid newcomer Rodrygo Goes on loan as a replacement for Borja Iglesias following his move to Real Betis. The 18-year-old Rodrygo only arrived from Santos in a €45m deal during the off-season.

Barcelona have a plan to land Neymar and the star forward's demands now appear to be known.

The Neymar saga is not yet over and it remains to be seen if the Brazil international will leave Paris Saint-Germain before the transfer window closes on September 2.

But Barcelona have a new plan to bring Neymar – who they sold to PSG for €222million two years ago – back to Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA HAVE NEYMAR PLAN AS STAR DEMANDS €35M PER SEASON

Barcelona have worked out a new formula to convince PSG to sell Neymar to them, according to Spanish newspaper Sport.

The LaLiga champions will offer cash and a player to the Ligue 1 giants this year and PSG can choose between either another player or more money in 2020, the report says.

Meanwhile, Neymar, 27, wants €35m net per season and a five-year deal, according to Spanish television show Jugones.

ROUND-UP

- Alexis Sanchez's possible move from Manchester United to Inter is developing slowly. The Serie A giants are confident of signing the attacker in the next few days amid talks about the division of Sanchez's wage, according to Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano.

- With Renato Sanches having left for Lille, Bayern Munich may be looking for a replacement. The Bundesliga champions remain interested in Espanyol midfielder Marc Roca, according to AS. However, Bayern want to pay €18m while the LaLiga side are hoping for Roca's release clause – €40m.

- Valencia are eyeing a move for Radamel Falcao after the Monaco striker ended talks with Galatasaray, reports AS. The Colombia international was heavily linked with a move to the Turkish giants, but Valencia may be looking for cover for Rodrigo, who could leave for Atletico Madrid.

- Also in Turkey, Rafinha is close to leaving Barcelona for Fenerbahce, according to O Jogo. Rafinha had been linked with a move to Valencia, but the 26-year-old could now be heading to Fenerbahce.

- Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting has had few chances since joining PSG in 2018, but the forward has no plans to leave, according to L'Equipe. Lecce had been linked with a move for the Cameroon international.

Alexis Sanchez is not certain to leave Manchester United even though there are ongoing transfer talks with interested clubs, according to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Chile forward Sanchez was not in the matchday squad for United's first two Premier League games of the season with Chelsea and Wolves, having not taken part in any pre-season fixtures following his efforts at the Copa America.

The 30-year-old has been heavily linked with Inter, who have already signed Romelu Lukaku from United in this transfer window and are said to be interested in a loan deal.

It is claimed Sanchez's wage demands are proving a problem for the Nerazzurri, though, with Italy's transfer deadline just 10 days away.

Solskjaer appears unsure of what will happen with Sanchez, but he was pleased with his efforts in a behind-closed-doors friendly match against Sheffield United this week and does not seem desperate to see the player go.

"There's still talks with some clubs, but he played in that game and played well," Solskjaer told a news conference on Friday. "So, as I've said, he's working hard and let's see in September what's going to happen."

Lukaku caused a stir this week when a podcast apparently recorded while he was still a United player was published, in which the striker accused United of effectively nudging him out of the club by failing to protect him from public criticism and transfer speculation.

Solskjaer refused to become embroiled in the matter, saying: "I'm not going to dive into that one. That interview was made before the summer, wasn't it? When he was a Man United player? So, I think I'd rather not."

United host Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Saturday after taking four points from their first two league matches of the season at home to Chelsea and away to Wolves.

Solskjaer has been encouraged by the fitness displayed in those performances, having been concerned by the way his players allowed their intensity to drop in matches towards the end of last season.

"The team spirt is great, we've got loads of energy and passion. You can see that with the way we went about the game with Wolverhampton," he said.

"I thought our pressing was excellent. We gave them five minutes in the second half and that was it, really, when they had the ball and pushed us back but, apart from that, the engine looks so much better.

"Everyone's fit and when you're physically fit it's easier to be mentally strong as well.

"[Palace] are a very organised team. They've got pace up front for counter-attacks, strong on set-pieces, so, of course, we know we have to do all parts of the game.

"We have to attack well, we have to win the ball back when we're losing it and we've got to be strong on set plays."

Solskjaer also confirmed that full-back Diogo Dalot is likely to be out of action until after the international break next month due to injury.

