Inter have cancelled their plans to travel to the United States for the Florida Cup as a precautionary measure amid growing concerns surrounding coronavirus.

The Nerazzurri's announcement follows Arsenal's statement on Tuesday as both clubs made the difficult decision to alter their pre-season plans.

The two sides were due to meet on July 25 before facing either Everton or Millonarios on July 28 in Orlando.

A club statement on their official website on Wednesday said: "FC Internazionale Milano announce that they will not be travelling to the USA for the Florida Cup due to the current risks involved in international travel as a result of the spread of the pandemic, risks that have already caused Arsenal F.C. to withdraw from participation."

Last season's Scudetto winners reconvened on July 8, though this time under new head coach Simone Inzaghi after Antonio Conte left the club by mutual consent in May. And their pre-season preparations hardly got off to the best start as they just about managed to edge out Swiss side Lugano on penalties after a 2-2 draw.

Inzaghi's men get their title defence under way at home against Genoa on August 21 and have bolstered their ranks this transfer window - Hakan Calhanoglu has joined from local rivals Milan, Matteo Darmian made his move permanent from Parma and centre-back Zinho Vanheusden signed from Standard Liege.

New Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi is bullish about his side's progress in pre-season after edging Lugano on penalties a month out from the start of the 2021-22 Serie A campaign.

Inzaghi took over from the departed Antonio Conte at the Italian champions this off-season with high expectations following last term's breakthrough Scudetto.

Inter's off-season leadership change along with the absence of several players in pre-season, following their Euro 2020 and Copa America commitments, has created some uncertainty about their readiness for their title defence.

The Nerazzurri's opening game of the new Serie A campaign is at home on August 22 against Genoa.

"The club is doing a great job and we'll be ready to go by August 22," Inzaghi told Inter TV after Sunday's 2-2 draw with Lugano, which the Nerazzurri won on penalties.

"It would be wonderful if we could celebrate with our fans welcoming the champions on the opening day, after a year and a half with empty stadiums. The support they give us makes such a difference, as we saw tonight."

Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez and Ivan Perisic were among those absent for the friendly with Lugano, which will be followed by matches against Pro Vercelli on Wednesday and Arsenal next Monday.

“Little by little we'll introduce the new players as they arrive," Inzaghi said. "[Stefan] De Vrij and [Marcelo] Brozovic will be back in the next few days."

He added: “[The Primavera players] are doing a great job but I knew they'd be up to it because Inter have fantastic academy. They need to keep it up though because we're going to need them until August at least.”

After winning the Champions League, Chelsea are looking to add a goalscorer. 

With Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland seemingly no longer a possibility, the Blues could look elsewhere in Germany.

Robert Lewandowski has become the name to watch. 

 

TOP STORY - CHELSEA LINE UP LEWANDOWSKI BID

Robert Lewandowski has moved to the top of Chelsea's wish list, according to the Sun. 

The Poland international scored a record 41 league goals for Bayern Munich last season and is under contract through 2023.

But Thomas Tuchel wants a prolific scorer and Lewandowski would certainly fit the bill, should Bayern accept a £50million offer for the 32-year-old.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United will make an offer for Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane this week, says the Daily Mail, but not at the rumoured £50m asking price. Fabrizio Romano reports Varane wants to move to the Premier League and is ready to accept United's contract proposal. 

United also are in the mix for Real Madrid's winger Vinicius Junior, claims the Mirror. 

Mauro Icardi could leave Paris Saint-Germain for Juventus, says Footmercato.

– Barring a Lewandowski move, Chelsea could wind up as a surprise landing spot for Harry Kane if he does not end up at Manchester City, according to The Athletic.

Liverpool will extend Alisson's contract through 2026 within the next few weeks, Fabrizio Romano reports, while the Mirror says Jordan Henderson will sign a new deal at Anfield through 2023. 

Roma and Inter could lure Alex Telles away from United, according to Calciomercato. 

Arsenal are hoping to complete a deal for Anderlecht midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga within the next week, says the Daily Mail.

