Juventus have reportedly made contact with Christian Pulisic's camp as they begin the process of putting together a January offer for the out-of-favour Chelsea winger.

Pulisic, 24, has only started one game this season in all club competitions, and he was subbed off in the 60th minute. He also has made five appearances as a substitute, but the longest has lasted 26 minutes.

The United States international, who was signed from Borussia Dortmund for a £58million fee in January 2019, now finds himself on the outside looking in, and long-time admirers Juventus are seeking to capitalise on the potentially depreciated asset.

 

TOP STORY – JUVENTUS CONTACT PULISIC ABOUT SERIE A MOVE

According to Calciomercato, Pulisic has been "very fond of the Juventus management for some time" and he plans on leaving at the end of the season when he has one year remaining on his contract and more leverage.

While Pulisic may wish to see out the remainder of the season and give things a go with new boss Graham Potter, Chelsea are said to have set his price at a reasonable figure of £31m. If the Italian side view that as a fair price, and if Pulisic has not broken into a starting role by January, things could progress quicker than anticipated.

However, further Calciomercato reports claiming Juventus are eyeing moves for defenders Benoit Badiashile from Monaco and Evan Ndicka from Eintracht Frankfurt at the end of the campaign could imply they do not have the necessary funds to make any serious additions mid-season.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to iNews, Newcastle United are considering a £50m bid for Shaktar Donetsk's rising 21-year-old winger Mykhalo Mudryk

– Marca is claiming Real Madrid's "main target" at the end of the season will be Borussia Dortmund's prized English midfielder Jude Bellingham.

– Corriere dello Sport is reporting Chelsea plan to increase their previous offer of £44.5m for 26-year-old Inter defender Denzel Dumfries, and would be willing to loan him back to the Italian club for the remainder of the season if they can come to an agreement in January.

– With Manchester United reportedly ready to move on from goalkeeper David de Gea, Football Insider states they are monitoring Aston Villa's Emiliano Martinez as a replacement.

– RAC1 claims Real Madrid's Marco Asensio has already signed a preliminary contract with rivals Barcelona, with his Madrid contract set to expire at the end of this season.

Edin Dzeko and Denzel Dumfries guided Inter to a much-needed 2-0 win over 10-man Viktoria Plzen, kick-starting the Nerazzurri's Champions League campaign.

Defeat to Bayern Munich last Wednesday meant Inter needed to respond in the Czech Republic, and they never looked likely to drop points after Dzeko swept home in the first half.

Pavel Bucha's straight red card cemented Inter's superiority, with Dumfries making the points safe when Dzeko turned provider with 20 minutes remaining.

With Simone Inzaghi's men facing criticism after an inconsistent start to the season, the win provides a welcome boost ahead of the daunting prospect of back-to-back meetings with Group C rivals Barcelona.

Inter needed just 20 minutes to turn their dominance of possession into a deserved lead - Dzeko tucking a neat finish into the bottom-right corner.

Dzeko could have had a second when Marcelo Brozovic slipped him through on goal, but the forward's low effort was well saved by Jindrich Stanek.

Plzen were unable to test Andre Onana despite improving before the break, and were indebted to Stanek for saving Milan Skriniar's glancing header at full stretch three minutes into the second half. 

Dumfries missed a golden chance when he nodded over the crossbar from six yards out, but Plzen's chances of a comeback were left in tatters by Bucha's reckless challenge on Nicolo Barella, which saw him receive his marching orders following a VAR review.

The depleted hosts were put out of their misery in the 70th minute, Dumfries making amends as he latched onto Dzeko's pass and lifted a finish beyond Stanek.

What does it mean? Nerazzurri off the mark

Inter's meek defeat to Bayern led to an apology from chief executive Giuseppe Marotta, and the presence of two European heavyweights in Group C meant the Nerazzurri were under genuine pressure ahead of the trip to Plzen.

But Inzaghi's side produced the goods to boost their qualification hopes, ensuring Inter have still only started one Champions League campaign with back-to-back losses (under Roberto Mancini in 2006-07) in the process.

Dzeko steps up

With Romelu Lukaku injured and Lautaro Martinez starting on the bench, Inter's back-up strikers were handed an opportunity to shine on Tuesday.

Dzeko became the oldest player to play a Champions League game for Inter for over a decade last time out (since Javier Zanetti v Marseille in March 2012), but his cultured finish demonstrated the former Manchester City and Roma striker still has the quality to contribute.

Since Dzeko joined Inter in August 2021, only Martinez (28) has bettered his tally of 19 goals for the club in all competitions.

