Real Madrid are planning to make a splash in the transfer market.

Reports claim three of Europe's finest – Kylian Mbappe, Kai Havertz and Eduardo Camavinga – are waiting to make the move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Could it happen?

 

TOP STORY – TRIO WAITING ON LOS BLANCOS

Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, Bayer Leverkusen's Kai Havertz and Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga are holding off contract talks as they wait for Real Madrid, according to the frontpage of Wednesday's edition of Marca.

Mbappe is highly coveted by Zinedine Zidane and Madrid, Havertz has been linked to Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, while Camavinga is reportedly a Madrid target.

However, the trio may have to wait beyond this year to make the move to the Spanish capital, though Sport Bild claims Havertz has asked to leave Leverkusen before 2020-21.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport reports Barcelona still want to sign Inter star Lautaro Martinez, despite his release clause expiring.

Borussia Dortmund have issued an ultimatum to United. Sport Bild claims United have been told if they want to bid for Jadon Sancho, the deal must be done by August 10. Sancho has been heavily tipped to move to Old Trafford.

Arsenal want to sign Lyon's Moussa Dembele if they lose Alexandre Lacazette or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, reports Foot Mercato. Lacazette has been linked to Atletico Madrid and Inter, while Barca, PSG and other clubs are reportedly interested in Aubameyang.

Inter are not David Alaba's first choice should he leave Bayern, says Sport Bild. Alaba has been linked to Madrid, Barca, PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City.

Sevilla are leading Juventus and Inter in the pursuit of Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin, says the Express.

- According to the Express, Tottenham are confident of signing Kurt Zouma from London rivals Chelsea at the end of the season.

- Could Inter be about to hijack Napoli's bid for Lille forward Victor Osimhen? The Nigeria international has been tipped to join Napoli in a €80million deal, however, Le10Sport says Inter are making a last-ditch attempt to sign Osimhen.

- Chelsea full-back Emerson Palmieri has handed in a transfer request as he looks to reunite with Antonio Conte at Inter, reports Gazzetta journalist Nicolo Schira.

Milan are trying to hijack Inter's move for Brescia star Sandro Tonali, according to Gianluca Di Marzio. Inter have been favourites to land Tonali but Ralf Rangnick – who is tipped to become Milan's head coach in 2020-21 – has reportedly made the Italy international his top target.

Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta said the Nerazzurri have not discussed signing star midfielder Sandro Tonali with Brescia.

Tonali is highly coveted following his exploits for Brescia – the Italian attracting interest from the likes of Serie A champions Juventus, Inter, Manchester United, Manchester City and Barcelona.

Inter are tipped to prise Tonali from Brescia amid reports a five-year contract has already been agreed with the 20-year-old, who has been compared to Italian great Andrea Pirlo.

Asked about an advertisement televised in China, showing head coach Antonio Conte painting an Inter jersey on Tonali, CEO Marotta – speaking prior to Wednesday's 6-0 Serie A rout of Brescia – told DAZN: "I think he painted the youngest player in the game, so it might be an auspice of youth that Inter would like in future.

"Tonali is admired not just by me, but by all fans of Italian football.

"He is still a Brescia player and we have not discussed it with them, despite having a good rapport."

Tonali, who played a key role in Brescia's promotion from Serie B in 2018-19, has scored one goal and supplied five assists this season.

The Italy international is reportedly set to follow Achraf Hakimi to Inter, who are poised to announce the signing of the Real Madrid full-back following a two-year loan spell at Borussia Dortmund.

Lautaro Martinez was not one of Inter's six goalscorers on Wednesday, but Antonio Conte is remaining relaxed about the striker's struggles.

The Nerazzurri enjoyed a comfortable evening as they thrashed bottom side Brescia 6-0 to move back to within eight points of Serie A leaders Juventus.

Ashley Young, Alexis Sanchez and Danilo D'Ambrosio all scored in the first half, with Roberto Gagliardini, Christian Eriksen and Antonio Candreva also on target after the break.

Conte left top scorer Romelu Lukaku on the bench for the first 68 minutes, and though Martinez was given a chance from the off, his failure to get on the scoresheet means he has just one goal across his past 10 appearances in all competitions.

Martinez, who has scored 12 times in Serie A this season, missed the target with two good chances and kicked the post in a clear sign of frustration when thwarted by goalkeeper Jesse Joronen on another occasion.