Will they, or won't they?

Barcelona are trying to re-sign wantaway Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar before the transfer window closes on September 2.

LaLiga rivals Real Madrid are also interested, so this is set to go down to the wire.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA RENEWING NEYMAR EFFORTS

According to Sport, Barcelona are preparing a fresh offer to prise Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain.

Barcelona have already reportedly had an initial loan deal turned down by PSG, who are determined to recoup the world-record €222million fee they spent on Neymar in 2017.

Real Madrid, however, are still said to be determined to trump Barca to the signing of the Brazilian forward.

 

ROUND-UP

- Should Neymar be granted his wish to leave PSG, the Ligue 1 holders are reportedly considering a move for Juventus forward Paulo Dybala. That is according to Tuttosport, after Dybala had been linked to Manchester United and Tottenham prior to the Premier League's transfer window closing.

- Marca also reports goalkeeper Keylor Navas is close to leaving Real Madrid for PSG. Navas wants out after reportedly being told he will be Thibaut Courtois' understudy this season.

Manchester United will not make an offer for Fernando Llorente, according to the Daily Mail. Llorente is a free agent after leaving Tottenham and reports in Italy linked the Spaniard to Old Trafford following Romelu Lukaku's move to Inter. However, the Red Devils are reportedly not interested in the veteran.

Inter are close to signing full-back Cristiano Biraghi from Serie A rivals Fiorentina, reports Calciomercato. Biraghi was part of Inter's youth academy before moving on to the likes of Cittadella, Pescara and Fiorentina. Inter are said to be looking to include Dalbert in a swap deal for the Italy international.

Inter and United are continuing talks over Alexis Sanchez, claim Sky Sport Italia and Sportitalia. More discussions are reportedly planned, with United wanting Inter to cover more of the Chilean's salary during the proposed loan spell.

- According to The Telegraph, Leicester City midfielder Adrien Silva is poised to return to Monaco on loan. The Portugal international spent the second half of the 2018-19 season on loan at the Ligue 1 side. It comes after Sky Sport Italia reports AC Milan and Franck Kessie rejected Monaco's proposal for the midfielder.

Roma are weighing up a move for Atletico Madrid striker Nikola Kalinic, says Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio. After re-signing Edin Dzeko, Roma are reportedly considering Atletico fringe figure Kalinic if Patrik Schick and Gregoire Defrel leave.

Maurizio Sarri's start to life as Juventus boss was hardly going swimmingly before he was left tackling a bout of pneumonia this week.

After a frankly disorientating year at Chelsea, which amounted to speculation over his future and criticism of his fabled playing style being stitched together by the momentary distraction of bi-weekly football matches, Sarri won the Europa League, finished third in the Premier League and landed the Juve job. It felt like the football equivalent of getting out of jail and building a house on Park Lane in the same Monopoly move.

Board room and dressing room at Stamford Bridge never felt in harmony, but it no longer mattered. The former Napoli boss would now helm the slick and formidable football empire he came closer than many to toppling.

Or so he might have thought. Cutting into a reporter's question after Juve lost 2-1 to Atletico Madrid in the International Champions Cup, Sarri launched something approaching a tirade on Paulo Dybala's mooted exit and the need to trim Juve's Champions League squad. He called their transfer policy "embarrassing".

Some moves this close season – namely the capture of quality free agents in the form of Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot – are identifiable from the old Juventus playbook. But part-exchange deals that lessen the quality of the squad and generally appearing reactive rather than proactive should be a cause for concern.

Out with the new, in with the old

Moise Kean is one of the most exciting striking talents in Europe but was allowed to move to Everton. Centre-forward cover now comes from Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Mandzukic – one back after two shocking loan spells and another 14 years older than Kean and apparently being hawked around Europe himself.

A chunk of cash accompanied Danilo from Manchester City for a reason, as the inconsistent but lavishly gifted (and, once again, younger) Joao Cancelo moved in the other direction. A swap deal featuring Dybala and Romelu Lukaku, now shipped from Manchester United to Inter, would have been far stranger.

Indeed, Dybala only remains a Juve player for now due to the tangled web of his image rights arrangements. Leonardo Spinazzola joining Roma to bring Luca Pellegrini the other way, only to loan the latter back to Cagliari, also suggested muddled thinking.

