Title races are the best, aren't they?

Months of games, so many ups and downs, goals scored and conceded, and yet it can all still come down to the finest margins in the closing minutes of the last day.

To paraphrase Homer Simpson, the winner is showered with praise; the loser is taunted and booed until my throat is sore.

With one matchday left, the title races in both Serie A and the Premier League are going to the final 90 minutes. Milan and Manchester City have their destinies in their own hands, but Inter and Liverpool are looking to respectively pounce on any stumble.

There is the potential for exceptional drama in Italy and England, but can the Nerazzurri and the Reds have much hope of pulling off the improbable and wrestling the respective title from their rivals?

Stats Perform has taken a look at some of the more dramatic title races from recent history that show anything is possible.

Every goal matters

The Eredivisie provided about as tense a finish as you could imagine in 2006-07, with PSV Eindhoven and Ajax unsurprisingly the main characters.

A strong title defence from Ronald Koeman's PSV began with 18 wins from 21 games, and just one defeat.

However, losing four and drawing four of their next 12 games coupled with Ajax winning five of six leading into the final day meant they were neck and neck on points heading into the last game.

Despite being behind on goal difference, a tremendous effort from PSV saw them pip their rivals after an emphatic 5-1 win over Vitesse, while Ajax could only muster a 2-0 victory over Willem II, losing the title by a single goal.

When goals made no difference in LaLiga

In the same season, Real Madrid made a disappointing start in LaLiga, drawing their first game 0-0 with Villarreal at home before going on to lose seven of their first 21 league matches.

After drawing four games in a row between mid-February and mid-March, title hopes seemed to be over for Fabio Capello's men, only for nine wins in 11 games to send them into the final day level on points with Barcelona.

Barca thrashed Gimnastic 5-1 away from home to do their bit, but Madrid eased to a 3-1 win against Real Mallorca at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Blaugrana had a significantly better goal difference of +45 compared to Madrid's +26, but that mattered not as the tie-breaker came down to head-to-head record, which was in Los Blancos' favour having beaten Barca 2-0 at home and drawn 3-3 at Camp Nou.

"Agueroooooo!"

Following Sheikh Mansour's takeover of Manchester City in 2008, the club had grown year-on-year and by the 2011-12 season, felt they were ready to mount a challenge at the top of the Premier League.

Roberto Mancini's side started well enough, winning 11 of their first 12 games, but three defeats across December and January dented hopes, while two losses and two draws in a five-game period in March and April all but killed them.

That was until five wins in a row coincided with Manchester United losing to Wigan Athletic and dramatically drawing 4-4 with Everton at Old Trafford.

City beating United on matchday 36 swung things in the Sky Blues' favour, and they went into the last day needing only a win against lowly QPR to seal it.

In typical fashion, they made it hard work for themselves, finding themselves 2-1 down heading towards the 90th minute. United had won 1-0 at Sunderland, which meant City needed two goals or they would have lost the title in agonising fashion.

An Edin Dzeko header made it 2-2, before Mario Balotelli slid in Sergio Aguero for one of the most famous goals in English football history, giving City their first top-flight title since 1969.

 

The ultimate last day head-to-head

It was like something out of a Hollywood film. All the previous nine LaLiga titles had been won by Clasico giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, but in 2013-14, Atletico Madrid believed they could spoil the party.

Barca were the pacesetters, winning 13 of their first 14 games, while Real Madrid were struggling after losing to both Atletico and Barca.

Diego Simeone led his team to an incredible 16 wins from their first 18 games, but a 0-0 draw with Barca made it look like it would be the tightest of run-ins.

Indeed it was, with Real coming back to the party after an 18-match unbeaten run, though back-to-back defeats to Barca and Sevilla stopped them in their tracks.

Gerardo Martino's Barca were wobbling too, losing three out of seven games between February and March, and then drawing with Getafe and Elche to give Atletico their chance on the final day.

As if it could not have been more dramatic, Atletico went into the last game three points clear, but needing a point to clinch the title, away at Barcelona.

Alexis Sanchez opened the scoring for the Blaugrana, but Diego Godin's header handed the crown to Atletico.

When six were not on the beach

You may not be as familiar with this final day, but it stands as one of the most remarkable in the history of the game.