"We can't hold anything against him, especially in terms of his commitment," Conte told DAZN of a player rumoured to be of interest to Barcelona.

"He deserved a goal and the personal satisfaction that comes with it. I'm very calm, I've got a great group of guys, professionals who want the best for Inter.

"Because of that, we can have flaws or get things wrong during games, but I'm still able to remain calm because of the professionalism and generosity of this group.

"My only regret this year is that we paid a big price for our naivety."

With Martinez having another off-night, and Lukaku only appearing for the closing stages, it was Young and Sanchez who shone at San Siro.

The two combined for the opening goal, one of two assists for Sanchez, who also scored his first Inter goal since September from the penalty spot.

The 31-year-old Chilean still looks a long way from the player who impressed at Arsenal prior to joining Manchester United in 2018, but Conte is pleased with the path the Inter loanee is now on.

"We brought him here for his qualities," Conte added.

"Unfortunately, we lost him as an option for a long time. He's now starting to find his feet, even if he's still not the Sanchez I was such a big fan of in England.

"What I can say, however, is that he's on the right track, he put in a great performance today. Having all my forwards available makes me feel more relaxed."

In-form Inter proved far too strong for Brescia on Wednesday as Antonio Conte's men cruised to a 6-0 win at San Siro.

Inter's top scorer Romelu Lukaku, who has found the net 19 times in Serie A, remained on the bench for the first 68 minutes as two of the Belgian's former team-mates at Manchester United shone instead.

Ashley Young volleyed in the first following a cross from Alexis Sanchez, who then converted a 20th-minute penalty after Victor Moses had been fouled.

Danilo D'Ambrosio and Roberto Gagliardini scored headers either side of half-time, with substitutes Christian Eriksen and Antonio Candreva adding late strikes as third-placed Inter kept their slim title hopes alive, moving eight points behind leaders Juventus.

It might have been a different story had Alfredo Donnarumma not blazed over in the third minute following a loose pass from Young.

The Inter left-back soon made up for that, though, steering a right-footed volley home two minutes later after being picked out by Sanchez.

Brescia had an even bigger mountain to climb when Moses got the wrong side of Ales Mateju in the box and was fouled, allowing Sanchez to double the Nerazzurri's lead from the penalty spot.

Lautaro Martinez flashed a header just wide and Jesse Joronen clawed a corner off his line but Inter would not be denied a third, D'Ambrosio heading in from Young's looped delivery.

Martinez was frustrated not to get in on the act with two good chances either side of the break, though the home side were grateful to Young for sliding in and clearing inside the six-yard box at the start of the second period.

However, any thoughts Brescia had of getting back into the contest were extinguished by Gagliardini nodding in from Sanchez's 52nd-minute free-kick.

Conte showed no mercy by introducing Lukaku, Eriksen and Candreva from the bench, and the latter soon crashed an effort against the crossbar.

Eriksen then added a fifth, scoring at the second attempt after Joronen had initially denied both the midfielder and Lukaku, before Candreva rounded off the rout with a sixth Inter goal with two minutes to go.

 

What does it mean? Comfortable evening for Conte's side

Juventus just keep winning, so it may not matter how Inter fare, but all the Nerazzurri can do is pick up victories of their own and hope the leaders slip up, and Conte's side have taken 10 points from a possible 12 since the resumption.

For Brescia, still eight points adrift of safety, Serie B surely beckons.

All-action Ashley steals the show

With Lukaku and Eriksen starting on the bench, it was an unlikely source who provided the goals and the guile. 

Left-back Young scored one, made another and weighed in with a vital goal-saving intervention early in the second half that might have given Brescia a route back.

Doh!-nnarumma

Without a win in 13 Serie A games before this, Brescia could not afford to squander any clear chances that came their way.

And yet that is exactly what happened when Donnarumma was put in in the opening three minutes. It was hard to believe he had scored in the previous two games, and it set the tone for a rotten evening.

What's next?

Inter are back at home against Bologna on Sunday, the same day Brescia host rivals Hellas Verona.

Add Tottenham to the list of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic admirers.

The Lazio star and Serbia international has teams queuing up for his services, with Paris Saint-Germain reportedly tipped to secure his signature.

However, Premier League outfit Spurs are now eyeing Milinkovic-Savic.