The steady improvement throughout Massimiliano Allegri's tenure brought two Champions League final defeats. In between losing to Barcelona and Real Madrid in 2015 and 2017, Paul Pogba, Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Alvaro Morata were among the players to leave, yet Juventus improved on account of shrewd coaching and a transfer policy that was a step ahead.

Then, last year, the Turin giants bet the farm on Cristiano Ronaldo. The Champions League did not follow and Allegri left.

Matthijs de Ligt is one of the most eye-catching signings of the window but Juve hardly needed centre-backs and now appear to be scrabbling to recoup the cash. Like Sarri, there are understandable doubts over whether sporting director Fabio Paratici is cut out for a leading role at the Allianz Stadium.

Paratici's influence increased after Beppe Marotta's departure last year. Marotta is now leading operations at Inter for the man who launched this Juventus dynasty.

Conte's Inter ready for lift-off

"I never set limits – I don't want to create excuses," Antonio Conte said at his first news conference as Inter boss, his new club having come fourth - 21 points shy of Juve - last time around

The former Italy coach is something of a specialist in these situations. The year before he began Juventus' title streak in 2011-12, they finished seventh. At Chelsea, he took them from 10th to Premier League glory in a season.

Some of Conte's subsequent discontent in west London related to a failure to sign Lukaku. Now he has his man – the "point of reference" centre-forward crucial to all his best sides.

Manchester United fans will undoubtedly guffaw at the prospect of Alexis Sanchez joining a fellow Old Trafford flop at San Siro, but harnessing two players with a point to prove to Jose Mourinho in a bid to topple Sarri – the man who took his previous job – feels deliciously up Conte's street.

Valentino Lazaro, Matteo Politano, Nicolo Barella and Stefano Sensi look like shrewd buys alongside the formidable Diego Godin and Inter can be expected to hit the ground running when they host Lecce on Monday.

Napoli have finished as runners-up in the past two seasons and Hirving Lozano would be an exciting acquisition in attack, while there is unlikely to be a centre-back pairing anywhere as formidable as Kalidou Koulibaly and Kostas Manolas.

Carlo Ancelotti's men should certainly not be discounted, but the winds of change ahead of an intriguing Serie A season appear to be blowing in Inter and Conte's direction.

It's been all change in Serie A ahead of the 2019-20 season, with five of last season's top six changing their head coach.

As such, an action-packed close season in the transfer market followed.

Champions Juventus have done big business, but could any of the chasing pack - including Antonio Conte's Inter - catch them after a busy window?

Although Italian clubs can buy until September 2, we take a look at five of the best signings in Serie A before the action gets underway.

 

5. Aaron Ramsey (Juventus)

Juventus are the masters of the free transfer and nothing changed this year, with two huge midfield signings arriving without a fee. Adrien Rabiot is a massive talent who will improve Maurizio Sarri's options, but Ramsey may well prove the real star.

In an Arsenal team where big wages and large fees were spent on the likes of Mesut Ozil, Ramsey was perhaps their most consistent performer, playing a key role in their FA Cup successes.

The Gunners will likely rue the expiration of Ramsey's contract and the Welshman already looks like he will settle quickly in Turin, after giving an introductory statement to the media in Italian.

4. Radja Nainggolan (Cagliari)

Nainggolan was one of Europe's dominant midfielders just a couple of years ago, so it seems incredible that he is on loan at Cagliari at the age of 31.

But after falling out of favour with Belgium coach Roberto Martinez, Nainggolan had a stop-start first season at Inter - although his form picked up towards the end of the campaign - and Conte has seemingly decided he does not need the former Roma man.

All of this works out wonderfully for Cagliari, though, who had Nainggolan for four years earlier in his career and will welcome him back with open arms. His midfield alliance with Nahitan Nandez, an exciting acquisition from Boca Juniors, will be a must watch.

3. Diego Godin (Inter)

Godin has perhaps been Europe's best centre-back in recent seasons and so, even at 33, his expiring Atletico Madrid contract would have made him a target for many top sides.

But this move to Inter was long mooted and he should form a formidable three-man defence alongside Stefan de Vrij and Milan Skriniar.

If Conte's reign at the Nerazzurri is to be a success, they will need to deliver at both ends of the field. It is on Romelu Lukaku's shoulders to provide the goals, while Godin will surely perform at the back, even if he endured a rocky campaign last time out.

