Simone Inzaghi expressed his relief after Inter crushed Bologna 6-1 on Saturday to move top of Serie A. 

The Nerazzurri have now won 18 home successive league games but they did suffer late heartbreak at San Siro in the Champions League in midweek, going down to a late goal against Real Madrid. 

Inzaghi admitted that result left him concerned ahead of the visit of Bologna, though any such worries quickly subsided when Lautaro Martinez opened the scoring in the sixth minute. 

Substitute Edin Dzeko scored a second-half double as the reigning champions cut loose to make it three wins in a row against their opponents, a feat they had not managed when facing Bologna since Jose Mourinho was in charge.

"I was afraid of this match after the night against Real Madrid but the guys approached the match in the best way," Inzaghi told DAZN after the resounding triumph. 

"It was important, we knew the importance of the match. We came from an excellent performance with Madrid, in which only the result was missing. We asked the boys to put the anger that would be needed to win. 

"Today at the first opportunity we were good at unlocking it [the Bologna defence], it immediately went downhill even though we were facing a good team. Then it happens that you shoot 18 times against Real Madrid and you don't score a goal." 

Marcelo Brozovic was central to the team's performance against Bologna, completing the second-most passes in the game (61), two less than Nicolo Barella. 

And Inzaghi claimed there is a reason why the Croatia midfielder remains an integral part of Inter's side whoever is in charge, as well as praising forward Martinez. 

"Brozovic is irreplaceable, there will be a reason if he has played with all the coaches who have passed from Inter," the former Lazio head coach said. 

"I only knew him [Lautaro Martinez] as an opponent, I knew he was a very important player and when I was lucky enough to coach him I understood the importance. I'm sorry he couldn't score another goal."

Edin Dzeko scored twice as impressive Inter crushed Bologna 6-1 to move top of Serie A on Saturday. 

Lautaro Martinez's fourth goal in four top-flight games put Simone Inzaghi's side ahead, making it 23 consecutive league games that Inter have scored in, only managing a longer run way back in 1950. 

Milan Skriniar and Nicolo Barella inflicted further damage in the first half, with Matias Vecino and Dzeko's double completing the rout after the interval. 

Arthur Theate headed a late consolation goal for the visitors but Inter made it four league games unbeaten to sit at the summit, albeit their nearest rivals in the table are still to play. 

Martinez had gone five Serie A games without a goal against Bologna but ended that barren run when he ghosted in to poke home Denzel Dumfries' low delivery. 

Samir Handanovic kept his side's slender lead intact with a magnificent save to deny Roberto Soriano's drive, after which Nicola Sansone volleyed wide. 

Instead it was Inter who fired in a second, Skriniar towering above goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski to nod in from inside the six-yard area following Federico Dimarco's inviting corner. 

Just four minutes later and Lorenzo De Silvestri's failed clearance fortuitously fell to Barella, who finished emphatically from close range. 

Martinez almost scored his second early in the second half but was denied by the crossbar, while he also wildly lashed over moments later. 

Vecino did manage to grab a fourth goal for his team with a simple tap-in at the back post after Dimarco's deflected cross had evaded the incoming Dumfries. 

Substitute Dzeko joined in on the act just after the hour-mark, prodding into the corner after Martinez's intelligent dummy before smashing his second into the roof of the net from a tight angle. 

Bologna did finally beat Handanovic when Theate nodded in at a corner, but that did not spoil what was a memorable victory for the hosts at San Siro. 

Could Raheem Sterling leave Premier League champions Manchester City?

The Englishman has slipped down the pecking order in 2021-22.

LaLiga giants Barcelona are reportedly ready to offer Sterling regular football.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA INTERESTED IN STERLING

Barcelona are targeting a loan move for Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling, according to Sport.

Sterling has fallen out of favour under Pep Guardiola this season, leading to speculation over his City future.