 

TOP STORY – MILINKOVIC-SAVIC WANTED BY SPURS

Jose Mourinho is interested in bringing Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to Tottenham, according to Foot Mercato.

Milinkovic-Savic is a player in demand, having been linked with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Juventus, Manchester City and Chelsea.

While a move for Milinkovic-Savic appears out of reach for Spurs, Jose Mourinho is still dreaming.

 

ROUND-UP

- While Milinkovic-Savic is a dream for Spurs, The Telegraph says Tottenham are confident of signing Southampton's Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. Mourinho, however, must raise transfer funds through sales from his squad.

Inter are in advanced talks with Brescia to finalise a deal for star Sandro Tonali, according to journalist Nicolo Schira. Inter have agreed a five-year deal with Tonali.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's future at Milan beyond the 2019-20 season is complicated, says Calciomercato. Ibrahimovic is out of contract at the end of the campaign and the 38-year-old striker is no closer to signing an extension. While he would like to remain at San Siro, an extension looks set to be postponed until the proposed arrival of Ralf Rangnick as head coach.

- Sport Bild reports Bayern Munich are hopeful of extending David Alaba's contract, despite failing to come to an agreement at a meeting last week. Alaba has been linked to Chelsea recently. Meanwhile, Sky Sport says Bayern are not prepared to exercise their option to sign Ivan Perisic permanently from Inter following his loan spell.

- ABC says Real Betis have been in negotiations with former West Ham, Real Madrid and Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini about their coaching vacancy.

Milan and Napoli are both interested in Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic, claims Le10 Sport. The Serbian could be a replacement for Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, who has been linked to the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Real Madrid.

- The Daily Mail reports Arsenal are ready to use out-of-favour midfielder Matteo Guendouzi as a bargaining chip in a potential swap deal. United, PSG, Madrid and Barca have emerged as possible destinations.

Brescia sensation Sandro Tonali is ready to play for a "top, top club" amid strong links to Juventus and Inter, said former Italy international Federico Balzaretti.

Tonali is highly coveted following his exploits for Brescia – the Italian midfielder attracting interest from the likes of Serie A champions Juve, Inter, Manchester United, Manchester City and Barcelona.

The 20-year-old, compared to Italian great Andrea Pirlo, has been tipped to join either Inter or Juve at the end of the 2019-20 coronavirus-hit season.

Balzaretti hailed "special" three-time international Tonali in an interview with Stats Perform News.

"Tonali, the first time I watched him, his passing [stood out]," former Torino, Palermo, Juve, Fiorentina and Roma full-back Balzaretti said. "His idea, to pass and to play vertical. He is totally different to Andrea Pirlo but he could play together with Pirlo. It would be a great, great partnership because he is more physical maybe than Pirlo. What Andrea has is a light interior and a vision to map the field, to play under pressure and understand one or two times before other players. Tonali doesn't have that yet.

"But of course, Tonali is a great character. His defensive numbers are very high in the league. When you watch him after 10-15 minutes, you say okay he will be a national team player for the next 15 years. It's impressive. I watched him three years ago, he is very young. It's unbelievable. He is an incredible player. He is ready to play for a top, top club in Europe – if it's Juventus, Inter, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, I don't know, it doesn't matter. He is ready for the next step."

Tonali is set to shape the future of Italian football alongside fellow 20-year-old and Roma star Nicolo Zaniolo.

Zaniolo has flourished in the Italian capital since arriving from rivals Inter in 2018, establishing himself as a key player for Roma and Italy.

The attacking midfielder, who is continuing his recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), has been linked with a move away from Roma.

A possible return to Inter has been mentioned, while Juve have reportedly had an offer rejected amid reports Roma could be forced to sell prized asset Zaniolo due to their financial situation.

"It's very important to keep the best player, of course," Balzaretti, who spent three years playing for Roma before retiring in 2015, said. "But also, there is the financial part, which is sometimes more important because if you have a big debt, you have to sell, sometimes the management doesn't want to sell but they need to.

"When you need to sell, the offer comes for the best player you have. Clubs aren't stupid. They don't want to buy your worst player, they want your best player. Sometimes you need to. The problem is not to sell this kind of player, maybe it's a problem, but the first thing is to have a good balance financially. You have to be stable. You don't need to sell players, Zaniolo or someone else. This is the goal for this kind of club for me. Sometimes, you don't want but if you have less €100million, you need to sell because if not, FIFA will kill you.

