Antonio Conte has said Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku "need a breather" after Inter were pegged back late on against Fiorentina.

Borja Valero's early goal looked to be enough to be sending Conte's side two points clear of Juventus at the top of Serie A on Sunday, but Inter were ultimately made to pay for some wasteful finishing.

Substitute Dusan Vlahovic was the hero for Fiorentina, picking up the ball in his own half before driving clear of Inter's defence and thumping a fine finish beyond Samir Handanovic in stoppage time.

Conte, whose side dropped out of the Champions League in midweek due to a last-gasp defeat to Barcelona, believes fatigue is proving the crucial factor in Inter's concession of late goals, as well as Martinez and Lukaku's shows of profligacy, with both players passing up great opportunities against Fiorentina.

"It's hard to talk about fitness levels, because we've had seven games in 21 days, with Lautaro and Lukaku playing constantly," Conte told Sky Sport Italia.

"Unfortunately, the Alexis Sanchez injury left us in a situation where we couldn't give them any respite, so I can only thank them. These players need a breather, but we cannot afford to give it to them.

"These are games where we didn't take the results we deserved. Against Barcelona, we paid for wasting several chances to score and allowing two situations where we could've done a lot better.

"It was a strong response from the team. It’s disappointing about that late equaliser, because we deserved more, both tonight and against Barcelona.

"I don't think we can complain about the effort or attitude of these lads. It is a growth process, we need patience to learn from mistakes. If we don't have patience and assume we must win every game because we are Inter, then we're not progressing.

"We are talking about players who are constantly going out there and playing 90 minutes, so inevitably there is going to be some fatigue."

The draw has left Inter level on points with Juve heading into their final match of 2019, with the Nerazzurri taking on Genoa on Saturday.

However, they will have to do so without Martinez, who received his fifth booking of the season against Fiorentina, and Marcelo Brozovic, who is likewise suspended.

Dusan Vlahovic scored a spectacular late equaliser as Fiorentina fought back to draw 1-1 with Inter and hand Juventus a boost in the Serie A title race.

Borja Valero's early strike against his former club looked set to be enough to claim the points for Inter, who had temporarily fallen into second place due to Juve's comfortable win over Udinese earlier on Sunday.

However, having seen a goal ruled out by the VAR before squandering several gilt-edged chances, Antonio Conte's side were unable to double their lead.

Fiorentina took full advantage as teenager Vlahovic stepped up with a sensational solo strike in stoppage time to secure a lifeline for under-pressure coach Vincenzo Montella while ensuring Inter could only move level on points with Juve at the top.

 

Manchester United could be set to land the most sought-after striker in Europe.

According to a new report, Erling Haaland has identified the Red Devils as his preferred choice from a long list of suitors containing Juventus, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig.

The teenager met with the two Bundesliga clubs in midweek, but United appear to have moved to the front of the queue.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND SENDS MESSAGE TO SOLSKJAER

Salzburg star Haaland has told compatriot Ole Gunnar Solskjaer he wants to move to Old Trafford, according to the Mirror.

United have been linked with the 19-year-old for several months and the Norwegian connection could lead him to the Premier League.

However, Haaland's high-profile agent Mino Raiola reportedly wants to keep all options on the table as the January transfer window moves nearer.

The striker's father, Alf-Inge, was said to have visited United's training ground in November, while Haaland held talks with Bundesliga teams Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig this week.

 

ROUND-UP

- Inter's firm interest in Fiorentina winger Federico Chiesa could lead to a transfer tug-of-war with Serie A title rivals Juventus, according to CalcioMercato.

- The Nerazzurri have been linked Alessandro Florenzi, but Atalanta are now in pole position to sign the Italy international if he leaves Roma in January, says Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Rest time might be at a minimum for Kylian Mbappe when the club season winds down. According to Le Parisien, French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet will give the Paris Saint-Germain star the chance to compete at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which begin less than two weeks after the Euro 2020 final.

- Chelsea are considering launching a January bid for Leeds United loanee Ben White, claims the Daily Mail. Brighton and Hove Albion, White's parent club, are reportedly willing to accept offers of £25million.

- Mundo Deportivo suggests LaLiga heavyweights Barcelona are monitoring Thiago Alcantara's situation amid rumours the midfielder has become unhappy at Bayern Munich. Thiago swapped Barca for Bayern in 2013.