No joy for Plzen 

Few would have held out any hope for Viktoria Plzen after they were drawn into a group containing Inter, Barcelona and Bayern, and their back-to-back defeats have done little to reverse perceptions of them being Group C whipping boys.

Plzen have shipped 51 goals in just 20 Champions League matches, becoming just the second side to bring up an unwanted century in so few games; Malmo conceded their 50th Champions League goal in their 18th outing.

What's next?

Inter travel to Udinese for their next Serie A outing on Sunday, while Plzen host Slavia Prague in the Czech First League.

Denzel Dumfries scored a dramatic 95th-minute winner as Inter began their Serie A campaign with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Lecce, as Romelu Lukaku scored on his Nerazzurri return.

Lukaku required just 82 seconds to head home the opener on his second Inter debut, but Simone Inzaghi's side looked set to make a stuttering start when Assan Ceesay levelled three minutes after the break.

But substitute Dumfries was on hand to convert from a corner deep into stoppage time as Inter made a winning start to the new campaign.

Having watched champions Milan beat Udinese in their own season-opener early on Saturday, Inter ensured they matched their rivals' exploits at the outset of what is likely to be another thrilling title race.

 

There has not been a lot of movement among Inter's defensive stocks in recent years, with Milan Skriniar, Stefan De Vrij and Alessandro Bastoni providing continuity in front of Samir Handanovic.

Skriniar appears set to leave this off-season, however, after five years at the club.

The Nerazzurri are reportedly well-prepared in what looks set to be an active transfer window for them.

 

TOP STORY – INTER PLAN FOR SKRINIAR EXIT AS PSG MOVE NEARS

Inter have identified who they would want to replace Skriniar in the event he departs for PSG, according to Tuttosport and Corriere dello Sport.

Gleison Bremer and Nikola Milenkovic are viewed as possible replacements for the 27-year-old Slovakia international, as his move to Ligue 1 appears increasingly likely.

Skriniar's priority is to remain with Inter, where he has been since 2017 after signing from Sampdoria, but would not stand against a move to PSG if it helped Inter financially.

Bremer has reportedly already agreed personal terms with the Nerazzurri, while Milenkovic's agent met with club representatives this week.

ROUND-UP

Roma and Lazio are both keen to sign Napoli forward Dries Mertens, whose contract expires this off-season, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Denzel Dumfries is open to leaving Inter in order to join Erik ten Hag at Manchester United, the Daily Mail reports.

– Meanwhile, the Nerazzurri are set to sign Paulo Dybala on a three-year deal with his contract at Juventus expiring, per Goal.

– Bild claims that Jonjoe Kenny has committed to joining Hertha Berlin on a free transfer from Everton.

The Netherlands' draw with Poland felt like a defeat for Memphis Depay after he missed a potentially game-winning penalty in second-half stoppage time. 

Poland left Robert Lewandowski on the bench but went ahead in the first half through Matty Cash, and extended their lead via Piotr Zielinski four minutes after the restart at De Kuip.

Goals from Davy Klaassen and Denzel Dumfries restored parity just five minutes later and Cash's handball gave Depay a chance to secure all three points in the Nations League Group A4 game. 

However, the Barcelona attacker's spot-kick hit the post, making him the first Netherlands player to miss three penalties. 

"I missed it and unfortunately that can happen. I had the winner on my foot but I didn't score it," Depay told NOS. 

"I practice penalties and score them often enough. It just has to go in, because then we win the match. Now it feels like a defeat. 

"They sat back, especially in the first half, and then the spaces are small. They also took the lead when they hadn't really had a chance before it and they were then 10 [players] behind the ball. 

"We said at half-time that we had to stay calm. It was a blow [Poland going 2-0 up]. We fought, continue to play football and always believed in ourselves, but it was difficult."

Depay denied that wearing the captain's armband added any pressure after he failed to net the goal he needs to draw level with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in second place on the Netherlands' all-time scoring list.

"I don't think one has to do with the other," he said. "Captain or not, I always want to play well. This time it wasn't the case, but that can happen."

The Netherlands retained their three-point lead at the top of the group because Belgium were held to a 1-1 draw by Wales. 

Louis van Gaal admitted the mood in the dressing room was downcast, but was pleased with the character his team showed to mount a comeback.

"Memphis didn't play his best game. He should've scored the winner at the end. Luckily it's happening now. At the World Cup he will get them in," said Van Gaal.