"If you want to win the league, be stable in the Champions League, compete with the best clubs, you have to keep your best player. If they are young, like Zaniolo and [Lorenzo] Pellegrini, that can improve and be part of your future, of course it's not good. But if you ask everyone in Rome, the president and sport director, no one wants to sell their best player and sometimes you have to."

The 38-year-old added: "Zaniolo is a modern player physically. The power, amazing power. He is fast, he kicks well, he is a very modern player. He can play in midfield, wide, he can play number 10. A complete midfielder, an offensive midfielder.

"His impact in Serie A is so huge. You have to think that he played in Primavera, so under-19. His step was U19 direct to Serie A and not direct to Serie A to one 'normal club', with Roma and the pressure you have at Roma is amazing, so huge. His impact was more huge than the pressure he has. When you are special, you do something like that."

Juventus and Inter target Sandro Tonali wants to remain in Serie A, according to Brescia owner Massimo Cellino.

Tonali is highly coveted following his exploits for Brescia – the Italian star linked to the likes of Juventus, Inter, Manchester United, Manchester City and Barcelona.

Cellino provided an update on Tonali's future, while ruling out a swap deal for the 20-year-old Italy international midfielder.

"So far there's only been a few phone calls, without anything beyond that," Cellino told Gr Parlamento.

"It's difficult to talk about [the transfer market] after everything that's happened, but I hope the lad keeps having fun on the pitch like he did before.

"I wouldn't like all these rumours to lead to another problem, which hurts our chances of staying up.

"Inter and Juve have both asked me about him, as have other teams. What's for certain is that the player wants to stay in Italy and we'll accommodate him.

"I don't like swap deals. We're not that desperate."

Tonali, who played a key role in Brescia's promotion from Serie B last season, has been compared to Italian great Andrea Pirlo.

The in-demand star had scored one goal and supplied five assists before the 2019-20 Serie A campaign was postponed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Brescia are nine points adrift of safety through 26 rounds as they prepare to resume their fight for survival against Fiorentina on June 22.

Former Juventus defender Massimo Carrera, who is now head coach of Greek giants AEK Athens, hailed Tonali ahead of a possible move to Turin.

"I think that Tonali can become a great player, he has talent and personality but is really difficult for me to compare him with Pirlo," Carrera – who won the Serie A and Champions League among other titles during his playing career with Juve before stepping in for Antonio Conte and claiming the 2012 Supercoppa Italiana as caretaker coach – told Stats Perform News.

Sandro Tonali is reportedly on Juventus' and Inter's radar and Brescia coach Diego Lopez believes the in-demand midfielder has "no limits".

Tonali, who played a key role in Brescia's promotion from Serie B last season, has again starred for the club despite their position at the bottom of Serie A.

Nine points adrift of safety when the coronavirus pandemic brought the season to a halt back in March, Brescia look doomed to an immediate return to the second tier.

However, Tonali appears likely to remain in the top flight with one of the league's elite and is said to prefer Inter over Juve.

Asked about the 20-year by Corriere della Sera, Lopez said: "There's a lot of talk about him, and rightly so, but he's just a young lad who is in love with the ball.

"I can't give him advice on what to do off the pitch. As a player, I'd say he can still improve.

"He has it all, but he can get even better. He has no limits.

"I really like him in front of the defence. I see him versatile like [Radja] Nainggolan in the middle of the field."

Tonali has drawn comparisons to legendary Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo, who also began his career at Brescia.

Pirlo recently described Tonali as a "more complete player" than he was, much to the astonishment of the Azzurri international, who has already won three caps for his country.

"Let's say that Pirlo gave the right answer," Tonali told Sportweek. "We don't play like each other. But to say that I'm a more complete player than he was…

"When two of my friends sent me the Instagram live in which he said that, I stayed still. And I'm still speechless now. All I can say to him is, thank you.

"I'd rather say what I'd like to learn from him. The long pass from deep, accurate to within a millimetre. I'm better at short passes today. Which, to tell you the truth, comes even more natural to me than the long pass.

"I know that with the right sacrifices, I can reach the top of the world. I haven't achieved half of what I have in mind, but I feel good enough to make it."

Jack Grealish or Jadon Sancho at Old Trafford?

Manchester United have been linked to both players.