- West Ham's victory over Southampton will not be enough to save Manuel Pellegrini from the sack, says the Daily Star. Carlo Ancelotti and David Moyes are among the possible replacements.

Fiorentina star Franck Ribery is set to miss 10 weeks after undergoing surgery on his ankle on Saturday.

Ribery, 36, suffered the injury during Fiorentina's 1-0 loss to Lecce in Serie A on November 30.

Fiorentina announced on Saturday that the French attacker had undergone surgery and they expect him to resume full training in around 10 weeks' time.

"Franck Ribery today underwent surgery for stabilisation of the tibiofibular syndesmosis," a club statement read.

"The operation, carried out by Professor Gabel, was a complete success.

"The player will return to Florence on Sunday and begin his rehabilitation plan. He will resume exercise in two weeks.

"[He] is expected to resume full training in around 10 weeks' time."

Ribery has scored two goals and provided two assists in 11 league matches this season.

Fiorentina, who are struggling in 13th in Serie A, host league leaders Inter on Sunday.

Inter have cancelled their news conference in protest at Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport publishing what the club described as an "offensive letter" about head coach Antonio Conte.

Conte was due to speak to reporters to preview their away Serie A match against Fiorentina on Sunday.

But Inter released a statement saying the media session would not be going ahead because Corriere had published a critical letter and added their own comment indicating agreement with its content.

Inter's statement read: "Yesterday [Friday], the Corriere dello Sport published an offensive letter towards our coach, justifying its aggression in the comment.

"In order to send out a message to all media outlets that they must "guarantee respect for people", there won't be a press conference today."

Inter also clashed with Corriere earlier this month when striker Romelu Lukaku and former Manchester United team-mate Chris Smalling featured on a front page along with the headline "Black Friday" ahead of their meeting with Roma in Serie A.

The race to sign Erling Haaland has taken another turn.

According to reports, the in-demand striker flew to Germany on Wednesday to hold talks with Borussia Dortmund.

Haaland has become one of Europe's hottest properties following a prolific run of form for Salzburg.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND MEETS WITH DORTMUND

Could talented teenager Haaland be the next bright young forward to join Bundesliga side Dortmund?

Local newspaper Ruhr Nachrichten and Radio 91.2 claim the Norwegian and his high-profile agent Mino Raiola arrived at Dortmund Airport and were met by a BVB official the day after Salzburg's Champions League loss to Liverpool.

Haaland played 75 minutes against the holders but was unable to add to his impressive eight-goal haul in Europe this season.

Manchester United, Juventus and Real Madrid are among the other heavyweights reportedly showing interest in the 19-year-old.

 

ROUND-UP

- Salzburg could be about to part with more than one highly-rated attacker. The Telegraph says Premier League outfit Wolves are preparing to make a move for Hwang Hee-chan, who could cost around £21million (€25m).

- Roma will allow Alessandro Florenzi to leave for €25m in January, claims CalcioMercato. Inter are said to be his strongest suitors, with fellow Serie A sides Napoli and Fiorentina also in contention.

- Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara is unhappy with his reduced role under interim boss Hansi Flick and is thinking of returning to Spain, reports Bild.

- Spain Under-21 international Carles Alena is set to join Real Betis on loan from LaLiga leaders Barcelona, according to Mundo Deportivo.

- ESPN reporter Julien Laurens believes this season will be Thomas Tuchel's last in charge of Paris Saint-Germain. Tuchel has been heavily linked to Bundesliga champions Bayern.

Saif Rubie, the agent of former Liverpool forward Bobby Duncan, has been banned by the Football Association (FA) from acting as an intermediary for six weeks and fined £10,000 for messages posted on Twitter.

Duncan completed a permanent move to Fiorentina on September 2 following a turbulent few days that saw Rubie take to social media to accuse Liverpool of attempting to block a transfer.

Rubie singled out Reds sporting director Michael Edwards for criticism and alleged the treatment of the 18-year-old – who is Steven Gerrard's cousin – showed "zero consideration" for the player's mental health.

Liverpool described the allegations as "inaccurate" and "inflammatory", while club legend Jamie Carragher and supporters rounded on Rubie, who later deleted his Twitter account.