Never mind two or three, there were six clubs that could still claim the Ligue 2 title going into the final round of matches in 2016-17.

Strasbourg, Amiens, Troyes, Lens, Brest and Nimes all in with a shout with one game remaining, all separated by three points at most.

Technically, the drama was not really with the winner of the title, but the other automatic promotion spot that was up for grabs, with Strasbourg able to hold on to top spot following a nervy 2-1 win against Bourg-Peronnas, but it was a 96th-minute strike from Emmanuel Bourgaud sealing a 2-1 win at Stade Reims for Amiens that provided unbelievable drama, taking the aptly named Unicorns from sixth to second.

I did not think I would be advising Inter and Liverpool to go into their games with an "Amiens mindset", but there we are.

Inter coach Simone Inzaghi backed his side to respond from defeat at Bologna but conceded the Scudetto race is out of the Nerazzurri's hands.

Milan returned to the Serie A summit with victory at Lazio on Sunday and Inter initially made a positive response when Ivan Perisic struck after just two minutes and 53 seconds at the Stadio Renato Dall'Ara on Wednesday. 

That was the Nerazzurri's fastest league strike of the season but Marko Arnautovic equalised against his former club with his 13th league goal this term, his best tally in a single campaign in Europe's top five leagues.

A costly Ionut Radu error was then punished by substitute Nicola Sansone with nine minutes remaining as Inter dropped ground in the Scudetto race, the 2-1 defeat leaving them two points behind Milan with four games left.

Milan also have a superior head-to-head record against their neighbours and Inzaghi acknowledged that the title destination is no longer in his team's control.

"Now it is difficult but I know I have a team of great men who will do everything to end this championship well. Now we are no longer masters of our destiny," he told reporters after the game.

While appreciating the dent to Inter's title hopes after defeat at Bologna, who had previously not beaten Inter at home in 15 Serie A attempts, Inzaghi is refusing to give up hope.

"There are four games left, we have seen that it was a championship of surprises and games played to the end," he added. 

"There are still 12 points up for grabs and anything can happen."

Inzaghi was quick to defend Radu for his mistake when failing to control Perisic's pass that led to Sansone's winner, in what was the goalkeeper's first Serie A appearance of the season due to the injury of first-choice Samir Handanovic.

"There is disappointment as it is normal for there to be after a game lost in this way," he told DAZN. "The mood was not the best, Radu made a mistake like I or a striker and a midfielder can.

"When a goalkeeper makes a mistake, everything is highlighted more. Now we have to react to a burning defeat, facing one game at a time knowing that we are no longer masters of our destiny."

Inter will look to respond in their Scudetto push when they visit Udinese on Sunday.

Nicola Sansone scored a late winner as Inter relinquished their grasp on the Scudetto and failed to return to the Serie A summit after a 2-1 defeat at Bologna on Wednesday.

Milan regained top spot in the league with late victory at Lazio on Sunday and Inter made a good response in their game in hand at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara when Ivan Perisic struck after just three minutes.

Marko Arnautovic restored parity against his former side 25 minutes later, though, and Sansone profited from an Ionut Radu mistake with nine minutes remaining to seal an unlikely victory.

Defeat left Inter two points behind leaders Milan with four games left to play as the neighbours battle for the title.

Perisic blasted Inter into an early lead in expert fashion, nutmegging Musa Barrow before powering a left-footed thunderbolt into the top-right corner.

A stinging drive from Federico Dimarco tested Lukasz Skorupski, before Lautaro Martinez wastefully fired over a presentable rebound to double the lead.

Arnautovic then levelled things up by heading Barrow's left-wing cross into the bottom-right corner, while Denzel Dumfries spurned a headed chance from Perisic's centre at the other end.

Dimarco blazed over after the interval and twice tamely found Skorupski's hands when unmarked from the edge of the area, before the Bologna goalkeeper denied Milan Skriniar's goal-bound header.

Inzaghi sent on forwards Edin Dzeko and Alexis Sanchez in search of a late winner, but it was starting striker Martinez who headed over Hakan Calhanoglu's corner.

Radu then handed Bologna victory as he missed a simple Perisic pass backwards, with Sansone converting a simple tap in to punish the Inter goalkeeper.