But Aston Villa's Grealish has reportedly surged ahead of Borussia Dortmund star Jadon as United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer eyes reinforcements.

 

TOP STORY – GREALISH LEAPFROGS SANCHO AS UTD TARGET

Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish has moved ahead of Jadon Sancho on Manchester United's wishlist, according to the Mirror.

United have been tipped to sign Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho at the end of the coronavirus-hit 2019-20 season.

But Grealish now reportedly tops United's list of transfer targets due to Dortmund's demands.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca reports Barcelona risk losing out on signing Inter forward Lautaro Martinez. The LaLiga champions are favourites to prise Martinez to Camp Nou but they are yet to agree a deal. Now, United and Real Madrid are waiting in the wings.

Inter remain hopeful of signing Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal, says Calciomercato. It comes as the Nerazzurri also target Brescia sensation Sandro Tonali.

- The Mirror claims Liverpool have turned their attention to signing Wolves star Adama Traore as RB Leipzig's Timo Werner looks set to join Premier League rivals Chelsea.

Madrid have made an €80million offer for Bayer Leverkusen's Kai Havertz, according to Bild. The deal would also see Havertz stay at Leverkusen on loan next season. The in-demand Germany international is also reportedly wanted by Bayern Munich, United and Liverpool.

- The Daily Mail reports United are looking to hijack Madrid's pursuit of Ajax star Donny van de Beek.

- Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani has turned down Inter as he heads to Atletico Madrid on a free transfer, says Tuttosport.

Former Inter president Massimo Moratti said "you cannot hold someone who has the idea of being somewhere else" as Lautaro Martinez continues to be linked with Barcelona.

Martinez has been tipped to swap Serie A's Inter for LaLiga champions Barca, who are determined to sign a long-term replacement for veteran forward Luis Suarez.

Despite Barca's reported interest amid the coronavirus pandemic, Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio insisted Martinez will not be sold for anything less than his €111million buyout clause.

Asked about Argentina international Martinez, Moratti told Sportmediaset: "You can't hold someone who has the idea of ​​being somewhere else. 

"That would put him in a position to remain involuntarily or, in any case with a different impulse, in the same place."

While Martinez's future has dominated headlines, Brescia sensation Sandro Tonali has emerged as a target for Antonio Conte's Inter.

The 20-year-old midfielder – likened to Italian great Andrea Pirlo – has also been linked to the likes of Juventus, Barca and Manchester United.

"Right now here maybe we have to see how [Christian] Eriksen is doing, but otherwise he is a great midfielder," Moratti said. "Then you will need someone on the wings, certainly."

Sandro Tonali is keen on a move to Juventus or Inter according to Brescia owner Massimo Cellino – news that will apparently come as a blow to Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona.

In-demand midfielder Tonali continued to burnish his reputation this season despite Brescia languishing at the bottom of Serie A.

With relegation looming, the 20-year-old appears certain to move on and he is not short of potential suitors.

Cellino believes Tonali will remain in Italy and told Corriere dello Sport he has no interest in advances from Ligue 1 champions PSG.

"Nasser [Al-Khelaifi, PSG president] would like him in Paris, he wrote to me today, but Tonali doesn't want to go to France," the former Leeds United and Cagliari chief said, before claiming Napoli and Fiorentina were in the hunt but are likely to fall short at the expense of Serie A's traditional giants.

"Inter and Juve are the destinations he prefers. [Napoli president Aurelio] De Laurentiis has offered me €40million, Fiorentina want him too, but his destiny is pretty much written."

Tonali was also purportedly the subject of a part-exchange offer from Barcelona that came up short.

"Before COVID, Barcelona had reached €65m plus two very interesting young players valued €7.5m each, one was a full-back," Cellino added.

"I believe that the Catalans received an answer they didn't like. And not from Tonali."

Brescia will resume their seemingly doomed 2019-20 season against Fiorentina on June 22 and Cellino insists no final decision will be made on Tonali's future until the campaign is concluded.

"I'm not dealing with anyone. There are still 12 games to play and the boy must remain calm," he added.

Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini insisted Everton forward Moise Kean was "completely different" to Mario Balotelli.

Kean left the Serie A champions for Everton last year, with the Premier League side paying £25million (€27.5m) for the Italy forward.

The 20-year-old had scored just once in 26 appearances for Everton before this season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, and was dropped in November reportedly for a disciplinary breach.