The FA has now taken action against the agent by suspending him from December 4 until January 15, handing him a hefty fine and sending him on an Educational Programme for improper use of social media.

Rubie has been accused on bringing the game into disrepute with his social media messages, although the FA has not specified which posts the punishment is for.

Inter have stated "we are and always will be opposed to any form of discrimination" amid an Italian newspaper sparking a racism storm with a controversial front-page headline.

Corriere dello Sport previewed the upcoming Serie A game between Inter and Roma with a front-page "Black Friday" headline between images of Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling, a choice of wording that has attracted widespread criticism.

"Black Friday", a term used to describe the first Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States when retail sales mark the start of the Christmas shopping period, saw the publication focus on the reunion of former Manchester United team-mates Smalling and Lukaku, both of whom are black.

Roma quickly criticised an editorial decision they suggest "not a single soul" would find appropriate, and rival Serie A clubs, including Inter, subsequently reacted.

Corriere issued a statement insisting the headline was not racist, claiming it had been "transformed into poison by those who have poison in themselves".

Inter posted to their official Twitter page: "Football is passion, culture and brotherhood. We are and always will be opposed to any form of discrimination."

Anti-discrimination body FARE posted a screenshot of Corriere's front page with the caption: "The media fuels racism every day."

Milan and Fiorentina joined Roma and Inter in commenting on the headline.

"It is totally unacceptable to see such casual ignorance on racism," Milan said. "We will not stay silent on this issue."

Fiorentina shared the image with a facepalm emoji and a single word: "Speechless."

A series of incidents have blighted Italian football this season, with Lukaku, Mario Balotelli and Franck Kessie each targeted for racist abuse.

All 20 Serie A clubs last week united to call on fans to support them in an anti-racism drive after admitting to a "serious problem".

Franck Ribery has suffered ligament damage to his right ankle in an ill-timed injury blow for embattled Serie A side Fiorentina.

The Viola confirmed the setback after the 36-year-old was forced off in the first half of Saturday's 1-0 loss to Lecce.

Panagiotis Tachtsidis' sliding challenge left the experienced winger in considerable pain and he had to be helped from the field.

Precisely how long he will spend on the sidelines remains to be seen, but Fiorentina can little afford to do without the former Bayern Munich star following a third successive defeat.

A club statement read: "Ribery underwent tests after spraining his ankle. They revealed a Grade I/II tear of the medial collateral ligament of his right ankle. He has begun treatment and his condition will be re-assessed soon."

The loss to Lecce left Fiorentina nine points outside the top six after 14 games.

Newspaper reports in Italy suggest Vincenzo Montella is under pressure to save his job amid rumours Gennaro Gattuso and Cesare Prandelli could take over.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has time on his side at Manchester United.

Mauricio Pochettino's name looms large at Old Trafford but it seems the incumbent is going nowhere.

According to reports, Solskjaer will not be sacked regardless of whether United qualify for Europe this season.

 

TOP STORY – SOLSKJAER FREE FROM EUROPEAN ANXIETY

Failure to secure a top-six finish in the Premier League will not cost Solskjaer his job, reports the Daily Star.

United are struggling for consistency and appear destined to miss out on the Champions League places.

But while executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is "long-time admirer" of Pochettino, he will reportedly keep faith with Solskjaer even if middling results end in the Red Devils missing out on Europe.

ROUND-UP

- Quique Sanchez Flores' ill-fated second spell in charge of Watford will result in his dismissal on Sunday, according to The Athletic.

- It could be one Spaniard out and another in at Arsenal. The Mirror claims Manchester City assistant Mikel Arteta is now top of the club's shortlist of potential replacements for Unai Emery.

- Everton want Bournemouth boss and boyhood Toffees fan Eddie Howe to succeed the under-pressure Marco Silva, reports the Mirror.

- Borussia Dortmund have dispatched scouts to watch teenage Sao Paulo winger Antony, says Goal, as the Bundesliga side line up a replacement for Jadon Sancho.

- Fiorentina have lost patience with Vincenzo Montella and are set to replace him with Gennaro Gattuso in a mirror image of the move Milan made two years ago. Calciomercato claims the change is imminent, with the Viola stinging from a 1-0 loss to Lecce.

Jadon Sancho looks set to leave Borussia Dortmund sooner rather than later.

Sancho has established himself as one of the best young players in Europe since leaving Manchester City for Dortmund in 2017.

