Milan have confirmed the signing of Soualiho Meite from Torino on an initial loan deal until the end of the season with the option to buy.

The 26-year-old midfielder is the Serie A leaders' first signing of the January transfer window and will reportedly cost an additional €9.5million to sign permanently at the end of the campaign.

Meite makes the switch to San Siro with two and a half years of Serie A experience behind him, having arrived at Torino from Monaco in July 2018.

He made 82 league appearances for Torino, including 11 starts this season.

Milan announced the loan capture on their official website on Friday, with Meite to wear the number 18 jersey.

The former France-Under 20 international has also previously represented Auxerre, Lille and Bordeaux.

Erling Haaland is one of the sought-after players in world football.

The Borussia Dortmund forward can reportedly take his pick from Europe's elite.

But if his agent Mino Raiola has his way, Camp Nou could be Haaland's next destination.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND COULD LEAVE BVB AT SEASON'S END

Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland could leave the Bundesliga club for Barcelona at the end of the season, according to TV3 program Onze.

Haaland has been linked with the likes of Barca, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus following his exploits for Dortmund.

The Norway international forward reportedly has a €75million (£66.8m) release clause at the end of his second season in Dortmund, though he could depart sooner rather than later.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fabrizio Romano says United are not working on a deal to sign Madrid captain Sergio Ramos. The Spanish superstar is out of contract at the end of the season, and he has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain, Juve, City, Chelsea and Liverpool. A move to Liverpool is reportedly not on the horizon due to his role in the injury to Mohamed Salah in the 2018 Champions League final.

City have joined Serie A champions Juve in the race to sign Sassuolo star Manuel Locatelli, reports the Daily Mail.

- According to Sky Sport Italia, Sportitalia and Tuttomercatoweb, Milan are set to meet with free agent Mario Mandzukic over the next 24 hours to discuss a short-term deal. Staying at San Siro and Sky Sport Italia says the Rossoneri are close to signing Torino midfielder Soualiho Meite on loan with the option to buy.

Arsenal are interested in Barca goalkeeper Neto, claims Sky Sports. With backup Runar Alex Runarsson struggling in London, the Gunners are hoping to bring in Neto on loan.

- Marca reports Barca are targeting Valencia star Jose Gaya to bolster their left-back position, while Villarreal's Alfonso Pedraza is another option.

Juventus are set to complete the signing of American defender Bryan Reynolds from MLS club Dallas, says Romano. The 19-year-old will join Benevento until June, before linking up with Juve.

Stefano Pioli was glad to see Zlatan Ibrahimovic get another 45 minutes under his belt in Milan's penalty shoot-out win over Torino.

Ibrahimovic, 39, made his return from injury off the bench against the same opponent in Serie A on Saturday, but started and played 45 minutes three days later as Milan reached the Coppa Italia quarter-finals with a 5-4 penalty shoot-out victory.

Milan head coach Pioli was happy to see the forward, who has scored 10 goals in seven Serie A matches this season, get more game time after being out for seven weeks.

"We wanted to give him a longer time compared to the previous championship game. We preferred to let him play from the beginning due to his characteristics," he said, via Sky Sport.

"This time will be used to improve his condition in view of the next championship match."

The clash at San Siro finished 0-0 before Hakan Calhanoglu scored the decisive penalty in the shoot-out after Ciprian Tatarusanu had denied Tomas Rincon.

It meant Milan reached the Coppa Italia quarter-finals for the 12th consecutive season.

"I am lucky to have a team that knows how to fight, knows how to play, knows how to grit its teeth in a difficult match even for the qualities of our opponents," Pioli said.

"For the many occasions we had, we could have avoided even reaching penalties, but we went beyond physical and mental fatigue and this is a desired qualification."

Milan, who are three points clear atop the Serie A table, visit Cagliari on Monday.

Milan booked a place in the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia with a penalty shoot-out victory over Torino at San Siro following a goalless draw after extra time.

The Serie A leaders eased to a 2-0 win when the sides met in the league on Saturday but found it a lot tougher to break down their opponents - 28 points worse off in the league - in Tuesday's cup tie.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic squandered the best early opening on his first start since November 22 and Milan then dominated the second half, twice hitting the post and having a penalty shout turned down.

Neither side could find a way through in the additional 30 minutes, but it was the hosts who prevailed on spot-kicks to set up a tie with Fiorentina or Inter - Hakan Calhanoglu scoring the decisive penalty after Ciprian Tatarusanu had denied Tomas Rincon.

Stefano Pioli had no doubt Milan would produce an instant response to their setback against Juventus, though he was again left counting the cost of injuries and suspension following the win over Torino. 