Tottenham are eyeing Atalanta's Pierluigi Gollini, says Calciomercato. 

Cristiano Ronaldo's future has been widely discussed this off-season.

The 36-year-old five-time Ballon d'Or winner has only one more year on his existing Juventus contract.

Ronaldo has been linked with several suitors among Europe's elite clubs as well as a switch to MLS after Juve failed to win the 2020-21 Serie A title.

 

TOP STORY - RONALDO SET TO EXTEND JUVE STAY

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to remain with Juventus amid talk of a new cut-price deal, reports Gazzetta dello Sport.

The Portugal international has attracted interest from Paris Saint-Germain and former club Manchester United this off-season.

However, Ronaldo is close to extending his Juve stay with a fresh one-year contract, taking a pay cut.

 

ROUND-UP

– Manchester City are determined to sign Aston Villa's Jack Grealish, according to The Athletic, although the Birmingham Mail claims the England winger is expected to sign a new deal at Villa Park.

– The Sun reports Inter are ramping up their bid to sign Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin on a one-year loan deal with the option of a permanent switch.

– Real Madrid have not received any offers for Gareth Bale, who is expected to remain in the Spanish capital for another season, according to Mundo Deportivo.

– Goal claims Juventus have had their initial €30million offer for Manuel Locatelli rejected by Sassuolo, who have a higher price in mind.

Arsenal are set to land Brighton's Ben White, having agreed to a deal in principle, worth around £50m, reports The Athletic.

Manchester City's pursuit of a new striker is well known.

Sergio Aguero's exit has left a void for the Premier League champions.

City have been linked with a host of big names including Erling Haaland and Harry Kane.

 

TOP STORY - MAN CITY MONITORING LEWANDOWSKI

Manchester City are monitoring the status of Bundesliga top scorer Robert Lewandowski, according to the Daily Mail.

Lewandowski has two years remaining on his Bayern Munich deal but has previously indicated he may be open to a move elsewhere.

The report claims City are worried they may not succeed in their pursuit of Kane and see 32-year-old Lewandowski as an option given his quality and potentially lower asking price.

 

ROUND-UP

- Liverpool is readying a £60million (€70m) bid for Inter and Italy midfielder Nicolo Barella according to La Repubblica. However, Fabrizio Romano claims Inter will not sell him.

- Everton have submitted a £30m (€35m) bid for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, but the Italian club have told the Toffees to double the offer, claims Calciomercato.

- The Telegraph reports that England full-back Kieran Trippier is desperate to return to the Premier League as he waits on a move from Atletico Madrid to Manchester United.

- The Telegraph also claims that Joe Willock will spend time on loan again at Newcastle from Arsenal. He will join the Magpies on a season-long deal.

- SPORT claims that Chelsea are tracking Sevilla's Jules Kounde after he recently rejected interest from Tottenham.

- Chelsea are looking to utilise Tammy Abraham as a sweetener in any deal to land Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, reports The Mirror.

- West Bromwich have turned down West Ham's offer for goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, claims The Athletic.

Inter director Beppe Marotta is bullish about retaining the bulk of the Italian champions' squad for the 2021-22 season, saying "90 per cent will be confirmed".

Title-winning head coach Antonio Conte was replaced by Simone Inzaghi already this off-season, with reports his departure was due to the club's need to cut operating costs.

That situation has also led to questions about Inter's transfer business this off-season and ability to retain their squad, with Achraf Hakimi already being sold to Paris Saint-Germain for €60m while Ashley Young has left for Aston Villa.

“We start from a squad that won the Scudetto and will 90 per cent be confirmed for this season, so that is a very important foundation to build on," Marotta told DAZN.

“We’ll now work to complete the squad in relation to Hakimi’s departure by being creative, as it’s difficult for any club right now to get involved in economically expensive deals.”

Inter have been linked with PSV Eindhoven talent Denzel Dumfries along with Arsenal's Hector Bellerin.