"The guys sat in the dressing room afterwards as if they had lost, but we came back from 2-0 down. This was the first time we played against a team that was defending with 10 men.

"I'm very proud of my team for the resilience, the spirit and the way we played in the second half."

Memphis Depay missed a stoppage-time penalty that would have completed a sensational turnaround for the Netherlands, who consequently drew 2-2 with Poland. 

Despite leaving Robert Lewandowski on the bench for the entire Nations League Group A4 match, Poland put themselves in a commanding position through goals from Matty Cash and Piotr Zielinski. 

However, Davy Klaassen equalised two minutes later and within five the Netherlands were level thanks to Denzel Dumfries. 

A handball by Cash gifted Depay a chance to score the winner from the penalty spot, but the Barcelona attacker hit the upright and the spoils were shared. 

Poland took the lead when Cash picked up the ball on the right and drilled his first international goal into the bottom-left corner with a fine finish. 

Netherlands responded well but were two behind when Zielinski was teed up for a simple finish by Przemyslaw Frankowski following an excellent ball in behind by Krzysztof Piatek – though VAR was required to overturn an offside decision in the build-up. 

Klaassen quickly reduced the arrears when he volleyed Daley Blind's cross home and Louis van Gaal's men were soon level as Dumfries' deflected effort was permitted by VAR after the offside flag initially went up. 

Cash handled the ball after Lukasz Skorupski kept Depay at bay and referee Halil Umut Meler pointed to the spot having reviewed footage of the incident. 

Depay was unable to take advantage of the opportunity and he also had a header tipped over by Skorupski as Netherlands ended up missing out on the win. 

Liverpool's Champions League final loss seemingly signalled the end for Sadio Mane at Anfield.

Luis Diaz's January transfer and fresh links to further potential signings at Anfield may all lead to Mane's eventual departure. 

And he might not be the only Reds superstar looking to the exit.

TOP STORY – SALAH WEIGHS UP BARCELONA MOVE

Mohamed Salah has reconsidered his future at Liverpool after an offer from Barcelona, according to the Mirror.

The 29-year-old had reportedly informed close friends he was willing to commit his playing future to Liverpool, with his contract expiring at the end of next season and talks over a renewal ongoing.

But reports suggested Barca's subsequent promise to sign him on a free transfer at the end of next season has prompted the Egypt international to reconsider his options at Anfield.

If Salah does not confirm an extension this off-season, it brings a number of other clubs into play, opening the possibility of him leaving as a free agent after what would be six years. 

ROUND-UP

Sadio Mane has already asked Reds team-mate Thiago Alcantara if he can move into his house in the event he signs for Bayern Munich, the Daily Mail reports.

– Manchester United have yet to lodge an official bid for Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong, but the Catalan club are open to selling him, per Sport.

– United are also keen on signing Inter right-back Denzel Dumfries, Calciomercato claims.

– Thomas Tuchel's primary defensive target for Chelsea remains Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde, according to talkSPORT.

Inter went back to the top of the Serie A table with a routine 3-1 win against Roma at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on Saturday.

Goals from Denzel Dumfries, Marcelo Brozovic and Lautaro Martinez took the Nerazzurri to victory, continuing their excellent record against the team from the Italian capital, despite a late strike from Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

It was not the result or performance that former Inter coach Jose Mourinho will have been looking for, with the defeat coming as a big blow to the Giallorossi's hopes of European qualification.

Simone Inzaghi will have been very pleased with what he saw from his team, who move a point ahead of Milan in the race for the Scudetto having played the same number of games, with their city rivals facing Lazio in Rome on Sunday.

Inter took the lead just before the half-hour mark as some neat play from the home side saw Hakan Calhanoglu play a through ball to Dumfries, who ran onto it like a striker to slide the opener past Rui Patricio.

It was 2-0 just 10 minutes later as Brozovic found himself on the left side of the penalty area, before cutting inside Gianluca Mancini and firing into the far top corner of the net.

The third arrived early in the second half as a neat ball from Nicolo Barella found Martinez, whose shot was parried behind for a corner, but the Argentine headed home the resulting outswinging delivery from Calhanoglu.

There was nearly a calamitous fourth as a cross from the right was helped back to Patricio by Rick Karsdorp, and realising he could not pick the ball up, the Portugal international urgently kicked the ball away before Joaquin Correa could take advantage.

Mkhitaryan fired in a consolation past Samir Handanovic from just inside the box with five minutes remaining but it was too little too late for the visitors.