However, the 19-year-old's stay in Germany appears to be coming to an end.

 

TOP STORY – DORTMUND READY TO PART WITH SANCHO

Dortmund are ready to do business and sell in-demand star Sancho, according to the Independent.

The teenager is wanted by Manchester United, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Barcelona after starring since arriving in the Bundesliga.

But Dortmund are willing to let the England international leave as soon as January due to a breakdown in relationships.

The winger was benched for the midweek Champions League defeat at Barcelona, having felt humiliated by his first-half withdrawal in the Klassiker rout to Bayern Munich.

 

ROUND-UP

- La Nazione says Premier League leaders and Champions League holders Liverpool are interested in Fiorentina star Federico Chiesa. The 22-year-old has sparkled in Florence, leading to links with Serie A champions Juventus and Inter.

- Could Everton be set for a South American triple swoop? According to the Liverpool Echo, the Merseyside club are keen on signing Inter forward Gabriel Barbosa – on loan at Flamengo – and River Plate's Rafael Santos Borre. It comes as the Toffees have reportedly identified Flamengo head coach Jorge Jesus as a possible candidate to succeed Marco Silva following his Copa Libertadores and domestic success.

- Marca claims James Rodriguez has turned down a move to Arsenal. According to reports in England, the Gunners want James in January. However, the Madrid playmaker wants to stay in the Spanish capital.

- High-flying Inter are eager to sign Atalanta full-back Robin Gosens, reports Calciomercato.

Milan are targeting Juventus centre-back Merih Demiral, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. The Turkey international has struggled for game time following his arrival in Turin this season.

- As Flamengo struggle to secure a permanent deal for loan star Barbosa, Goal says the Copa Libertadores champions are in talks to sign Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa.

Manchester City have set their sights on Brescia and Italy sensation Sandro Tonali, says Fichajes. The 19-year-old is attracting interest from all over Europe.

Barcelona are preparing for next season and they have several players on their wish list.

The LaLiga leaders are enjoying a decent campaign in 2019-20, but they already have one eye on 2020-2021.

Inter's Lautaro Martinez, Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich and Fiorentina's Nikola Milenkovic are reportedly their main targets.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA TARGET MARTINEZ, KIMMICH AND MILENKOVIC

Martinez, Kimmich and Milenkovic are Barcelona's main targets ahead of 2020-21, according to AS.

If they miss out on Kimmich, they will look to RB Leipzig's Lukas Klostermann, the report says.

Meanwhile, Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen is another option, while Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a target if they cannot land Martinez.

ROUND-UP

- Mauricio Pochettino could be set for a quick return to management. Bayern Munich want to hold talks with the former Tottenham manager, according to The Telegraph.

- Could the impact of Jose Mourinho be felt at Tottenham already? Toby Alderweireld, who is out of contract at the end of the season, could stay at Spurs after Mourinho's arrival, The Telegraph also reports.

- Roma could extend Lorenzo Pellegrini's contract, but several clubs are interested in the midfielder. Manchester United, Tottenham, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter have shown some interest in Pellegrini, according to CalcioMercato.

- Marko Pjaca has failed to have an impact since his arrival at Juventus in 2016. CalcioMercato reports the Croatian attacker, who has already been on loan at Schalke and Fiorentina since his arrival in Turin, could be set for another spell away from Juve in January.

- Chelsea have a target in January if their transfer ban is overturned. The Premier League giants have been monitoring CSKA Moscow striker Fedor Chalov, according to Sky Sports. The 21-year-old scored 15 Russian Premier League goals last season and has five in 16 games in 2019-20.

Lionel Messi is seemingly in no rush to extend his Barcelona contract.

Messi's future is regularly talked about after it was revealed earlier this year the superstar can leave the LaLiga giants for free at the end of any season.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner is contracted at Barcelona until 2021, though it remains to be seen if he wants to stay on beyond his current deal.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI IN NO RUSH OVER BARCELONA CONTRACT

Messi has no intention of discussing a contract extension at Barcelona until next season, according to Marca.

The 32-year-old plans to be at the club next season, the report says, but will not open talks regarding a new deal.

Messi has been at Barcelona during his entire professional career, winning 10 LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues among numerous other trophies.