"There are many names, it’s too early to try predicting what will happen now," he said on the speculation.

The Nerazzurri have added Matteo Darmian, Zinho Vanheusden and Hakan Calhanoglu this off-season, with the latter joining as a free agent from rivals Milan.

"It was not an insult towards Milan, he was just a player who was a free agent," Marotta said. "Maybe next time it’ll be Milan who take a player when his contract with Inter expires."

Marotta was pressed on Christian Eriksen after his cardiac arrest at Euro 2020, creating doubts about his club career.

The Inter director said the situation would be analysed as the Danish midfielder recovers.

Inter face a reunion with former boss Jose Mourinho during a potentially tricky run of games from the end of September to early December as Simone Inzaghi's side attempt to retain their Serie A crown.

The Nerazzurri finished top of the pile in Italy last season for the first time in 11 years, though there has since been a change in the dugout as Antonio Conte stepped down and has been replaced by ex-Lazio boss Inzaghi.

Inzaghi's first competitive match in charge will be at home to Genoa on the opening weekend of the season, currently scheduled for the week ending August 22.

Inter have what looks to be a kind start to the campaign on paper, with their first meeting against one of last season's top six coming at home to Atalanta on matchday six at the end of September.

Inzaghi will travel to Lazio, whom he was in charge of for five years before departing for Inter in June, on matchday eight and will welcome his former employers to San Siro at the start of 2022.

The first Mourinho meeting comes late in year. He won the treble with Inter in 2009-10, and the Nerazzurri travel to Roma on December 5.

Roma then visit San Siro for the reverse fixture in April.

In terms of other headline fixtures, the Scudetto holders face rivals and last season's runners-up Milan in the week ending November 7 and again in the first week of February.

That first game with Stefano Pioli's side comes two weeks on from a showdown with Juventus and is followed by the visit of Napoli in their next match, albeit with an international break sandwiched between.

Inter conclude their campaign with a home match against Sampdoria in the week ending May 22.

Speaking after the 2021-22 fixture list was released on Wednesday, Inzaghi told his new club's official website: "We're working to make sure we're ready for our opening Serie A game.

"It's going to be an interesting, exciting match against Genoa. We'll be playing our first one at home and we want to get off on the right foot.

"In any case for now we're just focusing on preparing as best we possibly can while waiting for the players involved in the Euros and Copa America to return."

Inter's Serie A fixtures in full, subject to change:

22/08/2021 - Genoa (h)
29/08/2021 - Hellas Verona (a)
12/09/2021 - Sampdoria (a)
19/09/2021 - Bologna (h)
22/09/2021 - Fiorentina (a)
26/09/2021 - Atalanta (h)
03/10/2021- Sassuolo (a)
17/10/2021 - Lazio (a)
24/10/2021 - Juventus (h)
27/10/2021 - Empoli (a)
31/10/2021 - Udinese (h)
07/11/2021 - Milan (a)
21/11/2021 - Napoli (h)
28/11/2021 - Venezia (a)
01/12/2021 - Spezia (h)
05/12/2021 - Roma (a)
12/12/2021 - Cagliari (h)
19/12/2021 - Salernitana (a)
22/12/2021 - Torino (h)
06/01/2022 - Bologna (a)
09/01/2022 - Lazio (h)
16/01/2022 - Atalanta (a)
23/01/2022 - Venezia (h)
06/02/2022 - Milan (h)
13/02/2022 - Napoli (h)
20/02/2022 - Sassuolo (h)
27/02/2022 - Genoa (a)
06/03/2022 - Salernitana (h)
13/03/2022 - Torino (a)
20/03/2022 - Fiorentina (h)
03/04/2022 - Juventus (a)
10/04/2022 - Hellas Verona (h)
16/04/2022 - Spezia (a)
24/04/2022 - Roma (h)
01/05/2022 - Udinese (a)
08/05/2022 - Empoli (h)
15/05/2022 - Cagliari (a)
22/05/2022 - Sampdoria (h)

Serie A winners Inter will begin their title defence with a home match against Genoa.