Serie A leaders Milan saw their unbeaten league start come to an end in a 3-1 reverse in midweek, a game that saw Davide Calabria have to deputise in midfield. 

However, the Rossoneri continued their title tilt with a 2-0 triumph over Torino thanks to first-half goals from Rafael Leao and Franck Kessie. 

"I must admit, I was not at all surprised by this performance," Pioli told DAZN. 

"I know these lads and expected them to give this kind of a response. The first half was excellent, particularly in terms of quality, and we inevitably came under pressure during the second half against a Torino side in good form."

However, Leao will miss Milan's next game through suspension due to an accumulation of yellow cards, while Sandro Tonali left the game on a stretcher and Brahim Diaz picked up a knock. 

"We don’t have any news yet, we'll have to see, they both got nasty knocks," Pioli added of the injured duo. 

"What does disappoint me is losing Leao for the next game, because I've never seen a player booked for simulation in midfield. I don't think that was in any way fair or a real understanding of the situation." 

There was some positive news as Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his comeback from a calf injury late off the bench having been expected to play no part. 

"We knew that if he passed the final test tomorrow in training, he'd be ready for a small portion of the game," Pioli said. 

"The muscular injury is behind him now, we will see what to do in the Coppa Italia. Zlatan is unique, we hope to have him in full shape as quickly as possible."

Milan bounced back from their midweek defeat to Juventus by overcoming Torino 2-0 at San Siro to take a four-point lead at the top of Serie A. 

Stefano Pioli's team suffered their first loss of the season last time out but produced a response worthy of champions, turning in an accomplished display on Saturday. 

With Zlatan Ibrahimovic making a return off the bench following his recovery from injury, Rafael Leao opened the scoring before Franck Kessie's penalty made it 2-0. 

Torino had a penalty of their own overturned in the second half but Andrea Belotti's poor header to end a rare attack summed up a disappointing performance, meaning their long wait for a league win at Milan goes on.

The hosts managed four attempts by the 17th minute and their dominance told when Theo Hernandez found Brahim Diaz, whose slick first-time pass played in Leao to dispatch a finish which the watching Ibrahimovic would have been proud of.

Torino's frustration was compounded seven minutes later when Diaz drew a hefty, last-ditch tackle from Belotti.

Referee Fabio Maresca pointed to the spot and despite checking with VAR, found no reason to change his decision. Kessie calmly sent Salvatore Sirigu the wrong way.

The crossbar prevented Ricardo Rodriguez pulling one back against his former club with a superb free-kick – Torino's first shot – while Sirigu made a brilliant stop to deny Kessie on the stroke of half-time.

Torino thought they had a lifeline when Simone Verdi went down under pressure from Sandro Tonali but, after initially giving the penalty, referee Maresca overturned his decision following a check. Tonali came off worse from the collision too, the former Brescia midfielder having to be taken off on a stretcher.

Belotti wasted his first sight of goal by heading tamely at Gianluigi Donnarumma, who pulled off a fantastic 90th-minute stop to keep out Jacopo Segre's deflected attempt to stem any danger of a late Torino comeback.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic could feature for Milan for the first time in seven weeks when the Serie A table toppers host Torino on Saturday.

The 39-year-old produced scintillating early season form, scoring 10 goals in six top-flight matches following a bout of coronavirus to establish Stefano Pioli's side as the pacesetters in the Scudetto race.

However, Ibrahimovic suffered a hamstring strain after netting a brace in a 3-1 win at Napoli on November 22, before a calf injury in training last month further delayed his return.

Pioli told reporters on Friday that he did not expect the former Sweden international to return but he was listed in a 24-man squad published on Milan's website on the day of the game.

The Rossoneri's lead at the Serie A summit is down to a point after they suffered a first league defeat of the season at home to Juventus in midweek, the reigning champions running out 3-1 winners as Federico Chiesa scored twice.

Milan's form without Ibrahimovic this season has held up very well, with a 70 per cent win ratio in the matches without him edging 66.7 per cent from four wins and two draws with him on the field in Serie A.

However, Pioli's men average slightly more goals (2.3 to 2.1), shots (17 to 15.6) and crosses (12.8 to 11.2) per 90 minutes with Ibrahimovic as their attacking spearhead.

Will Paul Pogba return to Turin?

Pogba's future at Manchester United is in doubt, with the World Cup-winning Frenchman reportedly looking to leave the Theatre of Dreams.

Juventus are keen to re-sign Pogba – who initially left United for the Italian giants in 2012 before returning to Manchester four years later.