What does it mean? Inter falter in Scudetto charge

Reigning champions Inter were unbeaten in 15 previous visits to Bologna in Serie A and dominated once more but were punished for failing to make their dominance pay against Miroslav Tanjga's side.

Indeed, the visitors fired 26 shots to Bologna's five, but the profligate nature of the Nerazzurri came back to haunt Simone Inzaghi's side. Inter will now have to rely on leaders Milan slipping up in their last four games to overturn the two-point deficit.

Awesome Arnautovic

Arnautovic came back to thwart his former side, with his first-half header dragging Bologna back into the contest.

The Austria international has scored 13 goals in Serie A this season, his highest tally in a single campaign across Europe's top five leagues.

Miserable Martinez

Martinez had scored four goals in three games across all competitions, including a Coppa Italia semi-final brace against Milan on Tuesday, but failed to leave his mark at Bologna.

The Argentina international squandered a great first-half opening, one of a game-high six shots he attempted, though the striker only found the target with one of those.

What's next?

Inter will look to respond in their title charge when they visit Udinese on Sunday, while Bologna travel to Roma on the same day.

Erik ten Hag appears as though he will have a huge say over his own Manchester United transfer targets.

The Dutchman has inked a three-year deal at Old Trafford, with the option for a further year.

Ten Hag will officially take over on July 1, with Ralf Rangnick remaining in interim charge.

A face familiar to the Premier League could now be headed to Old Trafford with Ten Hag from Ajax…


TOP STORY - TEN HAG TO BRING HALLER TO UNITED

Manchester United may make a move for Ajax striker Sebastien Haller in the off-season according to The Sun.

Haller currently plays under ten Hag, who will take over at United at the end of the campaign.

The Ivory Coast striker, who spent two years with West Ham United, has netted 33 goals in all competitions for Ajax this term.

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona are optimistic that they can land Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski in the off-season, reports Sport. Lewandowski is contracted with Bayern until 2023.

- Liverpool have contacted 22-year-old Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni about a move to England, claims Foot Mercato.

- Nicolo Schira claims that Inter are not interested in signing Bosnian midfielder Miralem Pjanic, contrary to reports. Pjanic is currently on loan at Besiktas from Barcelona.

- David de Gea and Manchester United are ready to enter into talks on a contract extension reports 90min.

- Fabrizio Romano claims that Luka Modric will ink a new deal with Real Madrid running until 2023.

Jose Mourinho has said he wants his former club Inter to win the Serie A title after his Roma were beaten 3-1 by the Nerazzurri on Saturday.

Goals from Denzel Dumfries, Marcelo Brozovic and Lautaro Martinez sent Inter top of the table at San Siro, though Henrikh Mkhitaryan pulled back a late consolation for the Giallorossi.

Having played the same number of games, Inter are now a point ahead of Milan and five beyond Napoli in the race for the Scudetto.

Milan face Lazio in Rome while Napoli travel to Empoli, both on Sunday.

When asked if losing to his former club made defeat any easier, Mourinho insisted not, though did concede that he is backing Simone Inzaghi's men to defend their title.

“No absolutely not," he said. "I want to win all the games. 

"I love Inter, Inter love me. Obviously now I can say that we don't play against Inter, Milan, Juve and Napoli, now I can say that I would like Inter to win the Scudetto. But before the game I was only focused on winning. 

"I love Inter but I love Rome and I love my job. We are paid to win."

Roma remain in fifth place, five points behind Juventus in the final Champions League spot having played a game more, and only two points ahead of Fiorentina and Lazio in sixth and seventh, having played two and one games more than both respectively.

Mourinho conceded that his opponents had too much on the day, describing Inter's players as "animals".

"They are too much Inter, the strongest team in the league," he said. "They have strong players on all aspects. 

"I say this with respect, there are many 'animals' in their team. To win against them you have to find them at a time when they are in trouble, as they were a few weeks ago, or to win against them you have to be perfect and we weren't. We have been good, but not perfect. 

"We did well but then we had a concentration break in the last 10-15 minutes of the first half. Then in the second half we conceded a goal from a set piece and my players knew it perfectly well because we had talked about it so much."