Fixtures for the 2021-22 season were announced on Wednesday, with the side now coached by Simone Inzaghi given a San Siro opener.

That means city rivals Milan, who were runners-up last year, will begin with an away contest against Sampdoria in the week ending August 22.

Juventus, meanwhile, will start their bid to regain the Scudetto under Massimiliano Allegri with an away fixture against Udinese.

The Old Lady host Empoli in week two before a crunch clash away to Napoli on matchday three.

A tricky start continues for Allegri as he will then face former club Milan, with Juve at home for that huge clash on matchday four.

Inzaghi will take on former club Lazio for the first time on week eight, a week before the first Derby d'Italia against Juve the following matchday, week ending October 24.

The first Milan derby has provisionally been scheduled for the weekend of November 7, which is week 12 of the campaign.

Inter play Milan for the second time on February 6 with their second contest against Juve coming towards the end of the season on April 3.

Should the title race go down to the last day of the season, Inter end their league campaign at home to Sampdoria, while Juve travel to Fiorentina and Milan face Sassuolo.

 

Serie A week one fixtures:

Bologna v Salernitana
Cagliari v Spezia
Empoli v Lazio
Verona v Sassuolo
Inter v Genoa
Napoli v Venezia
Roma v Fiorentina
Sampdoria v Milan
Torino v Atalanta
Udinese v Juventus

Inter have come under attack from Portuguese champions Sporting CP after releasing former €40million man Joao Mario to join Benfica.

The Serie A winners announced on Monday they had freed up Joao Mario, whom they signed from Sporting five years ago.

Joao Mario spent last season back on loan with Sporting, helping the team end an 19-year wait for the Primeira Liga title, and had a year remaining on his Inter contract when he was cut free from that deal.

However, rather than return to Sporting on a permanent basis, he has joined their Lisbon rivals Benfica, signing a five-year deal.

Crucially, Sporting say they were due a further €30million from the initial deal that took Joao Mario to San Siro, in the event of him moving on to a rival Portuguese club.

Benfica announced his arrival on Tuesday, with Joao Mario signing as a free agent rather than moving directly from Inter, meaning the compensation clause was not triggered.

Sporting also claimed to have made an offer of their own to Inter for Joao Mario.

"It is the conviction of the board of directors... that a contractual expedient was used, through which Inter and Joao Mario sought to bypass the terms of the agreement signed with Sporting... in 2016," the statement from Sporting added.

"This expedient only illustrates that all parties knew the obligations they assumed in 2016 and which, after five years, they have now intended to avoid."

Sporting said they would hold "the intervening parties responsible for the damages caused and for the non-fulfilment of the agreed obligations".

Inter denied the accusations, saying there were no grounds for Sporting to make such claims.

In a statement, Inter said: "FC Internazionale Milano has taken note of what Sporting Lisbon has said to the press. These are unacceptable, very serious and above all unfounded statements. The company will protect its image and reputation in the appropriate places."

Joao Mario struggled to make an impact at Inter and had a loan spell with West Ham in 2018, with a stint at Lokomotiv Moscow preluding his return to Sporting.

Inter have agreed to terminate Portugal international midfielder Joao Mario's contract by mutual consent.

The 28-year-old joined Inter from Sporting for €40 million in 2016 after Portugal's Euros triumph but struggled to break into the first team, spending most of his time out on loan.

Joao Mario had a loan spell with West Ham United in 2018, before stints at Lokomotiv Moscow and Sporting.

"Thanks so much Inter. Good luck for the future," Joao Mario posted in a brief message on Twitter.

Joao Mario was part of Sporting's 2020-21 Portuguese Primeira Liga title which ended their 19-year wait.

The Euro 2016 winner only managed 69 appearances for the Nerazzurri during his five years with the club and had one year remaining on his contract.

He is expected to join Benfica but part of his loan with Sporting prevented him from joining another Portuguese club unless Inter paid a significant fee, thus the decision to part ways.