What does it mean? Nerazzurri look good for title run-in

This was a surprisingly comfortable win for Inter, coming up against a Roma side that had not been beaten in 12 Serie A matches, the longest unbeaten streak for the Giallorossi in a single league campaign since May 2016 (17 under Luciano Spalletti).

However, the ease with which they took a two-goal lead allowed them to manage the game from there, and in truth the visitors gave them very few problems.

Inter remain unbeaten in their last 10 Serie A matches against Roma (W4 D6). The last side to reach 10 straight matches without defeat against them in the competition was Milan between 1988 and 1996 (17).

Title credentials on show again

When Inter were beaten 2-0 at home by Liverpool in the Champions League and then again by Sassuolo in the league in late February, things looked bleak for Inzaghi's side.

However, they have gone unbeaten in 11 games in all competitions since then, and have won their last five, sealing a place in the Coppa Italia final and top spot in Serie A, for now.

Inter a special problem for Mourinho

Returning to one of his former clubs where he enjoyed so much success was meant to be a pleasure for the self-proclaimed "special one", but it was yet another day of misery for him.

Mourinho took charge of Inter for 76 Serie A games between 2008 and 2010, averaging 2.2 points per game. After this defeat, the Nerazzurri are the only team against which the Portuguese has lost 100 per cent of his matches against (among sides he has faced more than once in the competition).

What’s next?

Inter travel to Bologna on Wednesday for more Serie A action, while Roma head to England to face Leicester City in their Europa Conference League semi-final first leg on Thursday.

Kieran Trippier has long been linked with a move back to England.

The 31-year-old full back has plied his trade in Spain for the past two-and-a-half years.

Trippier spent time with Manchester City, Burnley and Tottenham before joining Atletico Madrid, but seems set for a Premier League return next month.

 

TOP STORY – ATLETICO TO PERMIT TRIPPIER MOVE

Atleti are set to allow England international Trippier to join Newcastle United in January according to the Daily Mail.

The report claims that Atleti are hoping for £15million (€18m) from cashed-up Newcastle, who need reinforcements in their bid to avoid relegation.

Atleti will let the deal progress if they can find a suitable replacement for the defender during January.

ROUND-UP

- Tuttosport claims Juventus will switch their attention to signing an attacking player in January to boost their Champions League qualification hopes, with Manchester United pair Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial, Paris Saint-Germain's Mauro Icardi and Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in their sights.

- AS reports that Eden Hazard does not want to leave Real Madrid in the January transfer window, despite struggling for impact with Los Blancos.

Chelsea are set to make a move for Wolverhampton's Ruben Neves according to TodoFichajes. Thomas Tuchel wants to reinforce the midfield with Saul Niguez having underwhelmed since joining in August.

Real Madrid are plotting a move to sign Internazionale's Netherlands international Denzel Dumfries reports Defensa Central.

- Veteran Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho is set to extend his stay with Manchester City, scuppering interest from Atletico Mineiro, reports Sport Witness.

Alexis Sanchez was on the scoresheet as Serie A leaders Inter brushed aside Salernitana 5-0 at Stadio Arechi on Friday.

Linked with a possible January move to Barcelona in recent days, the Chile forward was handed just his third league start of the season and repaid coach Simone Inzaghi with his first top-flight goal since May.

Ivan Perisic and Denzel Dumfries had already put the Nerazzurri comfortably in control in the first half, the latter scoring his side's 100th league goal of 2021.

Substitutes Lautaro Martinez and Roberto Gagliardini added fourth and fifth goals for Inter, who now lead Serie A by four points with one game left this year.

Inter needed only 10 minutes to take the lead, Perisic given a free header six yards out from Hakan Calhanoglu's corner.

Edin Dzeko glanced a Dumfries cross wide before Salernitana came within inches of an equaliser against the run of play, Joel Obi denied a goal against his old club by Samir Handanovic after being played through by Franck Ribery.

Just three minutes later, Dzeko sent Dumfries racing through and the wing-back's strike crashed off the underside of the bar and, although it bounced away from goal, it had clearly crossed the line.

Dzeko should have nodded in a third before the break but managed to steer the ball wide after goalkeeper Vincenzo Fiorillo had flapped at thin air.

Yet Inter only needed six minutes of the second half to make it 3-0 after all. After a promising Salernitana attack broke down, Sanchez sparked a counter-attack before racing up the pitch and firing low past Fiorillo from Calhanoglu's pass.

Martinez, who came on for Sanchez, swept home from the middle of the box after the ball fell kindly to him, and Gagliardini drilled in a fifth with three minutes of normal time left.