Roma had previously gone 12 games in Serie A without defeat, having not lost since the dramatic 4-3 reverse against Juventus at the Stadio Olimpico on January 9.

However, Mourinho did take solace in the fact it took a team like Inter to end that run.

"To lose after three months in Serie A, I prefer to lose against a team that is stronger than us."

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.

Lautaro Martinez admits he feels irritated by constant speculation over his Inter future, after the forward helped seal a 3-1 win over Spezia on Good Friday.

The Argentine struck in the second half to help confirm a crucial three points for the Serie A champions, moving them back to the summit – temporarily at least – ahead of rivals Milan.

Yet with his contract due to expire next year, talk over an impending exit has dogged Martinez for much of the season, with the striker starting on the bench at Stadio Alberto Picco.

Speaking afterwards, Martinez acknowledged that discussion over his next move is something that bugs him, alongside accusations that he has not put the effort in during the 2021-22 season.

"People talk a lot and I don’t like it," he said. "I’ve always given my best for Inter and I don’t like certain voices.

"I try to give my all, obviously I don’t like being on the bench, but when I entered I gave my all for Inter which is what counts here.

"I have always been calm, I work for the team, to lend a hand to my teammates, I am focused on my work and I don’t listen to everything they talk about.

"I think about my family, those who love me and Inter, so I always have to give my best."

Victory for Inter – though relatively unconvincing, despite overwhelming possession, and then given a late scare by a response from the hosts – keeps them in the thick of the title race.

It will give an extra charge to an already hot derby encounter with Milan when the two sides meet in the Coppa Italia semi-finals on Tuesday.

Martinez believes Simone Inzaghi's side looked to have turned a corner after dropping crucial points earlier in the new year, and stressed that their destiny is now of their own making.

"[We're] feeling good," he added. "We are doing a great job, we have lost some important points.

"We have now recovered and have everything in our hands. The path is still long, we have to recover and think about Tuesday."

Julio Cesar has backed his former manager Jose Mourinho to become the first coach to lift the Europa Conference League trophy, adding to his substantial European legacy.

Mourinho leads his Roma side into their quarter-final second leg against Bodo/Glimt on Thursday, looking to recover from a 2-1 first-leg loss in Norway.

Cesar played under Mourinho while at Inter, winning a historic treble in the 2009-10 season consisting of the Serie A title, Coppa Italia, and the Champions League.

The Portuguese coach has won four European trophies during his career, two Champions Leagues (Porto 2003-04, Inter 2009-10) and two UEFA Cup/Europa Leagues (Porto 2002-03, Manchester United 2016-17).

Speaking with Stats Perform courtesy of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Cesar praised Mourinho and his ability to lift major European trophies.

"Mourinho is for me a special manager," he said. "I was at Inter when he joined us, and we lived moments of joy. I really think highly of him. I support him always.

"I think AS Roma appointed the right manager. He is really passionate. He's got determination. He has already won the Europa League with Porto and Manchester United. He knows this competition well, and the Champions League. He knows how to play in Europe, in this kind of competition. He is used to lifting trophies."

The former Brazil goalkeeper also spoke highly of Roma, admitting that he would have liked to have played for the Giallorossi to experience the support of their fans, whom he compared to those of one of his former clubs, Brazilian outfit Flamengo.

"AS Roma are a team for the people," he said. "As a former player, I would like to play just one time for AS Roma, listening to their supporters. They are supporters similar to Flamengo."

Cesar also said the motivation to be the winner of the inaugural edition of the Conference League will drive Mourinho to succeed this season.

"It's the first edition of the Conference League. It can be a new trophy for him." Cesar added. "He's someone who loves to win the first edition of a competition. It would be a nice thing for him.

"He would be the first to win the European treble; Conference League, Europa League and Champions League. He's someone like that. It is what is pushing him, trying to win the three cups in Europe."

The 42-year-old also believes the Conference League has improved fans' experience of European football, allowing people to watch teams they would not normally see, and giving smaller clubs experience of high-profile European games.

"Today we can see many clubs playing in Europe that we didn't know before," Cesar added. "Only people crazy about football follow every league. It doesn't work like that for everybody. We can get to know new squads and managers thanks to Conference League. I think it's been a positive thing for football.