2. Kostas Manolas (Napoli)

This list might be dominated by centre-backs and Serie A, to many the home of defending, will see some of the very best in action again next season. Manolas is certainly among them.

The Greece international might be best remembered for his Champions League goalscoring exploits at Roma, but he was a consistent star in defence over five seasons in the capital.

Quick and strong enough to mix it with Serie A's very best attackers, Manolas will leave a big hole in the Roma back line and instantly find a home at Napoli alongside Kalidou Koulibaly.

1. Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus)

It is an obvious answer, but every club on the planet would have loved to have brought in former Ajax captain De Ligt.

He was inspirational both on and off the pitch for the Dutch giants last season, as well as starring for Netherlands. Brilliant at the back and a threat in attack, De Ligt is still just 20, too, and will only get better.

That he cost a relatively reasonable €75million, considering the reported £80million spent on Harry Maguire, is merely a bonus. Juve should be set for years to come.

The wait for the new Serie A season is almost over and, remarkably, five of last season's top six will be entering the 2019-20 campaign with new faces at the helm.

Champions Juventus surprisingly parted company with Massimiliano Allegri and replaced him with Maurizio Sarri despite winning the title yet again, although runners-up Napoli have stuck with Carlo Ancelotti.

Inter and AC Milan both appointed new head coaches, with Antonio Conte and Marco Giampaolo taking charge respectively, while Paulo Fonseca is the new man in the Roma dugout.

We look at how the four new men have fared previously in Serie A to see how things might pan out with their new clubs.

 

Maurizio Sarri (Juventus)

Perhaps the most daunting task awaits Sarri next season, as he attempts to follow in the footsteps of Allegri, who won five consecutive Scudetti.

Indeed, the last campaign in which the Bianconeri did not win the title was 2010-11, and if Sarri cannot sustain their dominance his spell in Turin could be short-lived.

Sarri joins with an outstanding Serie A record behind him, however. He enjoyed a superb three-year spell with Napoli before his departure at the end of the 2017-18 season, winning 69 per cent of his 114 league games in charge.

Juve fans will be excited to see if he can successfully instil his free-flowing football at the Allianz Stadium – Napoli's 251 goals during his tenure was 13 more than any other side.

He does, though, start the season in poor health after being diagnosed with pneumonia.

Antonio Conte (Inter)

Luciano Spalletti secured a second successive top-four finish last season, meaning Conte will juggle Campions League commitments alongside his bid to dethrone Juve as the dominant side in Serie A.

That is unlikely to phase a man who has won each of the three Serie A campaigns he has started when in charge of the Bianconeri.

Conte – who will have Romelu Lukaku leading the line following his arrival from Manchester United – ended his first league campaign with Juve unbeaten and did not taste defeat until his 49th league match.

What Inter fans would give to see a repeat performance this season.

Marco Giampaolo (AC Milan)

Giampaolo, 52, joined Milan after leaving fellow Serie A side Sampdoria, who he guided to ninth in the last of his three seasons in charge.

Having spent time in charge of Cagliari, Brescia and Empoli among others, Giampaolo is expected to bring stability to San Siro after churning through six full-time head coaches since Allegri's departure in 2014.

Giampaolo's task will be, on the face of it, a simple one – gain qualification for the Champions League. Gennaro Gattuso's failure to do just that ultimately cost the Milan icon his job at San Siro.

It is something that the new man has yet to achieve in his managerial career, but his attacking brand of football will certainly please the club's supporters.

Only four clubs in Serie A last season scored more goals than Sampdoria, while they boasted the best shot conversion rate in the division, scoring with 12.3 per cent of their efforts.

Paulo Fonseca (Roma)

Roma narrowly missed out on a place in next season's Champions League, leaving new coach Fonseca in charge of a club in need of a morale-boosting return to Serie A's top four.

The Giallorossi will still be expected to progress in the Europa League and Fonseca arrives in Rome with a strong track record in continental competition, having guided Shakhtar Donetsk to the last 16 of the Champions League in 2017-18.

He enjoyed a superb three years in Ukraine, winning three league titles, three domestic cups and the Ukrainian Super Cup.

He left Shakhtar with a 78 per cent win ratio in the league and guided them to a whopping 23 clean sheets from their 32 games.