The England international is reportedly open to reunion with former City team-mate Sergio Aguero at Barca.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Independent claims Manchester United are prioritising a move for West Ham's Declan Rice. The Red Devils are eyeing Rice to partner Paul Pogba, who himself is the subject of transfer speculation. Out of contract at the end of the season, Pogba has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Juventus.

Lazio are interested in free agent Dani Alves following his Sao Paulo exit, reports Calciomercato. The former Barca and Juve full-back terminated his contract and reportedly met with Brazilian rivals Flamengo.

- Fabrizio Romano says Roma are preparing a new five-year contract for Lorenzo Pellegrini, who has been linked with Premier League clubs.

- Serie A champions Inter are weighing up a move for Torino defender Bremer at the end of the season, says Calciomercato. The Brazilian has also been linked with United and Liverpool.

- According to Calciomercato, City have not given up on signing Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic. The Serbia international forward was linked with City as well as Tottenham, Arsenal and Atletico Madrid before the transfer window closed.

Luka Jovic is on the radar of Juventus, per Calciomercato. Jovic is out of favour at Madrid, with the Serbia international originally tipped to return to Eintracht Frankfurt on a permanent basis.

Could Jurgen Klopp and Robert Lewandowski be set to work together again?

The pair enjoyed a successful partnership at Borussia Dortmund.

Now, Klopp is reportedly trying to lure the Bayern Munich forward to Liverpool.

 

TOP STORY – KLOPP WANTS LEWANDOWSKI REUNION

Liverpool are targeting Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski, according to Fichajes.

Lewandowski worked with Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund before joining Bundesliga rivals Bayern in 2014.

There has been talk Lewandowski could be ready for a new challenge amid links to Real Madrid and Manchester City, though Klopp is reportedly determined to reunite with the Poland international.

 

ROUND-UP

- Bild claims Dortmund have identified Chelsea forward Timo Werner as a possible option to replace Erling Haaland. Club are queueing up to sign Haaland, with City, Manchester United, Bayern, Liverpool, Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain all reportedly interested. Should Haaland leave Dortmund, the Bundesliga outfit reportedly see former RB Leipzig star Werner as a potential successor.

- Fabrizio Romano says Inter forward Lautaro Martinez is nearing a contract extension at San Siro. He has reportedly turned down offers from Tottenham and Atletico Madrid.

Bayern, Inter, Real Madrid and Tottenham are interested in Borussia Monchengladbach defender Matthias Ginter, reports Calciomercato.

Chelsea are looking to sign Jorginho, N'Golo Kante, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen to new contracts, according to Romano.

Eden Hazard did not make it onto the pitch in Real Madrid's win over Inter and Carlo Ancelotti explained why he sent match-winner Rodrygo on ahead of the Belgium winger. 

Madrid had to withstand a barrage of pressure in the first half, with Thibaut Courtois doing well to deny Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez in the Champions League Group D encounter. 

Rodrygo replaced Lucas Vazquez in the 65th minute with Los Blancos getting more of a foothold in the game and the Brazilian popped up with a late winner in a 1-0 success. 

Asked why Hazard, who played 66 minutes in the 5-2 LaLiga win against Celta Vigo at the weekend, did not feature in Milan, Ancelotti said: "I thought about putting him on in the second half, but Inter closed the centre of the pitch well. 

"I wanted to open up the game from the wings, which is why I put Rodrygo on." 

Rodrygo is yet to start a game under Ancelotti, but he has now scored in two of his three Champions League appearances against Inter - both of his strikes representing a winning goal,

Ancelotti has attempted to stop the 20-year-old worrying about the number of minutes he gets and instead get him focused on performing at the highest level when he is selected. 

"I told him it's not important how many minutes he plays, but how he plays them," Ancelotti told Movistar+.

"He helped [Dani] Carvajal a lot and then in front of goal he is very cool and scores goals. 

"With his introduction we played more on the wing and found the solution. I liked the game because he had to suffer and be compact. The team not only has quality, but it also has commitment." 