 

TOP STORY – JUVE WANT POGBA REUNION

Signing Manchester United star Paul Pogba remains the dream for Juventus, according to Calciomercato.

Pogba is eyeing an Old Trafford exit amid growing links to former club Juve and LaLiga champions Real Madrid.

Juve are keen on reuniting with Pogba, though Sassuolo's Manuel Locatelli, Lyon star Houssem Aouar, Udinese midfielder Rodrigo De Paul and Roma sensation Nicolo Zaniolo are alternatives.

 

ROUND-UP

Andrea Pirlo insists Juventus' never-say-die spirit was to thank for their late 2-1 comeback win over Torino in Saturday's Derby della Mole clash.

Juve trailed to Nicolas Nkoulou's ninth-minute strike at the Allianz Stadium and would have been two down had Simone Zaza beat Wojciech Szczesny from a one-on-one.

But the hosts rallied late on and scored two headed goals from Juan Cuadrado crosses – Leonardo Bonucci netting an 89th-minute winner after Weston McKennie had equalised 12 minutes earlier.

It marked the first time Juve have won a league game in which they have trailed in since November 2019 and Pirlo praised the attitude shown by his players to dig deep and pick up a vital derby victory.

"When you lose every challenge, it becomes difficult to control the game," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"We were too static and never filled the box when we did manage to find some width to put a cross in. It's difficult against a five-man defence.

"We remembered after the break that the Juventus DNA is to put in heart and sacrifice. Once you can pin them back into their half, it becomes easier to get the breakthrough."

Paulo Dybala tamely curled into Salvatore Sirigu's hands from Juve's only on-target attempt of a below-part first half but the champions got three shots on target in the second period.

Pirlo brought on Aaron Ramsey and Alex Sandro with his side trailing by a goal and believes the substitutions played a part in the turnaround.

"Not everyone can always give 100 per cent, but those who came on provided determination, dynamism and attacking spirit, which is what won us the game," he said.

"When opposition teams clam up and are very organised, you have to keep moving the ball to create the spaces and stretch them out. 

"We didn't do that in the first half, we did after the break. If we lack heart, we don't move it as quickly either, and it all comes together. 

"Sometimes, it's not simple to find a breakthrough just by creating clean passing moves, you have to fight."

Juve were on the verge of a sixth draw in their opening 10 games for the first time since 1965-66 before skipper Bonucci's last-gasp winner in Turin.

And given the nature of his side's victory, with both goals coming from floated crosses into the box, Pirlo was asked if was a case of substance over style.

"If that's true, our DNA must remain at the centre of the whole team," he said. "At times, games do get messy, we concede after a few minutes and our opponents defend well.

"When you can't style your way through, you have to find other ways. We do have to move the ball more quickly, as otherwise we give the opposition more time to get back."

Juve are now up to third in the table, three points behind a Milan side who have a game in hand, and Pirlo's relief at full-time was clear to see.

"It's more exhausting as a player, very different as a coach, but the feeling of victory is the same," he said.

Torino's return of six points after 10 matches is their lowest Serie A tally since 2002-03 when they went down.

Head coach Marco Giampaolo, who took over in August, acknowledges his side need to improve after throwing away the lead in their last three league games.

"We lost this game due to details," he said. "Considering our current form, we played the way we had to play, and there were details that made the difference, both in attack and defence.

"Evidently, we still have more work to do. It's about how we track back, how we defend, how we cover the spaces, where our positioning is.

"We had done it all so well, but a few errors and we get punished."

Juventus scored twice inside the final 13 minutes to secure a scarcely deserved 2-1 win over Torino in the Derby della Mole on Saturday.

Andrea Pirlo's men cruised past Dynamo Kiev 3-0 in the Champions League in midweek, but they were badly off the pace against a Torino side who had only won once in Serie A prior to their visit to the Allianz Stadium. 

The visitors took a ninth-minute lead through Nicolas Nkoulou's first goal of the season and comfortably held Juve at bay for much of the match. 

Champions Juve maintained their unbeaten start to the season, though, thanks to headed goals in the 77th and 89th minutes from Weston McKennie and Leonardo Bonucci respectively.

 

 

Juventus can expect a lot more from Federico Chiesa after the Italy international opened his account for the club in midweek, according to Andrea Pirlo.  

The 23-year-old struggled initially following his two-year loan switch from Fiorentina in October, which Juve can make permanent for a reported total fee of €50million if certain conditions are met. 

He received a straight red card on his debut against Crotone and then failed to find the back of the net in his next seven appearances in Serie A and the Champions League.  