Edin Dzeko revealed he was offered Roma's captaincy by team-mate Alessandro Florenzi in an effort to convince him to stay amid interest from Inter.

Dzeko was heavily tipped to join Inter, however, the Roma striker signed a three-year contract to remain with the Italian capital club until 2022.

The 33-year-old Bosnia-Herzegovina captain arrived from Manchester City in 2015 and he has since scored more than 80 goals for Roma in all competitions.

Discussing his contract extension, Dzeko told Roma TV: "They went to great lengths to keep me here. I want to thank them and now I need to give my all on the pitch, as always.

"It's really nice to see that other people are happy that I've stayed here. My team-mates aren't just team-mates: we're friends, brothers…

"They were always on my back: 'You're not going anywhere – you're staying here!' I have a great relationship with them all.

"[Lorenzo] Pellegrini and Florenzi were on at me every day: 'You'll stay here – you're not going anywhere'. Florenzi would say: 'If you sign, I'll give you the captaincy!'

"When I did sign, he said: 'It's yours!' But I said: 'Ale, you're our captain and we're all behind you'."

After reaching the Champions League semi-finals in 2017-18, Roma were unable to reach those lofty heights again, eliminated in the round of 16, while they finished sixth in Serie A.

Dzeko scored nine league goals and 14 across all competitions to lead the way for Roma.

"I said that Rome was my home after I signed the new deal – but it's not the first time I've said that," he said.

"I've always said it and I really do feel that way. My family feels that way too, especially my wife and also my kids, who were born here in Rome. We were on holiday recently and my daughter Una kept saying: 'Let's go home to Rome!'"

"We spoke at the end of last season and they told me they wanted me here and that I was part of the project for the future of Roma," Dzeko added. "During pre-season over the last two months, they made me feel important.

"In the end we were able to achieve what we all wanted. I'm here and I've signed for another three years because I want to stay here and because I'm happy."

Romelu Lukaku has hit out at Manchester United for not doing enough to protect him in the media and claims he, Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez were continually made scapegoats.

Belgium international Lukaku joined Inter before the close of the Premier League transfer window for a reported fee of €75million, just two years on from his move to Old Trafford from Everton.

The 26-year-old was criticised at times for his all-round play at the head of the attack under former boss Jose Mourinho and he was supplanted as first-choice striker by Marcus Rashford after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took charge.

Lukaku feels there was an unjust focus on his performances as well as those of Pogba and Sanchez, who has been tipped to join him at Inter.

"They have to find somebody," Lukaku told the LightHarted Podcast, apparently recorded prior to his Inter move. "It is Pogba, it is me or it is Alexis. It's the three of us all the time.

"They have got to find somebody to blame. I put my hand up, like, this year I don't think I was the only one playing bad. A lot of people were playing bad but they had to find the culprit.

"If they want to put the blame on me, you know what, f*** it, do what you gotta do.

"I think the team has so much potential to do some great stuff. There is a lot of talent. But it is not only talent; you really have to build a team."

Lukaku also took issue with suggestions he did not suit Solskjaer's intended style of play.

"A lot of people don't think I should be part of that system," he said. "That's my feeling from the conversations that I have. I just know.

"For me, the thing that makes me laugh a lot is: how the hell is s*** going bad in my team, but when I play in my national team, it's good? And I'm happy.

"I didn't play the last six weeks of the league, like the last three weeks or something before the end of the season and then I had another three weeks off before I had to play for the national team, and then we go and play with the Belgium team.

"And nobody there complains because I think the perception in my country is changing slightly. A lot of people were saying a lot of stuff. For me, it took years for a lot of people to change their perception. Man U might not get that time. It's s*** that it happens like that.

"When I go and play for my country, we play the style of play that we want to play probably with Man United and I do well over there. So is it me? Four goals in the World Cup, three weeks ago I scored three goals in two games, and before that we played Switzerland and Iceland in September and I scored four goals in two games. I've scored 48 goals for my country.

"We all know that international soccer is different than club football but the playing style we play in the national team is the one we want to play at Man United. So is it me? Or do we need to have a conversation from man to man and tell each other the rules?"

Lukaku added that he felt United did not do enough to defend him when rumours emerged towards the end of last season that he would not be staying at the club.