Rodrygo said: "Of course, I always want to play. When I'm on the pitch, I can do something for the team. 

"I want to play, but I respect the coach's decisions and I'm going to work hard to be able to be there. At Real Madrid it's always difficult." 

Rodrygo silenced San Siro with a last-gasp winner as Real Madrid overcame Inter 1-0 in Champions League Group D on Wednesday. 

A scuffed volley off a lovely cushioned pass from fellow substitute Eduardo Camavinga saw Rodrygo give Madrid all three points in former Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti's first European game since returning to the helm. 

Inter dominated the first half but both Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez failed to find a way past Thibaut Courtois when presented with chances you would have expected them to tuck away.

The game appeared to be destined for a draw until Rodrygo's 89th-minute strike left Samir Handanovic rooted to the spot, giving Madrid a win away at Inter in the Champions League for the second straight season.

Inter cut Madrid open in the ninth minute but Dzeko was unable to get the better of Courtois after a fine touch from Martinez. 

After Casemiro sent a skidding 25-yard effort narrowly wide, Martinez was presented with a glorious opportunity at the end of a blistering Inter break but his free header was straight at Courtois. 

Eder Militao nodded wide from a corner when unmarked at the near post before Martinez, Marcelo Brozovic and Dzeko all failed to send the Nerazzurri into half-time with a lead that their play deserved. 

Courtois made another great save to keep Dzeko's low header out nine minutes after the restart and Milan Skriniar was unable to turn home the rebound. 

Madrid's first shot on target finally came in the 57th minute but Handanovic never looked like being beaten by Dani Carvajal's shot from an acute angle. 

The visitors remained in control and, after Vinicius Junior saw a pair of efforts blocked by Skriniar, Rodrygo snatched the win at the end of a fine move that also involved Federico Valverde. 

Lionel Messi is in line to make his 150th Champions League appearance and his first with Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.

Mauricio Pochettino's men travel to Club Brugge and Messi is about to partake in his first European campaign without Barcelona, while Manchester City host RB Leipzig.

Liverpool and Milan renew rivalries in the competition for just the second time since the 2004-05 final between the pair but the Serie A side have a woeful record against English teams.

Inter have a similarly poor record against Spanish teams and they face Real Madrid, with Karim Benzema edging towards another goalscoring landmark.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look at the key Opta data ahead of Wednesday's fixtures.

Inter v Real Madrid: Benzema looks to edge past former Galactico Raul 

Inter have lost four of their last five against Real Madrid but Los Blancos have only won one of their previous eight away games against Wednesday's opponents as they prepare for a replay of last year's group stage outing.

However, Inter have not won against a Spanish team in Europe's premier competition since 2010 and Madrid have been victorious in 12 of their last 13 against Serie A outfits.

Carlo Ancelotti has Karim Benzema among his ranks and the forward will appear in his 17th consecutive campaign as he looks for his 72nd goal to move ahead of Raul (71) into fourth in the all-time scoring list.

 

Manchester City v RB Leipzig: Guardiola's group stage dominance

Manchester City are unbeaten in their last 17 group-stage ties and, since Pep Guardiola was appointed, they have lost just three of 30 at this stage of the competition.

The hosts are eyeing their 50th win in their 91st game as they look to become the second fastest to the half-century, while RB Leipzig have lost three of their last four against English opposition.

City's attacking riches could thrive at Etihad Stadium, too, Ferran Torres has scored four in his last six appearances in Europe - a goal every 90 minutes - and Riyad Mahrez has been involved in 22 goals in 28 starts for Leicester City and his current side in the Champions League.

 

Liverpool v Milan: Istanbul replay ends Rossoneri's seven-year wait

Milan will appear in their first Champions League since 2014, their first fixture a replay of the memorable 2004-05 final that saw Liverpool triumph.

Stefano Pioli's men have won just one of their last 13 against English opponents in European competition, while the Reds have lost just one of their last 12 group-stage games at Anfield in Europe under Jurgen Klopp.