Kean was also condemned by Everton in April after an apparent breach of lockdown rules.

Having previously criticised Brescia forward Balotelli, Chiellini said Kean was nothing like the former Inter and Manchester City man.

"Balotelli only has the shot. There are those who now compare him with Moise Kean, a boy who appears rebellious and unmanageable, but is completely different from Mario," Chiellini wrote in Io, Giorgio.

"Of course, in Juventus youth he was punished many times, but when he played in the first team he always showed himself very respectful towards the group.

"Sometimes he does not hear the alarm and arrives late, but they are behaviours that can be changed without difficulty."

Kean came through the youth system at Juventus, where he scored eight goals in 21 games before his departure.

Mario Balotelli has responded to reports he failed to attend training on Sunday, insisting he is not "invisible to the cameras" that were present at the session.

Balotelli has endured a difficult season with hometown club Brescia, the 29-year-old managing just five goals in 19 Serie A appearances this term. 

Brescia president Massimo Cellino said on Thursday that he expects Balotelli to leave, conceding it was a mistake to sign the former Manchester City forward, who reportedly skipped training on Tuesday. 

Similar reports emerged in the Italian media on Sunday. However, using his official Instagram account, Balotelli denied the speculation. 

"How can you write that I am not training on the pitch? There are journalists at the centre at all my sessions, obviously with their TV cameras!" Balotelli said on his Instagram story. 

"I attend two training sessions a day, almost every day! How can you deny the evidence? I didn't think I was a phantom, invisible to the cameras." 

As well as Celino's criticism of Balotelli, the Italy international also had a training-ground bust-up with former head coach Fabio Grosso in November. 

He was given permission to leave the club in January, only to stay put before the coronavirus pandemic caused the suspension of the season in March. 

Hot on the heels of the Premier League, it was announced on May 28 that Serie A would be resuming its season next month.

Italy's top flight is to get back underway from June 20, all being well, with the Coppa Italia semi-final second legs and final to be held during the week prior.

It means four of Europe's top-five leagues are committed to finishing the coronavirus-disrupted campaign, with only Ligue 1 having declared the season over.

Ahead of the return of the action, which includes a true title tussle, a fight for Europe and unease in the bottom half, we look at the story so far of 2019-20...

 

What is the state of play?

It's hardly a surprise that Juventus were top when the season was suspended in March, but this has by no means been a procession towards what would be a ninth consecutive Scudetto.

Simone Inzaghi's Lazio are just a point behind, while Inter, who have a game in hand, are a further eight points back.

Antonio Conte's Nerazzurri were beaten 2-0 by Juve in their final match before the season was halted, but while the title looks a touch beyond their reach, there would be little sense in writing them off entirely.

The race for Europe is similarly close. Free-scoring Atalanta are fourth but only three points above Roma, having played one game fewer, while only five points separate Napoli in sixth and Bologna in 10th. Milan, Hellas Verona and Parma are all in need of some improved form, though.

At the bottom, Brescia and SPAL look to be fighting a losing battle, but no side in the bottom half of the table could realistically declare themselves safe. Lecce are 18th, level on points with Genoa, but it's Torino who are enduring the worst form of all, losing six league games in a row to slide to within two points of the drop zone.

 

What have been the big controversies?

The return of football, for one.

There has been plenty of uncertainty around whether or not Italy, one of the world's hardest-hit countries by the pandemic, would sanction the resumption of the league. Indeed, Brescia owner Massimo Cellino has been outspoken against the idea from the start and branded the decision to declare a return date "crazy".

There is also concern around kick-off times as we move into the Italian summer. Umberto Calcagno, the vice-president of the Italian Footballers' Association, told La Repubblica there was "no way" the organisation would support matches taking place at 16:30 local time in June and July, when average temperatures exceed 30 degrees Celcius.

Even before the league was suspended, confusion reigned. When Parma were due to face SPAL in early March, players were sent back to the dressing rooms minutes before kick-off after sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora recommended all matches be stopped. The game eventually went ahead, 75 minutes late, with SPAL winning 1-0 in front of empty stands.

Juve might be top of the table, but things haven't been going swimmingly for Maurizio Sarri this season, either. The Bianconeri have often produced rather turgid displays and relied on individual brilliance from the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo to see them through, and they only won four of their final eight games in all competitions before the enforced break.

