Rumour Has It: Inter eye Arsenal's Aubameyang as replacement for Barca target Martinez, Chelsea want Oblak

By Sports Desk February 26, 2020

The future of Lautaro Martinez could also have an impact on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Martinez is wanted by Barcelona and Real Madrid, while Aubameyang is reportedly eyeing an Arsenal exit.

Both players could be at different clubs in 2020-21.

 

TOP STORY – MARTINEZ OUT, AUBA IN?

Inter will look to replace Barcelona target Martinez with Arsenal star Aubameyang, according to Calciomercato.

Martinez has been heavily linked to LaLiga champions Barca as well as Real Madrid, Manchester United and Manchester City following his exploits for Inter.

The Daily Mail claims Arsenal are considering selling forward Aubameyang, who is out of contract in 2021, and he could be targeted by Inter should Martinez leave San Siro.

ROUND-UP

- Kepa Arrizabalaga is Chelsea's record signing but his future at Stamford Bridge is in doubt. El Chiringuito TV reports Chelsea have offered out-of-favour goalkeeper Kepa plus €30million (£25m) to Atletico Madrid for Jan Oblak.

Madrid are ready to offer €70m to Napoli for star midfielder Fabian Ruiz, claims Calciomercato. City and Barca are also reportedly looking to sign the Spaniard.

- Manchester Evening News writes that United have stepped up their interest in Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish. It comes as the Daily Express claims United are likely to offload Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira.

- Calciomercato says Inter are ready to battle Europe's elite for the signing of Gent star Jonathan David. The Canada international is wanted by the likes of United, Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal, Tottenham and Ajax.

Juventus hold an interest in Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar, according to Calciomercato. Aouar is an option for Juve should the Serie A champions fail in their efforts to sign either United midfielder Paul Pogba or Brescia's Sandro Tonali.

Related items

  • Lampard praises 'fantastic' Pulisic after Chelsea star scores again Lampard praises 'fantastic' Pulisic after Chelsea star scores again

    Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard hailed in-form Christian Pulisic after the Blues star scored again in Tuesday's five-goal Premier League thriller against Crystal Palace.

    Pulisic scored his eighth league goal of the season from just 16 starts and third since the season restart following the coronavirus-enforced break as Chelsea edged Palace 3-2 at Selhurst Park.

    After Olivier Giroud's sixth-minute opener, Pulisic doubled the lead approaching the half-hour mark before Palace star Wilfried Zaha reduced the deficit heading into the interval.

    But Tammy Abraham's 71st-minute strike ensured Chelsea climbed above Leicester City into third position, despite Christian Benteke's goal.

    Lampard was full of praise for United States international attacker Pulisic – who arrived from Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund at the start of the season – afterwards amid comparisons to former Blues star Eden Hazard.

    "I didn't put any limits on [Christian Pulisic]. I knew the talent he had and I wanted to help him when he first got here because this is a physical league, I think the best league because of the physical nature of it," Lampard told reporters.

    "He came in and he'd had no break, so we had to be careful. I tried to manage the beginning and he came in and played great for us.

    "Unfortunately he had an injury, quite a bad injury. But the hunger he has, the quality that he's showing and the end product, which is the main thing for me.

    "Top players in the world in his area, attacking players, do score goals. They win games, they make a difference, they assist. And in the restart he's been fantastic."

    Jorginho was once again on the bench for Chelsea, with Lampard preferring Billy Gilmour in the absence of injured midfielder N'Golo Kante.

    Italy international Jorginho, who has been previously linked with Juventus, had not made an appearance since the 2019-20 campaign resumed until replacing Gilmour in the 80th minute on Tuesday.

    On the fringes at Stamford Bridge, Lampard said of Gilmour's selection ahead of Jorginho: "I thought Billy did pretty well. I wasn’t overly delighted with our midfield today. I think considering how they have played in recent games and how slickly we have moved the ball in recent games and rotation, I thought we held onto it a bit long today.

    "The reason I played Billy is a choice. The two games Billy played before lockdown against Liverpool, probably the best team in the world, and Everton were fantastic."

  • Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic still box office as San Siro produces Hollywood twist Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic still box office as San Siro produces Hollywood twist

    The touching pre-match tribute to Ennio Morricone, the great Italian film composer who died, aged 91, on Monday, fitted nicely for what was about to unfold at San Siro.

    Possibly for the last time in their decorated careers, Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic – two of the most destructive gunslingers in modern European football – were ready to do battle as Milan and Juventus lined up.

    More so than perhaps any other players of their generation, Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic's on-field deeds have frequently carried cinematic qualities. From the rippling physiques and inimitable preening, to their seamless combination of brute force and artistry, both men scream Hollywood.

    Characters who polarise the audience were always the best pegs for Morricone's irresistibly lush arrangements and Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic are good, bad and ugly to many all at the same time. If Lionel Messi's lack of overt edge leaves you cold, these two have always been your guys. Your antiheroes.

    While Ronaldo and Messi existed unrelentingly in one another's orbit for the best part of a decade, the fleeting and often explosive addition of Ibrahimovic to the equation has usually left fans wanting more.

    It is churlish to bemoan the lack of spectators given the ongoing gravity of the global situation but some occasions miss a live audience more than others. This potentially final installment of a flashpoint rivalry was one of those.