Mohamed Salah (25) is one of two Liverpool players – along with Steven Gerrard (21) – to score 20+ times in the competition but Sadio Mane (19) could join them with a goal on Wednesday to become the fourth African to the 20-goal mark.

 

Club Brugge v Paris Saint-Germain: Pochettino's attacking riches

Paris Saint-Germain have netted 21 goals across six games against Belgian opposition – winning five and drawing once – while Club Brugge have only won one of their six opening games.

Lionel Messi – the second all-time leading scorer in the competition – could make his first PSG continental appearance, having scored 120 goals and provided 35 assists in 149 games for Barcelona against teams from 17 nations.

The visitors also boast half of the six players to be involved in 30+ goals in the competition in the last four seasons, with Kylian Mbappe (37), Messi (36) and Neymar (31) all doing so.

Other fixtures:

Atletico Madrid v Porto:

41 – Diego Simeone has won 41 of the 79 Champions League fixtures he has managed since 2013-14, with only Pep Guardiola (56) picking up more wins in this period.

4 – Porto have won four of their last five away games in the competition, their only loss coming against eventual runners-up Manchester City last term.

Besiktas v Borussia Dortmund:

1 – Besiktas have only collected one win in their last 10 home games in the Champions League and two of four defeats in that run have come against Bundesliga sides.

100 – Borussia Dortmund have a 100 per cent record against Turkish opposition in the Champions League, though all four wins have come against Galatasaray.

Sheriff Tiraspol v Shakhtar Donetsk:

1 – Sheriff Tiraspol are the first ever Moldovan team to feature in the Champions League proper. They are unbeaten in their last nine in European competition.

3 – Shakhtar Donetsk have only been beaten three times in their last 11 games as they went unbeaten against Real Madrid and Inter in the group stages last season.

Sporting CP v Ajax:

36 – Aged just 36, Ruben Amorim becomes the second youngest Portuguese manager in the competition's history, after former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas (33) in 2011.

2 – Ajax have only lost two of 10 games against Portuguese opponents since the inaugural European Cup. However, just two of these games have taken place this century.

Carlo Ancelotti is hoping to make history by landing a fourth Champions League title this season but is unsure where his Real Madrid rank among the favourites to win the competition.

The experienced Italian coach is level with Liverpool great Bob Paisley and former Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane with three triumphs in the competition previously known as the European Cup.

Ancelotti famously ended Madrid's 12-year wait for 'La Decima' – a 10th European crown – when beating Atletico Madrid 4-1 in the 2013-14 final in Lisbon.

Los Blancos went on to win the competition in three successive seasons under Zidane, during which time Ancelotti was boss of Bayern Munich and Napoli, before a spell with Everton.

Back at the Santiago Bernabeu since June, Ancelotti is out to become the most successful ever coach in the continental competition, having also twice gone all the way with Milan.

"It's a great motivation," he said at a news conference previewing Wednesday's opening group game against Inter.

"But the biggest motivation of all is to come back and win with Real Madrid. The joy is to go to Valdebebas every day to coach the team.

"For me this competition is special. I also won it as a player and I have excellent memories, especially winning Madrid's 10th. It is a fresh and special memory."

Ancelotti's 76 per cent win rate across his 25 Champions League games with Madrid is the best of any coach at a single club to have managed at least 20 matches.

He will be looking to build on that return on Wednesday when Madrid travel to San Siro for their much-anticipated Group D opener with Italian champions Inter.

Los Blancos will fancy their chances of advancing from a group that also contains Shakhtar Donetsk and debutants Sheriff Tiraspol, but trickier tests would then lie in wait.

Paris Saint-Germain are the trophy favourites of many after adding Lionel Messi to their ranks, while Bayern Munich and England's four-strong contingent are also much-fancied.

"It's hard to say whether we can be considered among the favourites," Ancelotti said when asked where his side currently rank among Europe's elite clubs.