In three starts and one substitute appearance in the Italian top flight, he has taken just two shots and has the second-worst passing accuracy and dribble success rate for the Bianconeri.  

However, he has three assists to his name from the six chances he has created for his team-mates in those games.  

Chiesa finally registered his first goal in the 3-0 Champions League win over Dynamo Kiev on Wednesday and Pirlo expects more of the same in the coming weeks as he finds his feet at the Allianz Stadium.

"I ask a lot from Chiesa," Pirlo told Juventus TV ahead of the derby against Torino this weekend. 

"He's doing well. It's not easy to be catapulted from Fiorentina to Juventus, but he's a very good lad. 

"It took him time to adapt, but now he's growing after arriving with so much controversy and weight on him." 

Pirlo could become the first coach to remain unbeaten in his first 10 Serie A games since the competition moved to a three-points-for-a-win system in 1994. 

Standing in his way is a Torino side who have endured an abysmal start to the campaign.  

Marco Giampaolo's men have amassed just six points from their nine games, their worst start to a season since 2002-03. 

Pirlo, though, does not think his side will necessarily have it all their own way against their local rivals, as he expects a tough battle. 

"This is an important derby for the two sets of fans, it's always tense," he added.  

"It's nice to play, there are many emotions involved. I was lucky enough to be part of it several times, to win and score important goals. 

"Torino are built well and have an excellent coach. They play proactive football with excellent players in all departments." 

Juve go into the match fourth in Serie A, six points behind leaders Milan, having drawn five of their opening nine games.

Cristiano Ronaldo thanked "players, coaches and loyal opponents" after the Juventus star scored the 750th goal of his remarkable career.

Ronaldo reached the milestone with a simple finish 57 minutes into Juve's 3-0 win over Dynamo Kiev in their Champions League Group G clash on Wednesday.

It was his 75th across all competitions for Juve, who Ronaldo joined from Real Madrid – where he scored 450 goals – in 2018.

The 35-year-old, a five-time Ballon d'Or winner, reached that mammoth total for Madrid in just 438 matches across all competitions, following his then world-record move from Manchester United in 2009.

During his six-year stint at Old Trafford, he scored 118 times for the Red Devils.

Ronaldo, who recently surpassed the 100-goal mark for Portugal, becoming only the second male footballer to reach a century at international level after Iran's Ali Daei, is comfortably Madrid's all-time leading scorer, with 127 more goals than Los Blancos legend Raul, whose haul came from 741 appearances.

Despite missing several weeks of the campaign after testing positive for coronavirus, Ronaldo has been in fine form this season, having netted eight times from just four Serie A starts, though his strike against Dynamo was only his second in the Champions League this term.

Following his landmark achievement, Ronaldo used his official Twitter account to thank not only his team-mates and coaches – he has worked under the likes of Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and Zinedine Zidane – but also his opponents.

"750 goals, 750 happy moments, 750 smiles in the faces of our supporters," he wrote. 

"Thank you to all the players and coaches that helped me reach this amazing number, thank you to all my loyal opponents that made me work harder and harder everyday."

Ronaldo will now set his sights on goal 751 when Juve take on Torino on Saturday – he has scored three goals from his four Serie A appearances against the Bianconeri's city rivals.

Antonio Conte did not spare his Inter side from criticism despite a fine 4-2 comeback win over Torino and accused them of going backwards from last season.

Marco Giampaolo's struggling side deservedly led at the break at San Siro, thanks to Simone Zaza's splendid strike and former Inter wing-back Cristian Ansaldi doubling Torino's advantage with a 62nd-minute penalty.

From that point, Romelu Lukaku inspired a stunning turnaround, creating a goal for Alexis Sanchez before tapping in his team-mate's low cross in the 67th-minute.

The Belgium striker dispatched a penalty of his own six minutes from time and laid on for substitute Lautaro Martinez to complete the scoring.

Nevertheless, it was an abject first hour that commanded most of Conte's attention at the post-match news conference.

"Our approach wasn't the best, I didn't like what I saw," he said. "We should have been more ferocious and determined. Torino played in this fashion and we lost many duels.

"I understand there are difficulties relating to players returning from international duty, it isn't easy to get back into the swing of things and understand the importance of a match.

"We were lacking in this regard: during the first part of the game, we were lacking a competitive edge and ruthlessness. In the second half, however, we showed that we have something big in our locker, including in terms of our character: being 2-0 down could have destroyed us.

"It wasn't easy, and I'd like to compliment the guys on the reaction they displayed. We managed to score four goals and fight back, but we need to show a ruthless side at the right time.