Ronaldo's frustrations have boiled over at times. There have been suggestions of discord between the head coach and the 34-year-old, who was angry at being substituted last November and was caught on camera telling Paulo Dybala "We're left alone out there" at half-time of their Champions League last-16 first-leg loss to Lyon.

 

Who had momentum before everything stopped?

Juve's results have been sufficient to keep them top and the convincing 2-0 defeat of Inter on March 8 was a real statement of intent, but Lazio, unbeaten since September in the league, are the real form team.

Led by 27-goal man Ciro Immobile, their run of 16 wins from their past 18 games has come in stark contrast to city rivals Roma, who have lost five of their past nine in Serie A to lose ground on Atalanta in the Champions League race. As for Milan, some bright January form tailed off in February and their season is in danger of petering out, although they are level at 1-1 with Juve after the first leg of the Coppa semi-final.

Lecce's improved form has left SPAL and Brescia looking forlorn at the bottom, but Torino should be particularly concerned - their last points came on January 12.

 

Which clubs have had it toughest during the COVID-19 months?

Although the most high-profile confirmed coronavirus cases came from Juve, where Dybala, Blaise Matuidi and Daniele Rugani were infected, other clubs have had higher figures.

Fiorentina returned six positive tests this month, while Patrick Cutrone, German Pezzella and Dusan Vlahovic were all confirmed as having contracted the virus in March.

There were also confirmed positive tests at Sampdoria, one at Atalanta and one at Torino, while Milan director Paolo Maldini and son Daniel both had the virus.

All clubs have, of course, been hugely impacted by the loss of earnings during the suspended season.

Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina said to Riparte l'Italia this week that "more than €500million has already been lost to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown".

Serie A is ready to return, with Italy's sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora having confirmed the league will be able to resume from June 20.

There has been no action in Italy's top flight since March 9 and the league is delicately poised at both ends of the table.

Juventus and Lazio are embroiled in a fascinating title race and, though they are eight points adrift in third, Inter may not consider themselves out of the running just yet due to their game in hand.

There are up to six teams in realistic danger of relegation, while Atalanta and Roma are vying for a spot in the Champions League places.

Here are the key fixtures for each remaining matchday.

 

MD28: Brescia v Genoa

If Brescia, who sit nine points adrift of safety, are to pull off an incredible escape they will need to hit the ground running when play restarts. A home match against Genoa, who are only outside the bottom three on goal difference, is a great opportunity to do just that.

MD29: Atalanta v Napoli, Parma v Hellas Verona

Atalanta and Napoli both have to play five of the other six teams in the top seven before the end of the season, so their meeting could play a big role on their momentum in the final stretch. Parma or Hellas Verona – eighth and ninth respectively – could make a late bid for European football with three points here.

MD30: Juventus v Torino, Napoli v Roma

As Juve attempt to fend off Lazio, their first big fixture comes in the form of the Turin derby on matchday 30. This round of games also sees Champions League-chasing Napoli and Roma go head-to-head at the San Paolo.

MD32: Juventus v Atalanta, Napoli v Milan

Another huge match in Juve's title defence comes against Atalanta, who by this stage will be hoping their Champions League bid is still on. Gennaro Gattuso, meanwhile, will face his former club Milan, who will be looking to cement their place in the European qualification spots.

MD34: Juventus v Lazio

There will be only one place to be on matchday 34, as the two title contenders go head to head. With just four fixtures remaining afterwards, it could be the match that settles the title race.

MD35: Lecce v Brescia, Sampdoria v Genoa

The battle for top-flight survival could take some significant turns in this round of matches. The hopes of Lecce and Brescia, the latter of whom face fellow strugglers SPAL the matchday prior, could hinge on this match, while the Derby della Lanterna will take on greater significance if Samp and Genoa remain in precarious positions by this point.

MD37: Inter v Napoli

The success of Inter's season could well centre on a pair of tricky games to end the campaign. If they are able to mount a late charge for Scudetto glory they will certainly have to work hard to see it through, but if it goes the other way they could end up clinching onto a space in the top four.

MD38: Juventus v Roma, Napoli v Lazio, Atalanta v Inter

As fate would have it, the current top six all play each other on the final day of the season and plenty of drama will surely be on offer. The title, Champions League places and Europa League spots could all be decided on an incredible final day.

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