"What I can say is that Madrid will be competitive all the way. To say whether we're favourites is too difficult. We'll just try to fight for everything."

Madrid have won only one of their previous eight away games against Inter in European competition, though that victory came in last season's group stage.

Both teams have a new head coach in the dugout 10 months on from that previous encounter, with Simone Inzaghi replacing Antonio Conte at Inter ahead of this season.

Inter dropped their first points of the season on Sunday with a 2-2 draw against Sampdoria, while Madrid saw off Celta Vigo 5-2 to make it three wins from four this term.

"Inter are doing well so far," Ancelotti said. "We did well in our last game against Celta, but tomorrow will be another story. It's a competition that gives Madrid great sensations.

"We know it will be complicated. Inter have a new coach but the structure is the same. We'll try to control the game and play to our best.

"They have lost important players but have also signed some important players. They are a team that play good football. It will be an open and competitive match."

Ancelotti also confirmed that full-back Marcelo will play no part against Inter because of an injury, while Gareth Bale also remains absent.

Karim Benzema insisted Real Madrid are not overly dependent on his goals as Carlo Ancelotti's men prepare to face Inter in Wednesday's Champions League clash.

Madrid open their campaign with a trip to San Siro, having won just one of their previous eight away games against Inter in European competition.

Benzema, who is set to feature in his 17th consecutive Champions League, needs just one goal to overtake Raul and become the all-time fourth highest scorer in the competition.

However, the forward deflected questions as to whether his side are too reliant on his output and chose to focus on the team dynamic of Los Blancos.

"Real Madrid are a very strong team," Benzema said at Tuesday's pre-match news conference. "What I need to do is try to help my team with assists and goals. We have to win something and that is a collective effort.

"The Champions League is a different competition and we must try to do everything to win games.

"It's the most important competition. There are favourites, but something different often happens on the pitch, we have a good team and we will fight to win this Champions [League]."

Benzema also quashed suggestions that Madrid's new front three, which he has formed recently with Eden Hazard and Vinicius Junior, could recreate what he had with Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.

"I don't know, together we have done many things and many goals and that trident will remain in history," Benzema said.

"Vini [Vinicius Junior] is a strong player, he has grown and in this beginning of LaLiga he is scoring a lot. I am always by his side, I talk to him, if I can I talk to him and advise him because he is a top player.

"Now, however, let's think about today, about scoring and winning games."

Jose Mourinho said he will remember Roma's last-gasp victory over Sassuolo after celebrating his 1,000th career match in wild fashion.

Mourinho's milestone game ended in the Roma head coach sprinting down the touchline to celebrate Stephan El Shaarawy's 91st-minute winner with the Giallorossi fans in Sunday's 2-1 dramatic success at home to Sassuolo.

Former Porto, Chelsea, Inter, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Tottenham boss Mourinho has won 638 of his career matches across all competitions, boasting a 64 per cent winning percentage, to go with 25 titles as a manager.

After Mourinho oversaw Roma's third win from three Serie A fixtures to start the season atop the table, the 58-year-old revelled in the memorable fixture.

"Because during the week I was lying to people, telling everyone this wasn't a special game – perhaps I was trying to convince myself as well," Mourinho, who is in his first season with Roma, said.

"But actually it was – this game had a really special meaning for me. And I am sure I will remember it for the rest of my life, because my 1000th game as a coach was this one.

"I didn't want to lose it, and I was very scared of having that be my lasting memory of the moment. So I was lying to everyone beforehand. It was a very special feeling."

Mourinho – a Champions League, Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A and Primeira Liga winner among other honours – added: "Today it could have finished 6-6 or 7-7, they could have won 2-1, whatever. In the final few minutes Rui Patricio made two or three incredible saves and we missed two or three chances when the goal was gaping. It was an incredible game for the neutral, an absolutely extraordinary match, with so many emotions to it.