"Every player dreams to play in European competitions. UEFA did something nice to organise this new competition. It's important for football. For supporters who did not expect to see their team playing in Europe, I think this idea arrived in the right time.

"It's a nice thing for supporters [of small clubs] following their team away to play against Roma or Tottenham... [The players] play in clubs that are able to play in nice stadiums and atmospheres [thanks to the Conference League]."

Thursday also sees the Europa League quarter-finals draw to a close, and Cesar said the last eight of that competition is a level playing field, with surprises "always possible".

"We know when a team is better than another in today's football," he said. "However, all teams are level in the quarter-finals. It's still possible to see some surprises. It's always possible, this is football. Football is passion."

On which team he thinks are favourites to win the Europa League, Cesar added: "I think Barcelona is a team to respect, considering their history and tradition."

Julio Cesar believes his former club Inter have "all the possibilities" to retain their Serie A title after a productive weekend for the Nerazzurri in the Scudetto race.

Simone Inzaghi's side beat Hellas Verona on Saturday before seeing title rivals Napoli lose at home to Fiorentina and league leaders Milan draw 0-0 at Torino.

Inter now sit second, ahead of Napoli on goal difference and two points behind Milan, but with a game in hand on both and a superior goal difference.

Speaking with Stats Perform courtesy of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Cesar compared the current Inter team to the one he played in, which won a treble in the 2009-10 season. 

"Since Inter won the title [last season], Juventus' streak has been interrupted," he said. "When I was at Inter, Juventus was the team to beat. Now, after the title, responsibility always increases.

"Today, the club has a wonderful structure at La Pinetina. I had the opportunity to visit the place. Everything has changed. Having said that, I think that the football played on the pitch makes the difference.

"This championship is very balanced. Inter is in second place behind Milan, the season is still open.

"We have Milan, Inter and Napoli, which are all in contention for the title. There are six games left and Inter have all the possibilities to win the Scudetto. Inter is a strong team, although they had peaks and valleys, but I guess this is normal during a season."

 

Cesar also had words of praise for current Inter stopper Samir Handanovic, believing that a lack of Champions League football during his time at the club has led to people underestimating the Slovenian.

"I think Samir has shown his value since he joined Inter," he said. "However, his quality was not always recognised because Inter was out of the Champions League for many years.

"Playing in the Champions League allows you to step up your game. Samir has brought the right confidence, he has become the captain and the leader of the team. Inter must be ready to give credit to the work that Samir has done."

Inter have been linked with a move for Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana at the end of the season, but Cesar is unsure if the Cameroonian would displace Handanovic.

He added: "Even if a younger keeper will join the club – I am not sure about Onana's age [26] but I imagine he is a young talent – Samir is still a keeper who knows the club's environment very well.

"Even if Onana will join Inter, Handanovic will be the first choice. Winning the title could also give him the confidence in persuading the club to be their first choice also for next year. He is talented and he keeps himself physically fit, so he could be the first goalkeeper for the next two years."

Not a window goes by where Sergej Milinkovic-Savic's name does not emerge in transfer speculation.

The 27-year-old's contract expires at the end of the 2023-24 season, but Juventus are keen to move on the long sought-after Lazio midfielder.

The Serbia international has only progressed under Maurizio Sarri, attracting reported interest from the Turn giants.

 

TOP STORY – JUVE RAMP UP CHASE FOR MILINKOVIC-SAVIC

Milinkovic-Savic's agent Mateja Kezman has commenced talks with Juventus over a possible transfer from Lazio, according to Calciomercato.

The Serbian midfielder has long been a weak area since their appearance in the Champions League final in 2015, and multiple coaches in that period have not been conducive for personnel.

Lazio president Claudio Lotito famously placed an initial €100million value on Milinkovic-Savic, but it has reportedly dropped to €70m. It is perceived that price tag is still too steep a figure for Juventus, as a consequence of compatriot Dusan Vlahovic's signing in January.

It is believed that Lazio would be open to players in return as part of a packaged deal.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United and Arsenal have joined the race to sign Benfica striker Darwin Nunez, the Mirror reports.

- Erling Haaland has dismissed interest from Manchester United, believing they do not meet the Norwegian striker's ambitions, according to ESPN.