    Although this match eventually made a case of its own, they were never likely to top the stupendous 2013 World Cup qualification play-off, where the pair scored all the goals over two legs that concluded with Portugal eliminating Sweden on away goals. Morricone could have gone to town on that one. Drama, tension, plot-twists, elation, despair. It had everything.

    Almost seven years on, each player is past the peak they revelled in back then, even if Ronaldo's absurd goal scoring numbers make a compelling counter-argument.

    The passage of time necessitates refinement. Today they are wily, all-knowing stars in complete control and happy to exist on the margins, rather than all-action leading men – more Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino than his Man With No Name pomp.

    This was their lot during a brooding first half. Ronaldo cut inside from the left win to thump a trademark dipping drive just beyond the far post. He was more frequently seen remonstrating with the officials, most notably when Ibrahimovic's penchant for martial arts was on display and his boot grazed the five-time Ballon d'Or winner's ear as he attacked a right-win set piece.

    Ibrahimovic twice brought routine saves from Wojciech Szczesny before breaking clear in stoppage time. 1-0? No, cut! Offside, and the deadlock remained.

    Tearing the length of the field to score goal-of-the-season contenders might no longer be Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic's game, but Adrien Rabiot happily made that his business in the 47th minute.

    The former Paris Saint-Germain midfielder barged Franck Kessie out of the way and nutmegged Theo Hernandez to cross the halfway line on the right wing. Rabiot then opened his elegant stride to breeze beyond Alessio Romagnoli and brought things to a thrilling crescendo. As Milan's defence scattered he unfurled a majestic left-footed strike into the top-right corner.

    A befuddled Rossoneri were struggling to regain composure – none too effectively in the case of Andrea Conti and Simon Kjaer, who got in each other's way defending Juan Cuadrado's raking ball.

    And there he was. Ronaldo, finger on the trigger. Goal 26 of the Serie A campaign was a formality and Juve were going 10 points clear of a faltering Lazio.

    Only, one man had other ideas. It was time for an audacious third-act twist almost too implausible for any composition.

    The VAR playback of the 62nd-minute scene did no favours for Leonardo Bonucci. Handball. Penalty. Of course Ibrahimovic stepped up. Of course he scored.

    There he was again four minutes later, that strapping back onto which you could probably project movies facing the Juventus goal. Ibrahimovic's penalty box presence was as booming as his lay-off was deft. Kessie was on hand for a redemptive finish, his earlier humiliation at the hands of Rabiot forgotten.

    Ibrahimovic then left the chaos, his part played perfectly. But Milan were not done as Ronaldo's compatriot Rafael Leao ensured 0-2 had become 3-2 in the space of five berserk minutes.

    If he'd been tasked with soundtracking this undulating drama, Morricone might have been tearing up his score at this point. At the very least, the keen Roma fan would have been disgruntled at the unlikely lifeline handed to Lazio's ailing Scudetto bid.

    A roof-falling-in error from Alex Sandro allowed Ante Rebic to complete a 4-2 triumph. Six goals, the perfect number.

    At full-time, Ibrahimovic strode around, a picture of satisfaction. Topless, of course. Just as Ronaldo, beaten and wounded, would have done had roles been reversed.

    Perhaps the veteran Swede will survive the behind-the-scenes ructions at Milan to return next season. Is another sequel with the intoxicating sound and colour of the tifosi as opposed to the eerie emptiness of now too much to ask?

  • Sarri bemoans 'total blackout' as Juve collapse against Milan Sarri bemoans 'total blackout' as Juve collapse against Milan

    Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri lamented his team's "total blackout" after the Serie A leaders capitulated in their shock 4-2 defeat to rivals Milan.

    Juve appeared on track for a routine win at San Siro, where two goals in the space of six minutes from Adrien Rabiot and Cristiano Ronaldo gave the defending champions a 2-0 lead through 53 minutes.

    However, Milan turned Tuesday's match on its head, scoring three goals in five minutes to take a 3-2 lead before Ante Rebic sealed the incredible comeback with 10 minutes remaining.

    "I think our first 60 minutes were world class. We were in total control and had this blackout," Sarri told DAZN as he discussed Juve's collapse.

    "There's not even much use thinking too much about it, because we have another game in three days.

    "We had a total blackout for 15 minutes. It has happened to other teams in this period. We have to take the positives from the game, which are that we were in total control for an hour.

    "It's usually not even possible to find the reasons for these inexplicable blackouts."

    Sarri, who was without suspended pair Paulo Dybala and Matthijs de Ligt, added: "We had some bad performances and quite rightly lost them, but this is not the case now. We played well this evening.

    "I've seen many other teams have similar blackouts lately, because it's an unusual situation to be playing and training in these temperatures, with so many games close together.

    "Sitting here trying to over-analyse it or put ourselves on trial could be counter-productive and make us lose all the good work we’ve done so far.

    "It's completely different to the defeats against Verona and Napoli, so we have to focus on the next match. This is a team that has excellent football in its capabilities and that is what we need to build on."

    Despite the loss – which saw Juve concede four goals to Milan for the first time since 1989 – the Scudetto holders remain seven points clear atop the table with seven matches left to play.

    Challengers Lazio failed to make any inroads following their surprise 2-1 loss to lowly Lecce earlier on Tuesday.

    Asked if Lazio's result had made Juve complacent, Sarri replied: "I don't think it made a difference, otherwise the initial approach would've been poor.

    "Instead, we were focused for most of the match. I don't even think we relaxed after going 2-0 up, it was the penalty that sparked the blackout."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.