"We also need to work hard to raise our concentration levels. Compared to how we finished last season, we've lost a lot of this, so we need to find that ferocity again."

Inter are a point behind champions Juventus and three shy of surprise leaders Sassuolo in a congested Serie A.

It is unlikely they would be so well placed without the exploits of Lukaku who now has 30 goals in 43 top-flight games for Inter. Only Brazil great Ronaldo (41 games) and Christian Vieri (43) have reached the landmark as swiftly, putting him in esteemed company.

After the game Lukaku told reporters the Nerazzurri are still not a "top team" - an assessment with which Conte concurred.

"I'm happy that Romelu has said those things, because we shouldn't pay attention to outside voices but follow our own path," he said.

"We need to have a desire to win that can be felt by our opponents even in the changing rooms. We've got a solid and intelligent group,

"I fully agree with what Romelu said. We've still got a long way to go to become a top team because in twelve games you shouldn't be forced to come from behind so often."

Christian Eriksen appears likely to leave Inter in January after the club's CEO Giuseppe Marotta said he will not keep players who want to be sold.

Eriksen cost Inter a reported €20million in January having refused to sign a new contract at Tottenham, thus allowing him to secure a cut-price move.

But having found himself on the periphery of the team during his latter days at Spurs, he was lacking momentum upon joining Inter and made only eight Serie A starts before the end of the 2019-20 season.

It appears Eriksen has done little to convince coach Antonio Conte he is worthy of a place in the team this term, with just three starts to his name in 2020-21 and he is yet to attempt a shot.

In 22 Serie A appearances for Inter, Eriksen has created just 27 chances, which is way behind Luis Alberto's 71 in that time, a high for midfielders in the league.

Similarly, Eriksen's three goal involvements (one scored, two assisted) is underwhelming compared to Serie A's most influential midfielders – Henrikh Mkhitaryan leads with 17 (nine goals, eight assists).

On top of that, Eriksen's passing – an area considered a strong point of his – has been lacklustre. He has an 83 per cent success rate with regards to distribution, which is unspectacular compared to others in similar roles.

Conte made it clear on Saturday that he feels Eriksen has had enough opportunities to make an impact and now the writing appears to be on the wall.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's 4-2 dramatic win over Torino, in which Eriksen was an unused substitute, Marotta told DAZN: "Conte has already answered exhaustively.

"I add that, clearly, we must not hold back a player when he asks to be transferred. We will have to make the right assessments.

"Right now he is available to Conte, who is using him in respect of the players and the club. For now, no requests have arrived from Eriksen, but at the right moment we will try to find the right agreements."

Romelu Lukaku inspired a remarkable second-half comeback as Inter recovered from 2-0 down to defeat Torino 4-2 and claim their first win for almost a month.

Marco Giampaolo's Torino came into the match with a solitary Serie A win to their name this season but belied that meagre return as the effervescent Simone Zaza crowned an enterprising first-half display with the opening goal.

A penalty from former Inter man Cristian Ansaldi made it 2-0 in the 62nd minute, although Alexis Sanchez swiftly reduced the arrears.

Sanchez turned provider for Lukaku to level in the 67th minute and the Belgium star kept his cool from the spot six minutes from the end of normal time, before Lautaro Martinez came off the bench to make it four shots on target and four goals for Inter in a crazy second half.

Inter struggled throughout the opening period and had a reprieve as Alessandro Bastoni hauled down Zaza when in on goal, only for the Torino forward to be penalised for handball.

Conte's men could not claim a lack of fair warning when Zaza latched on to Soualiho Meite's backheel in stoppage time and lashed a brilliant left-footed strike past Samir Handanovic.

Despite resuming on the front foot, Inter reached the hour without testing Salvatore Sirigu in the Torino goal, at which point their task got steeper.

After a long delay and a VAR review, Ashley Young was correctly penalised for kicking Wilfried Stephane Singo in the chest when he misjudged a clearance and Ansaldi dispatched his penalty down the middle of the goal.

That belatedly sparked Inter into life, with Lukaku driving at the Torino defence and hitting the bar, before making enough of a nuisance of himself in the ensuing scramble for Sanchez to thump into an unguarded net.

Torino were suddenly rattled and after Lukaku hit the outside of the post he tapped in Sanchez's low cross.

Nicolas Nkoulou became the latest defender to kick flesh – Achraf Hakimi, in his case – rather than the ball and the VAR call was consistent, leaving Lukaku to send Sirigu the wrong way.

The ex-Manchester United man then linked with Ivan Perisic in the sweeping move that got Martinez on the scoresheet via a simple finish.

 

Page 1 of 5
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.