Edin Dzeko was on target against his former side as Inter inflicted a 3-0 defeat on Jose Mourinho's Roma in Saturday's one-sided Serie A contest.

Mourinho was facing off against Inter in the league for the first time since guiding the club to a magical treble in 2009-10 – the second of two successful seasons at San Siro – but he suffered a painful reunion at the Stadio Olimpico.

Hakan Calhanoglu opened the scoring directly from a corner and then teed up Dzeko, who spent six seasons with Roma prior to swapping clubs in August, before Denzel Dumfries added a third in the first half.

Inter lost Joaquin Correa to a hamstring injury but eased to victory as they moved to within a point of leaders Milan. Napoli have a chance to return to the summit when they face Atalanta later on Saturday.

 

Roma have kept the most home clean sheets of any Serie A side in 2021 with 10, including four in their past five games, but they conceded after 15 minutes as Calhanoglu's corner caught Rui Patricio out at his near post.

The champions doubled their lead nine minutes later through Dzeko, who ended a six-game scoring drought in the league by turning home first time after being picked out by Calhanoglu.

Shortly after Dzeko had been denied by a good Patricio save, right wing-back Dumfries converted Alessandro Bastoni's cross with a diving header to put Inter out of sight by the 39-minute mark.

Roma were without a number of key players, including Lorenzo Pellegrini and Tammy Abraham, and that told as they struggled to find a way back into the match in a straightforward victory for Inter.

This should have been a season for Inter fans to enjoy, on the back of a title triumph and with European football returning to some semblance of normality.

Instead, they have lost coach Antonio Conte, top scorer Romelu Lukaku and standout wing-back Achraf Hakimi. Talk of a Tottenham move for Lautaro Martinez – seemingly linked to Harry Kane's future – has not been ruled out entirely.

It leaves the reigning Serie A champions picking up the pieces, with the club's dire financial situation dampening hopes of a successful title defence.

Although there have also been new arrivals, Simone Inzaghi and a 35-year-old Edin Dzeko clearly are not in the same class as Conte and Lukaku.

Inter will be slightly different this season and it is highly likely they will be slightly worse for it.

Downgrade to Dzeko

In Lukaku, Inter have sold a player in his prime coming off his best campaign to date. In Dzeko, the Nerazzurri have brought in a veteran whose Serie A career just plunged to new depths.

Lukaku netted 24 times en route to Inter's Scudetto, while Dzeko's final year with Roma brought only seven league goals.

The Bosnia-Herzegovina international did play a mere 1,825 minutes, but it was his poor form while on the pitch that saw him limited to 20 starts despite featuring in 31 matchday squads.

Dzeko's shot conversion rate of 10 per cent was higher than in two of his seasons in the capital and only margainally lower than 2017-18's 10.5 per cent when he scored 16 times. The decreasing frequency of his attempts was an issue, managing just 3.5 shots per 90 minutes, a trough to contrast to the 2016-17 peak of 5.3.

Inter's new forward fell some way short of his expected goals (xG) total of 13.3 – a failing only partially explained by the expertise of opposition goalkeepers, who prevented 3.6 Dzeko goals according to expected goals on target (xGOT) data, which analyses the quality of the shot rather than the quality of the chance.

Lukaku, on the other hand, outstripped his xG figure of 23.8, even if his attempts were only worth 22.9 xGOT.

It is not only as a scorer that Dzeko slips below Lukaku's standards either. Chelsea's latest record buy was a creative force last term, providing 11 assists. Dzeko had three.

 

Indeed, Lukaku crafted a team-high 52 chances – or 9.4 per cent of Inter's 552 shots across the campaign – while Dzeko laid on 29 (5.3 per cent of Roma's attempts). Dzeko was more involved in build-up play than Lukaku, averaging 49.7 open play sequences per 90 to his predecessor's 44.4, but he could not match Lukaku in terms of passing accuracy (68.8 per cent), passing accuracy in the opposition half (64.8) or passing accuracy in the final third (58.5).

Unsurprisingly, the former Giallorossi favourite also cannot play at the same pace as Lukaku. Dzeko was involved in only six fast breaks to Lukaku's league-leading 17, although he did score twice from such situations. Roma were second in the league in this regard – behind Inter.

But even if the Nerazzurri do slow slightly with Dzeko in the side, his work in moving the ball up the field is still comparable to Lukaku's. He had more carries (7.9) and progressive carries (4.5) than Lukaku last term, while operating in the same ballpark for carry distance (92.6 metres), attempted dribbles (2.9) and completed dribbles (1.3) – all numbers per 90.