- Paris Saint-Germain are in talks to sign Chelsea forward Romelu Lukaku, only a year after he joined the London club from Inter, per the Sun.

- Roma are interested in signing Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz, Calciomercato is reporting.

- Spanish international Marco Asensio is expected to leave Real Madrid at the end of the season, per Mundo Deportivo, with Milan and Tottenham interested.

Jesse Lingard's future with Manchester United is unclear.

The 29-year-old England international is out of contract at the end of the season.

Lingard had a brilliant loan spell at West Ham United last season but has remained out of favour at Old Trafford this term.

 

TOP STORY – ITALIAN OPTIONS FOR LINGARD

Lingard could reunite with Jose Mourinho at Roma, with the Italian club joining the race for the forward, according to the Mirror.

Lingard is being pursued by West Ham following his impressive loan spell, while Newcastle United are also interested in the 29-year-old.

Serie A clubs Milan and Juventus also have an interest in Lingard, with a move to Italy offering a lucrative alternative option.

English pair Chris Smalling and Tammy Abraham have enjoyed productive spells at Roma, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles is on loan from Arsenal.

 

ROUND-UP

- Real Madrid are moving on from their pursuit of Kylian Mbappe , who appears set to stay with Paris Saint-Germain, by turning their attention to landing Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, claims the Mirror.

- Inter will make a move to sign Romelu Lukaku on loan from Chelsea, following his August exit from the Italian champions, reports Football Insider. Lukaku previously expressed his regret at leaving Inter.

- The Sun claims that Arsenal and Tottenham will battle to sign Leicester City midfielder James Maddison who is rated at £60million and could be put up for sale.

- Danny Ings could be on his way out of Aston Villa as manager Steven Gerrard plans a clear-out, according to the Mirror.

- CBS Sports claims Liverpool and West Ham are no longer interested in Leicester City's Youri Tielemans, leaving the door open for Manchester United to land the midfielder.

- Juventus are circling for Chelsea midfielder Jorginho , reports Tutto Mercato.

James Maddison's importance to Leicester City is of little debate, but the Foxes are considering selling the playmaker.

Though the 25-year-old's sole senior England cap came in 2019, he has provided 13 goals and eight assists in 41 appearances across all competitions this season.

However, Maddison's sale might be required to facilitate the Foxes strengthening in other areas.

 

TOP STORY – MADDISON SALE TO FUND LEICESTER REVAMP

Leicester are weighing up the prospect of Maddison's sale in order to make new signings, the Daily Mail has reported.

Manager Brendan Rodgers wants three new additions to propel the Foxes up the Premier League following a season in which they have plateaued.

Leicester will reportedly back Rodgers, but the impact of coronavirus on their finances would likely mean outgoing as well as incoming transfers, and Maddison holds one of the higher market values at the club.

The 25-year-old's £50million price tag would provide serious flexibility in the transfer market, while the club also has to make decisions on Caglar Soyuncu and Youri Tielemans.

ROUND-UP

–  Barcelona want to confirm a contract extension for Ronald Araujo , who has received an offer from Manchester United, according to Sport, but the 23-year-old has viewed this club's pursuit of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen with caution.

–  Arsenal and Tottenham are keen to sign Lautaro Martinez , but Inter will only sell if they meet a transfer demand in excess of €80million (£67.3m), per Calciomercato.

– The Sun is reporting Newcastle are preparing a £20million offer for Brighton and Hove Albion goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, while also showing interest in Watford's Ismaila Sarr.

–  Manchester United target Manuel Akanji wants to leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season and is considering a move to the Premier League, according to Sport1.

Arsenal continue their rejuvenation under Mikel Arteta, but a striker is becoming a positional need.

After his relationship with Arteta soured, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left for Barcelona during the January transfer window and has found verve under Xavi.

Although Alexandre Lacazette has been a compatible fit for Arsenal, he and Eddie Nketiah are out of contract at the end of the season, and the Gunners may look to Old Trafford. 

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL TO MOVE FOR RASHFORD

Arsenal are preparing an approach for Manchester United star Marcus Rashford in an attempt to bolster their stocks up front, according to The Mirror.

The Gunners were linked with a number of forwards during January, including Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Real Sociedad's Alexander Isak, but it appears Rashford's status at Old Trafford has shifted following United's Champions League exit.