"I think a lot of stuff has been said where I didn't feel protected," he added. "A lot of rumours, 'Rom is going to go there, they don't want Rom' and nobody came out and shot it down.

"It was for a good three, four weeks. I'm waiting for someone to come out and shut it down. It didn't happen. I had my conversation, told them it was better to go our separate ways. I just wanted you to say, 'Rom is going to fight for his place', but it never happened for four, five months.

"It was all, 'He's got to go, he doesn't deserve to be there'. Well, okay, then I want to go now. There is fighting for your position, but also being somewhere that people want you to be.

"If you're happy, you find a way, it doesn't matter if you're on the bench or starting. But nobody told me that was the situation, so I thought for two, three weeks to analyse, see all this s*** coming out in the media. Who leaks it? Not me. Not my agent. I see it on my phone come out of nowhere.

"I told them, 'It’s not good for me to be at a place where I'm not wanted'."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed there is interest in Manchester United forward Alexis Sanchez, who is strongly linked with joining Serie A side Inter.

Sanchez has endured a miserable time at United since he joined from Arsenal in January 2018 in a deal that saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan move to the Gunners.

He has scored four goals in 32 Premier League appearances for the Red Devils, with his spell at Old Trafford heavily affected by various injuries.

Inter are reportedly keen to sign Sanchez on loan, which would allow the Chile international to reunite with his former United team-mate Romelu Lukaku.

While Solskjaer was unwilling to give firm details about the status of a potential move for Sanchez, he accepted the 30-year-old may depart before the European transfer deadline on September 2.

"There's still a couple weeks left of the transfer window," Solskjaer said after Monday's 1-1 league draw away to Wolves.

"There is a chance [he could leave]. Some clubs have shown interest in Alexis and we'll see what happens. 

"We can't update you more than that."

While Sanchez's time at Old Trafford looks to be coming to an end, fellow forward Anthony Martial has started the 2019-20 season in fine form.

The France international hit the opening goal of the game at Molineux to reach 50 in all competitions for United and Solskjaer hailed his impact.

"He's scored two in two now and he'll only improve," Solskjaer said of Martial. "The relationship between him and Marcus [Rashford], Jesse [Lingard] and the other forwards will only improve.

"The more we get him into positions to score, the more he will. He's more between the posts so I'm happy with that.

"It was a wonderful goal."

United were denied the three points that would have taken them top as Rui Patricio saved Paul Pogba's second-half penalty after Ruben Neves had cancelled out Martial's effort.

Mauro Icardi will not be joining Monaco, the Inter striker's wife and agent Wanda Nara has insisted.

Argentina international Icardi has been linked with a switch to the Ligue 1 side after being told he can leave San Siro.

The Inter captaincy was taken off the player last term and he appears to have no future at the club under coach Antonio Conte.

Nara, however, has ruled out a Monaco move before the French and Italian transfer windows close on September 2.

"He will not go to Monaco," Nara said simply to TyC Sports.

Monaco are reportedly seeking a successor to Radamel Falcao, who has been linked with Galatasaray.

Free agent Daniel Sturridge, who left Liverpool at the end of his contract, is reportedly a target for Leonardo Jardim's side.

Real Madrid lead the race to sign Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar, while Barcelona are optimistic.

Neymar, 27, is set to leave Ligue 1 champions PSG before the transfer window closes on September 2, with either Barca or Madrid his likely destination.

It remains to be seen just where the Brazil forward ends up, but Madrid have apparently moved ahead of their rivals in the race.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID LEAD BARCELONA IN RACE FOR NEYMAR

Contacts intensified between the parties involved in getting Neymar from PSG to Real Madrid, according to AS.

However, the cover of Sport says Barcelona are "optimistic" about signing the star they sold to PSG for €222million two years ago.

They also report that PSG are making constant calls to the LaLiga champions as they try to find an agreement.

 

ROUND-UP

- Napoli appear to be growing tired of waiting for Mauro Icardi, who is unwanted at Inter. According to Corriere dello Sport, Napoli want an answer from the forward regarding a potential switch by Saturday.

- One more time? Real Madrid are set to make a final push to sign Paul Pogba from Manchester United, according to The Times, who say the Premier League club are expected to reject any offers for the France international.