The percentage of his touches Dzeko took in the opposition box (17.3) tallied closely (18.3 per cent for Lukaku), too, with the previously prolific attacker's game peculiarly now suited to work away from goal.

An aerial force

As part of his link-up play, Dzeko offers a clear focal point. His 60.4 per cent success rate in aerial duels ranked fourth among Serie A forwards with 100 or more such tussles. Lukaku won only 42.9 per cent in a category led by Zlatan Ibrahimovic (65.7 per cent). Dzeko's 52 flick-ons also put him fourth.

But Dzeko's heading ability does also give Inter a greater threat inside the penalty area. The striker was joint-third for headed attempts (20, excluding blocks), with his 1.0 per 90 double Lukaku's 0.5. As with his feet, Dzeko was wasteful in this regard, scoring only one header while new Inter colleague Martinez nodded in four goals, but a greater sample size shows the danger he can pose. Since his 2015 Serie A debut, Dzeko leads the way for headed attempts (203, excluding blocks) and his 16 goals – making up 18.8 per cent of his total of 85 – are tied for third.

Dzeko therefore looks a good fit in an Inter side who last season topped the charts in succeeding with 24.6 per cent of their open play crosses, leading to a joint-high 92 headed shots and 14 headed goals.

Whether that crossing quality is still at the club is another matter.

Inter's wings clipped

Only nine defenders in Serie A last term attempted 100 crosses, but Hakimi, marauding up the right, was one of them. Within that select group, his crossing accuracy of 23.9 per cent ranked third – just ahead of Leonardo Spinazzola, another exciting wing-back and Dzeko's former Roma team-mate (23.5 per cent).

Hakimi's departure for Paris Saint-Germain robs Inter of that quality and the 36 chances he created. There is pressure on Denzel Dumfries, a €12.5million recruit, to fill that void. He created 41 chances in the Eredivisie last season, yet only five of his 50 crosses were successful.

That ability to deliver from wide positions is merely one of Hakimi's array of attributes, too, with the €60m man carrying the ball 22.7 metres further per 90 than Dumfries while also contributing a goal or assist every 178.1 minutes, compared to the Netherlands international's 308.5 minutes.

 

Inter should at least have increased creativity from midfield, where free signing Hakan Calhanoglu offers an upgrade on the recuperating Christian Eriksen. Calhanoglu, playing for rivals Milan, had league highs in chances created (98) and chances created from set-pieces (50) in 2020-21. Milan led Serie A in goals from set-pieces (16, excluding penalties), but Inter ranked joint-fourth (16) and will surely now improve.

Trying to run it back

If mixed results are anticipated from direct replacements for Lukaku, Hakimi and Eriksen, those moves at least indicate some unlikely joined-up thinking in spite of the chaotic nature of this off-season. Inzaghi's appointment also suggests Inter plan to change little from last season, even with the numerous notable departures.

Like Conte and Inter, Inzaghi's Lazio consistently lined up with a 3-5-2 formation in 2020-21, with their approaches also not dissimilar.

Lazio's press was a little more aggressive, allowing 11.6 passes per defensive action to Inter's 12.8 and also engaging in more pressed sequences (543) despite having slightly more possession (52.9 per cent) than Inter (52.0 per cent). Lazio also scored eight goals from high turnovers.

However, between the replacement of a speedy Lukaku with a slower Dzeko and Inter's pre-existing preference for build-up attacks (119) over direct attacks (80), Inzaghi's playing style might have to be a little more patient this term, even if the new number nine's physical presence will give them an outlet.

These are minor tweaks, though, that should mean Inzaghi can adapt to Inter or Inter to Inzaghi.

Defending champions have rarely had it so tough when preparing for a new campaign, but Inter have done all they can to ensure a new-look side can continue to find success.

Denzel Dumfries is relishing the chance to impress at Inter after the right-back joined the Serie A champions from PSV.

Inter confirmed the signing of Dumfries shortly after revealing striker Edin Dzeko had completed his switch from domestic rivals Roma.

Dumfries, who was impressive for the Netherlands at Euro 2020, scoring twice during the tournament, is believed to have been purchased for a fee of €12.5million plus add ons.

The 25-year-old has signed a four-year deal with the Nerazzurri.

Dumfries appears set to be the like-for-like replacement for Achraf Hakimi, who was sold to Paris Saint-Germain earlier in the transfer window.