ROUND-UP

- Paris Saint-Germain are looking to the future. Sport reports the Ligue 1 giants are seriously considering a move for Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior. Kylian Mbappe and Neymar have been linked with moves away from PSG and the 19-year-old could help the French club going forward.

- Manchester City and Real Madrid could be set for a transfer battle. The clubs are interested in Real Sociedad and Spain forward Mikel Oyarzabal, according to CalcioMercato. The 22-year-old has scored 29 LaLiga goals since the start of 2017-18.

- Unai Emery has some time. The Sun reports the under-fire Arsenal head coach will be given until 2020 to turn the club's form around. It also reports Manchester City would allow assistant Mikel Arteta – an ex-Arsenal midfielder – to head to Emirates Stadium, should his former club want to appoint the Spaniard.

- Liverpool could strengthen in January. TalkSPORT reports the Premier League leaders are in advanced talks with Bournemouth over a deal to sign winger Ryan Fraser, who is out of contract at the end of the season. Bournemouth may want Harry Wilson – who is on loan from Liverpool – as part of a deal.

- Struggling in ninth in Serie A, Fiorentina may be ready to move on from Vincenzo Montella. The club are ready to make an approach for former Inter coach Luciano Spalletti, according to Firenze Viola.

Paris Saint-Germain have identified their priorities and an extension for Neymar is seemingly not among them.

Neymar, 27, reportedly almost left the Ligue 1 champions in the close season amid strong links to LaLiga giants Barcelona.

The Brazil international is contracted until 2022 and PSG appear to be in no rush to extend his stay.

 

TOP STORY – PSG STOP NEYMAR TALKS AMID MBAPPE FOCUS

PSG's negotiations with Neymar about a contract extension have stalled, according to L'Equipe.

However, the report says PSG have not ruled out a potential extension for Neymar in the future.

It comes amid talk the club are eager to re-sign Kylian Mbappe, who is also contracted until 2022 and has been linked with a move to Real Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

- Like Neymar and Mbappe, the talk around Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba will not go away. Sport reports Juventus want to bring the midfielder back to Turin, while Tuttosport says Pogba is also eager to return to the Serie A giants.

- Ivan Rakitic has made just one start for Barcelona this season and the midfielder could be on the move in January. Mundo Deportivo reports Juventus and Inter have the Croatia international – who is contracted at Camp Nou until 2021 – in their sights.

- Nicolo Zaniolo's impressive performances for Roma are leading to renewed interest in his services. Juventus are ready to pay more than €40million for the midfielder, according to CalcioMercato, although Roma are eager to keep Zaniolo, who has scored three Serie A goals this season.

- Unai Emery is under fire at Arsenal and the Premier League club are already eyeing his replacement. Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers is being earmarked for the job at Emirates Stadium, according to The Sun.

- Staying at Arsenal and AC Milan are considering a €40m (£34.5m) move for midfielder Lucas Torreira in January, according to Fichajes.com. Meanwhile, Turkish-Football reports Arsenal have made contact with the representatives of Juventus defender Merih Demiral about a potential move.

- Alessandro Florenzi could make a move from Roma in January, according to CalcioMercato. Fiorentina and Inter are reportedly interested in the right-back.

Franck Ribery has been banned for three games and fined €20,000 for pushing an assistant referee following Fiorentina's Serie A defeat to Lazio on Sunday.

Ribery, who was substituted with 15 minutes remaining in the game, twice shoved the official on the pitch following the Viola's 2-1 defeat.

The league found the Frenchman to have "come forward with a threatening attitude and disrespectful behaviour towards an assistant, in addition to disrespectful words".

Ribery was angry that Ciro Immobile's winner for Lazio was allowed to stand, with Fiorentina adamant a foul had taken place in the build-up.

The ban means he will miss games against Sassuolo, Parma and Cagliari.

Earlier on Monday he took to social media to issue an apology to the official and everyone associated with Fiorentina.

"I'm really sorry for last night," a post on Twitter read. "I apologise to my team-mates, the coach and the fans. I also apologise to Mr [Matteo] Passeri because at the end of the match I was very agitated and sad, and I hope he can understand my mood.

"I always want to stay on the pitch and help my team-mates because I came all the way to Florence for this city and this club, and I think Fiorentina should get more attention, the same attention given to other clubs, for the great work we're doing every day."

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