It is understood Benfica were willing to pay €7.5 million for Joao Mario, who cost Inter €40m plus bonuses in 2016 and is now a free agent.

Paul Pogba's future at Manchester United has drawn speculation.

The France international has one year left on his United contract and is yet to re-sign with the Red Devils.

The 2018 World Cup winner has numerous big-spending admirers and impressed at Euro 2020.

 

TOP STORY - PSG PLOT CUT-PRICE POGBA DEAL

Paris Saint-Germain are lining up Manchester United's French mdifielder Paul Pogba for a cut-price £50million (€58m) deal, claims the Daily Star.

Big-spending PSG have already landed Achraf Hakimi and Georginio Wijnaldum this off-season and will need to sell players to fund the deal.

L'Equipe reports PSG are confident they can land Pogba on a cut-price deal given his contract status.

 

ROUND-UP

- Denmark's Euro 2020 star Mikkel Damsgaard is set for a Premier League switch this off-season with interest from Tottenham, Liverpool, Leeds and Leicester City reports HITC. However, Gazzetta dello Sport claims Sampdoria will not sell the Danish talent for less than €40 million (£34m).

- Atalanta want €60million (£52m) for Manchester United target Cristian Romero, who has also been linked with Tottenham and Barcelona according to Calciomercato.

- Sport claims Philippe Coutinho will leave Barcelona this off-season, with Leicester City, Inter and Milan among the top contenders to sign him.

- Football Insider reports that Liverpool have approached Wolves about Spain winger Adama Traore.

- New Everton manager Rafa Benitez wants to sign Barcelona defender Clement Lenglet, reports Fichajes.

- Hector Bellerin is ready to leave Arsenal to join Italian champions  Inter, claims FourFourTwo.

- Tottenham are mulling over a move for Wolfsburg defender Maxence Lacroix according to The Boot Room.

Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta says the decision to sell full-back Achraf Hakimi to Paris Saint-Germain was "painful".

The Morocco international signed for the Ligue 1 giants on Tuesday after the Nerazzurri accepted an offer reportedly worth an initial €68million with a further €3m possible through bonuses.

Hakimi shone in Serie A after joining from Real Madrid, contributing seven goals and nine assists last season as Inter were crowned champions for the first time in a decade.

Indeed, in Europe's top-five leagues last season, only four defenders were directly involved in more goals than Hakimi (16 – seven scored, nine assisted).

Although difficult, Hakimi's sale was believed to be necessary by Inter, who are attempting to recoup close to €100m in the transfer window while reducing costs, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Further departures are expected, with Joao Mario and Radja Nainggolan the most likely to leave, with Hakan Calhanoglu and Alex Cordaz their only signings to date.

Speaking at a media conference to unveil new head coach Simeone Inzaghi, Marotta confirmed Hakimi's departure was largely due to the financial situation the club finds itself in following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

"We begin a season that will be difficult, as usual," Marotta said.

"We are going through a difficult and in some ways disturbing time after the pandemic, also as a result of the world economy. As a reflection, football is now looking for a sustainable model.

"Surely, Inter want to continue on the same path as last season, looking at the economic and financial aspects. The owners want to build a competitive team, they've invested over €700million and football is paying the consequences of what has just happened.

"It's unthinkable to ask for the same efforts. We made painful choices like the one of selling Hakimi but always trying to give continuity."

 

Inzaghi was appointed last month after Antonio Conte left the club by mutual consent.

The former Italy international had departed Lazio a week earlier following five years in charge at the Stadio Olimpico.

Inzaghi won 134, drew 45 and lost 72 of his 251 matches in all competitions while at Lazio, the only club where he has worked during his coaching career so far.

"I spent 22 incredible years at Lazio, I felt well there, I was lucky to win as a footballer and as a coach, but it was time to change," the 45-year-old said.

"I had received many requests, but it was never the right moment to change. It's a moment that arrives sooner or later, I didn't think about it for too long."