Hakimi's sale was required as Inter looked to ease financial difficulties. The club have also seen star striker Romelu Lukaku depart to Chelsea for a reported £97.5m (€115m).

"The feeling is amazing," Dumfries told Inter TV. "I'm very happy to join the champions of Italy. It's a big opportunity for me and I'm happy to be here.

"I'm a wide defender and I like to attack a lot. I think I'll fit in at Inter as they play with five at the back, as I have done with the Netherlands.

"I know which Dutch players have played here before. It's an honour to join them on the list.

"I hope we can have a great season, maybe win another league title and do well in the Champions League. I can't wait to get started."

Dumfries excelled for Frank de Boer's Netherlands team at Euro 2020, despite the Oranje's disappointing exit to the Czech Republic in the round of 16.

Playing as a wing-back, Dumfries started all four of his country's matches, playing 315 minutes in total.

Inter look set to continue with a back three under new boss Simone Inzaghi, who used a similar system at Lazio, meaning Dumfries will likely slot straight into the role that Hakimi occupied last term.

Dumfries has big shoes to fill, though. Hakimi played in 37 league matches in 2020-21, with only Lautaro Martinez (38) featuring more in the top flight under Antonio Conte during the campaign.

Hakimi scored seven times, a total only bettered in Inter's ranks by Martinez (17) and Lukaku (24), while he also provided eight assists.

His crossing was a particular threat, registering an accuracy of 25.52 per cent from 145 crosses from open play. Based on Euro 2020, this is something that Dumfries will need to improve, given none of his six crosses were classed as successful.

However, his presence in the area was often enough to help the Netherlands break down defences, and only Memphis Depay (24) had more touches in the opposition box than Dumfries.

Dumfries also contested (58) and won (28) more duels than any other Dutch player at Euro 2020, recording a success rate of 48.28 per cent, a figure that is not dissimilar to Hakimi's rate of 50.05 per cent from 333 duels in Serie A last season.

Chelsea have been in the market for a new striker and are closing in on their man.

The European champions had been linked with Borussia Dortmund's prolific Norway international Erling Haaland.

But have turned their attention to Inter striker Romelu Lukaku, with two bids reportedly rejected last week.

 

TOP STORY - LUKAKU TO COMPLETE CHELSEA MOVE

Lukaku will finalise his £97.5m (€115m) move from Inter to Chelsea after linking up with the Blues, reports Sky Sports.

The report claims the Belgium international flew into London on Wednesday evening, after a stop in Monte Carlo.

Lukaku had already undergone the first part of his medical and agreed in principle to the deal, with the paperwork being sorted with lawyers before he inks the five-year deal worth £200,000 (€236,000) per week.

 

ROUND-UP

- As the dominoes fall, Edin Dzeko is set to join Inter from Roma with a contract agreed until June 2023 according to Fabrizio Romano.

- Sky Sports reports that Real Madrid are monitoring Chelsea's Germany defender Antonio Rudiger . Madrid lost centre-backs Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane this off-season.

- Roma head coach Jose Mourinho will speak with Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham on Thursday to try to convince him to join the Eternal City club. According to The Mirror. Chelsea and Roma have agreed terms on a £34m (€40m) deal.

- Sky in Italy claims Inter have tabled a €12m bid for PSV Eindhoven right-back Denzel Dumfries, although the Dutch club reportedly want €14m for the Netherlands international.

- Inter are also interested in Napoli skipper Lorenzo Insigne, according to Sky in Italy. The Serie A champions are trying to see if they can sign the Italy international, whose contract expires next year, for €25m.

- Arsenal are in advanced talks with Sheffield United to sign goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, according to Football London.

- Sunsport reports Manchester United are finally expected to unveil Varane as a new signing from Real Madrid on Thursday.

Italy ended their 53-year wait for a second European Championship crown with victory over England in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley.

Leonardo Bonucci cancelled out an early Luke Shaw goal to take the game to extra time and then penalties, which the Azzurri edged 3-2 to inflict heartbreak on hosts England.

Italy's triumph was deserved on the basis of the qualifying campaign and the tournament itself; Roberto Mancini's side have now gone 34 games unbeaten in all competitions.

England can also be proud of their run, and it is perhaps no surprise that the two finalists dominate Stats Perform's best XI of the tournament.

Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo is also included in our Opta data-driven side, along with players from Switzerland, Spain, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

 

Goalkeeper: Yann Sommer (Switzerland)

Gianluigi Donnarumma may have been named UEFA's Player of the Tournament for his penalty shoot-out heroics against Spain and Italy, but Sommer gets the nod after enjoying an incredible tournament.