The 24-year-old has one year plus an option for a further season on his current deal, but appears to be a peripheral figure under interim boss Ralf Rangnick.

Rashford has made just 10 starts in the Premier League this season and scored only five goals across all competitions. 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City and Real Madrid are in best position to sign Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, but the 21-year-old has rejected City's first offer, AS reports.

- Barcelona could offer versatile defender Oscar Mingueza as part of a package to land Leeds United winger Raphinha, Sport has reported.

- Juventus have shown their interest in Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger as they aim to replace Giorgio Chiellini, according to The Sun.

- The Daily Mail are reporting that Inter are keen to sign Juve's Paulo Dybala, who will be out of contract at the end of the season and is not having his deal renewed.

Sinisa Mihajlovic is facing a new leukaemia battle after the Bologna head coach revealed he is heading back to hospital for treatment.

The Serie A stalwart, who played for Roma, Sampdoria, Lazio and Inter, was first diagnosed with the disease ahead of the 2019-20 season and underwent a bone marrow transplant in October 2019. He was back in the dugout six weeks later.

He has remained boss of Bologna since then but will step away from his responsibilities for an indeterminate period after revealing he has encountered a setback.

Mihajlovic announced the news on Saturday, telling reporters in a news conference that a routine test had given cause for concern.

"In recent years the recovery was excellent, but unfortunately, from the latest analysis some alarm bells have emerged and there is a risk of a reappearance of the disease," Mihajlovic said.

"This disease is very courageous in returning to face an opponent like me."

Former Yugoslavia hard man Mihajlovic, who has coached teams including Sampdoria, Milan and Fiorentina, spoke of the challenges of always knowing there might be a bump in the road after his initial recovery.

"You can fall, and you have to find the strength to get up," he said. "At the beginning of next week I will have to be absent, and I will be hospitalised again at Sant'Orsola. I know I am in excellent hands. Unlike two and a half years ago, when I was in tears, this time you see me calmer.

"I know what I have to do, and my situation is very different than it was then."

Mihajlovic is hoping for a swift return to his Bologna duties, but it will not be immediate. "I will certainly have to skip some matches," he said.

Bologna sit 12th in Serie A and have won just one of 10 league games since the turn of the year, losing six times. Mihajlovic is convinced his players can thrive without him and rise to his encouragement which will come from afar.

Their next match is an April 4 clash with leaders Milan.

"I know they will fight for me. They are all good guys and good players," said 53-year-old Mihajlovic. "I ask the wonderful Bologna fans to support and help them, I am sure it will happen both in training and in matches. 

"None of us will give an inch, we'll move up in the table, and I'll be back with the team soon."

Argentine forward Paulo Dybala is set to exit Juventus at the end of this season.

As a result, the Bianconeri are assessing their options for a replacement.

Juventus are currently fourth in Serie A after an excellent run of results which have put them into the title picture.

TOP STORY – ZANIOLO FRAMED AS DYBALA REPLACEMENT 

TuttoMercato claims Juventus have set their sights on Nicolo Zaniolo as Dybala's replacement, with the Roma attacker unlikely to renew with the Giallorossi before his contract expires in 2024.

The first domino in this instance is Dybala, whose contract expires at the end of this season. Juventus have no intention of extending according to Fabrizio Romano. Romano claims the 28-year-old will not move another club in Serie A, opening up a move to long-time suitor Tottenham.

According to TuttoMercato, Juve have chosen Zaniolo as their replacement and would be ready to make a move in the upcoming transfer window. Whether they can manoeuvre to match his current market value of €40million remains to be seen, however.

ROUND-UP

- Per Sky Sports, Manchester United have narrowed their shortlist for a permanent manager down to Ajax's Erik ten Hag, Sevilla's Julen Lopetegui, Spain boss Luis Enrique and Paris Saint-Germain's Mauricio Pochettino .

- Inter have targeted Edinson Cavani as a replacement for Alexis Sanchez, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Calciomercato reports Arsenal will make a move for Arthur in the upcoming transfer window, as contract negotiations with Juventus have broken down.

- Arsenal are also keen to tie Bukayo Saka to a long-term contract, in attempts to fend off outside interest for the 20-year-old, per The Athletic.

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