Asked what fans can expect from his side, Inzaghi said: "I want my team to have intensity, stay in the game and react to what can happen.

"I coached [Stefan] de Vrij and I had played with [Aleksandar] Kolarov and [Samir] Handanovic. It's great to reunite with them, I will have a great relationship with them and the others.

"I like the daily pressure, otherwise I would not have accepted the Inter job. I have a great relationship with the directors, we must be able to handle the difficulties well when we face them."

Will Kylian Mbappe move to Real Madrid?

Will Lionel Messi leave Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain?

The star pair are dominating headlines in the transfer market.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE TO MADRID?

Real Madrid believe they will be able to prise Kylian Mbappe from Paris Saint-Germain if the Ligue 1 giants sign Lionel Messi, according to the front page of Wednesday's Diario AS.

Mbappe – entering the final year of his contract – has long been tipped to join LaLiga powerhouse Madrid, while Liverpool have also been linked.

Messi is out of contract at Barca and while the Catalan club remain confident of re-signing the superstar captain, PSG and Madrid are hoping to make the most of the situation.

 

ROUND-UP

Arsenal have joined PSG and Atletico Madrid in the chase to sign Lyon star Houssem Aouar, reports Le10 Sport.

- Calciomercato says Serie A champions Inter and Ligue 1 outfit Lyon are both eyeing Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana.

Milan have increased their contract offer for star midfielder Franck Kessie, per Gazzetta dello Sport. Having already lost Gianluigi Donnarumma and Hakan Calhanoglu, the Rossoneri are keen to re-sign Kessie, who has been linked with PSG, Tottenham, Arsenal and Inter.

Manchester City are interested in Napoli star Piotr Zielinski, according to Tuttosport. Napoli are believed to be willing to listen to offers. Premier League champions City have also been linked with the likes of Tottenham's Harry Kane, Inter forward Romelu Lukaku, Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland and Madrid defender Raphael Varane in the transfer window.

- Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga and Varane both moving to Manchester United, while not impossible is "remote in reality", according to Sky Sports.

Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed the signing of full-back Achraf Hakimi from Inter on a five-year deal.

The Morocco international passed a medical after the Nerazzurri accepted an offer reportedly worth an initial €68million with a further €3m possible through bonuses.

Hakimi shone in Serie A after joining from Real Madrid, contributing seven goals and nine assists last season as Antonio Conte's side were crowned champions for the first time in a decade.

Indeed, in Europe's top-five leagues last season, only four defenders were directly involved in more goals than Hakimi (16 – seven scored, nine assisted).

He had previously spent two seasons on loan at Borussia Dortmund after failing to break into the Madrid first team on a regular basis.

"I feel a great sense of pride," he said via PSG's website.

"After Spain, Germany and Italy, Paris Saint-Germain offers me the chance to discover a new championship with one of the most prestigious clubs in the world. I can't wait to meet my new team-mates, the fans and experience the incredible colour and passion inside the Parc des Princes.

"I share the same big ambitions as the coaching staff and my team-mates and will do everything I can to deliver what is expected of me."

 

Chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi said: "We are delighted to welcome Achraf Hakimi to Paris Saint-Germain. This calibre of signing shows the level of our ambitions – we continue to build something very special.

"Achraf may only be 22 years old and has already established himself as one of the most talented full-backs in world football – these are the standards we set at the club. I know Achraf will have a fantastic career with us and the whole club wishes him every success in our colours."

Hakimi's sale is believed to be considered difficult but necessary by Inter, who are attempting to recoup close to €100m in the transfer window while reducing costs, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Further departures are expected, with Joao Mario and Radja Nainggolan the most likely to leave, with Hakan Calhanoglu and Alex Cordaz their only signings to date.

Inter are also attempting to extend the terms of certain players. The club confirmed on Tuesday that veteran defender Aleksandar Kolarov had signed a new one-year deal, while striker Lautaro Martinez is expected to agree to an improved deal.

Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed the signing of full-back Achraf Hakimi from Inter on a five-year deal.

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