The Swiss goalkeeper saved a Kylian Mbappe penalty in his side's shoot-out win against France in the last 16 and made a tournament-high 21 saves in total, 10 of those coming in the eventual defeat to Spain on penalties in the quarter-finals.

 

Right-back: Denzel Dumfries (Netherlands)

Dumfries' reputation was certainly enhanced during Euro 2020, even if the Netherlands were sent packing by the Czech Republic at the last-16 stage.

He became just the second ever Netherlands player, after Ruud van Nistelrooy, to score in his first two European Championship appearances, while also helping his side to a couple of clean sheets in his four outings.

Centre-back: Leonardo Bonucci (Italy)

Juventus defender Bonucci was a rock at the heart of Italy's defence, particularly in the quarter-finals when frustrating Belgium's plethora of attackers.

No defender made more interceptions than the 34-year-old (12, level with Ukraine's Mykola Matvienko), and it was his bundled finish that drew his country level against England in the final.

Centre-back: John Stones (England)

England conceded just two goals all tournament, with only one of those coming in open play. A large part of that was down to ever-present defender Stones, who carried his club form with Manchester City onto the international stage.

Stones won 20 aerial challenges – the joint-second most of any defender in the competition, one behind Harry Maguire – and his 447 successful passes placed him behind only Jordi Alba (458) and club-mate Aymeric Laporte (644).

Left-back: Luke Shaw (England)

Shaw was left out for England's opening game against Croatia, but the full-back soon made himself a consistent presence. He was even compared to the great Roberto Carlos after starring with two assists against Ukraine in the quarter-finals.

The Manchester United defender provided three assists in total and netted the fastest-ever goal in a European Championship final with his volley against Italy. Those four goal involvements were bettered only by Patrik Schick (five) and Ronaldo (six).

 

Central midfield: Marco Verratti (Italy)

The Paris Saint-Germain midfielder was a major fitness doubt for the tournament and sat out Italy's first two matches, but boy did he make an impact in the following five games.

Since his first game against Wales on June 20, all-rounder Verratti ranked first among all midfielders at Euro 2020 for chances created (14), passes completed (388), progressive carries (59), tackles (18) and recoveries of possession (37).

Central midfield: Pedri (Spain)

A number of young players enjoyed a breakthrough tournament at this edition of the Euros, arguably none more so than Barcelona superstar in the making Pedri, who made more passes in the opposing half (348) than any other player at the Euros.

He became the second European player to start as many as five games at the age of 18 or below in major tournament history, after Northern Ireland's Norman Whiteside. Proving age is just a number, Pedri completed all 55 of his passes in regular time in the semi-final loss to Italy.

Right wing: Federico Chiesa (Italy)

Versatile wide player Chiesa was always going to be one to watch at the Euros, having stepped up on the big occasions for Juventus last season with goals in key matches, including their Coppa Italia triumph against Atalanta.

He scored Italy's extra-time opener in their last-16 win against Austria and put his side ahead against Spain in the semi-finals. He was not afraid to shoot – only three others did so on more occasions – and was arguably Italy's most dangerous player in the final.

Attacking midfield: Patrik Schick (Czech Republic)

Schick not only scored the joint-most goals, his five strikes putting him level with Ronaldo, but he was responsible for surely the most memorable one of the lot - a 49.7-yard lob against Scotland, the furthest ever distance a goal has been scored at a European Championships.

The Bayer Leverkusen forward found the net in all but one of his side's games, with three of his goals coming from open play, compared to just two for Golden Boot winner Ronaldo.

 

Left wing: Raheem Sterling (England)

England's run to the final would not have been possible if not for the fine form of Sterling, the Manchester City winger responsible for his side's first three goals in the competition.

That includes winning strikes against Croatia and the Czech Republic in the group stage, followed by the opener against Germany in the last 16, before assisting Kane's early goal against Ukraine. Even when not scoring he was a real threat, leading the way with 20 dribbles completed – four more than next player on the list in Frenkie de Jong.

Centre-forward: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

Even though it was far from a vintage tournament for Ronaldo and dethroned champions Portugal, the Juventus superstar still claimed the Golden Boot accolade thanks to having one assist more than fellow five-goal forward Schick.

Ronaldo's 72 minutes per goal was the best return of any player to have played at least three times in the tournament. His haul also moved him level with Iran great Ali Daei as the all-time leading goalscorer in men's international football with 109, a record that he will get a chance to break later this year.

 

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