- A player set for an exit from Old Trafford is Alexis Sanchez and more details are emerging about his move from Manchester United to Inter. Fabrizio Romano reports Inter are in talks with United to sign Sanchez on a season-long loan with an option to buy for €15m (£13.7m), with United to pay part of the Chilean's wages.

- Could Emre Can leave Juventus after just one season in Turin? Bayern Munich and PSG are interested in the former Liverpool star, according to Tuttosport, with the Serie A champions set to let a midfielder leave after the arrivals of Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot. PSG are also set to meet with Paulo Dybala's representatives on Tuesday, reports in Italy say.

- Amid fresh rumours PSG are chasing Gianluigi Donnarumma, the goalkeeper has reiterated his desire to stay at AC Milan, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Daniel Sturridge could be close to making a decision on his future. The Daily Express report the former Liverpool forward is in talks with Turkish side Trabzonspor, while Ligue 1 outfit Monaco could also make Sturridge an offer if Radamel Falcao departs.

First Romelu Lukaku. Now Alexis Sanchez?

Lukaku left Manchester United for Inter and former team-mate Sanchez could join the powerhouse Belgian in Milan.

Antonio Conte's Inter are set to be active before the transfer window closes.

 

TOP STORY – SANCHEZ SET FOR INTER

Manchester United forward Alexis Sanchez has agreed terms with Inter, according to Sky Italia.

Sanchez has endured a nightmare spell since joining United from Premier League rivals Arsenal in 2018, managing just five goals in all competitions.

While United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has publicly declared Sanchez will play a significant role this season, the Chilean is reportedly poised to join former Red Devils striker Romelu Lukaku at Inter.

 

ROUND-UP 

- Real Madrid will make a late €65million (£60m) bid to sign Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen, The Sun reports. The Danish star has been linked to Atletico Madrid and Juventus, while Madrid have been talking to Ajax about Donny van de Beek as they struggle to prise Paul Pogba from Manchester United.

- Le Parisien says Neymar remains convinced he will leave Paris Saint-Germain before the transfer window shuts. It comes as Sport claims Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has taken command to re-sign the Brazilian, who left for a world-record fee in 2017.

- According to the Mirror, Manchester United are ready to pay defender Marcos Rojo to leave Old Trafford. With two years remaining on his contract, Rojo was linked with a deadline-day move to Everton. The Argentina international is now reportedly pushing for a loan switch to Turkish giants Fenerbahce.

Bayern Munich want to re-sign Mario Mandzukic from Juventus, claims Bild. Mandzukic spent two years at Bayern, where he won back-to-back Bundesliga titles and the Champions League.

- It comes as Soccerlink reports Serie A champions Juve have turned to Lyon forward Moussa Dembele, with Inter outcast Mauro Icardi proving difficult to sign.

Napoli are preparing to relaunch a €60m bid to sign Icardi, according to Corriere dello Sport. Juventus are willing to offer Paulo Dybala in a swap deal but Inter are reluctant to deal with the Bianconeri. Napoli are also reportedly set to complete the signing of PSV's Hirving Lozano, who will undergo a medical on Wednesday.

AC Milan have asked Tottenham for full-back Serge Aurier on loan with an option to buy, claims Soccerlink.

Roma have announced Edin Dzeko has signed a new three-year contract.

Dzeko was reportedly a target for Inter before they sealed a deal for Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku.

The 33-year-old has now committed his future to the Giallorossi by agreeing new terms on Friday.

"Over the last few weeks I have realised just how much the club wanted me to stay," Dzeko told Roma's official website.

"My conversations with the board, the work we've been doing with the coach [Paulo Fonseca], the relationship with my team-mates and the love of the fans has all made me realise once again what I had already learned during these four years – that Rome is my home.

"Here there is everything we need to win something and I am delighted to be able to stay here even longer."

The former Manchester City and Wolfsburg striker was Serie A's top goalscorer during the 2016-17 season but only hit nine goals in 33 appearances last term.

Earlier on Friday, Roma confirmed they have signed Turkish defender Yildrim Mert Cetin on a permanent transfer.

The 22-year-old arrives on a five-year deal from Genclerbirligi for a fee of €3million and will wear the number 15.

"I know the size of the club I am going to be representing," he told Roma's website. 

"I'm very happy to be here, it's a feeling I can't really describe in words.

"I am confident I will be able to live up to the hopes of the club and the fans."

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