"Today I wasn't 58 years old, but 10 or 12 or 14, when you start dreaming about a career in football. Running like I did [down the sideline], I was running like a child. And I apologised to [Sassuolo coach Alessio] Dionisi for that.

"I congratulated him and his players: they played brilliantly. Tonight we won, but if they had won I would not have been able to have any complaints."

It is the first time in Mourinho's illustrious career that he has won the first five games at a club.

"I didn't know that," Mourinho replied when it was put to him. "It's the same as the milestone of 1000 games – I only realised when I was eight or seven short. They are not numbers I'm particularly interested in.

"Obviously I'm happy with the three points, and the great spirit we showed. But we cannot ignore Dionisi and how he must feel: He's a great coach, Sassuolo have a real identity about them – one that comes from De Zerbi, but he has applied his own elements to that. They are a great squad; I realised that as soon as I started studying them.

"These are three massive points for us. Perhaps God decided that I didn't deserve to have a negative memory of this particular game."

Roma, meanwhile, have won six consecutive home games in all competitions for their first time since December 2017 (seven).

Simone Inzaghi has "regrets" after Inter twice blew the lead in Sunday's 2-2 draw at Sampdoria on what was his 200th Serie A game as a coach.

Federico Dimarco's first Nerazzurri goal, an unstoppable free-kick, and a sublime Lautaro Martinez volley twice had champions Inter on course for victory at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

However, a luckless own goal from Edin Dzeko and an expert Tommaso Augello volley earned Sampdoria a point, with Inter's misery compounded when Stefano Sensi went off injured late on.

"There are regrets, because it's a game we should've and could've won. A team like ours took the lead twice, then made mistakes with the Ivan Perisic, Hakan Calhanoglu and other easy chances," Inzaghi told Sky Sport Italia.

"We conceded two goals, one was an own goal that hit Edin Dzeko, the other a worldie from Tommaso Augello, but we still should've won.

"We were up against a good team that was very well-organised, but the regrets also are that Sensi picked up that injury and we finished the game with 10 men.

"We need to analyse what happened, because a team like ours that goes in front twice ought to win. It's disappointing, but we go forward with confidence and can build on this, even if naturally we wanted three points.

"We had assumed this morning that the game would be more open in the final half-hour, and that's what was happening until we went down to 10 men. 

"These are matches you can even lose, so we must find our strength and get players back to full fitness, which isn't easy with such a compressed calendar."

Despite the setback, Inter have taken seven points from three games to start their title a defence – a return Inzaghi is content with given a transfer window of upheaval that saw Achraf Hakimi and Romelu Lukaku sold, while head coach Antonio Conte also departed.

"I am very satisfied, because the club, fans and above all the players are very open to what my staff and I are proposing," he added.

"We knew there could be some difficulties early on, but we have seven points from three games, two of them away from home.

"I knew when I arrived that the club had to sell some important players, but we brought in others who are well-suited to my idea of football and now we work going forward."

Inter were pegged back twice as Simone Inzaghi's 200th Serie A game as a coach ended in a frustrating 2-2 draw at Sampdoria.

Federico Dimarco's first Inter goal from an unstoppable free-kick was cancelled out when Edin Dzeko put Maya Yoshida's shot past his own goalkeeper at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

A superb Lautaro Martinez volley restored the lead only for an equally brilliant strike from Tommaso Augello to once again restore parity.

It means the champions have seven points from nine in their opening three matches and will look to regroup in the Champions League and a mouth-watering clash with Real Madrid.

Inter made a sloppy start and a poor Dimarco clearance led to a chain of events that saw Morten Thorsby wastefully head over the top.

Dimarco made up for that after 18 minutes with a venomous free-kick inside the D that picked out the top-left corner.

Sampdoria equalised when Yoshida's scrappy effort was diverted home via Dzeko after Inter failed to clear their lines at a corner.

Inter led at half-time when Hakan Calhanoglu dispossessed Mikkel Damsgaard and fed Nicolo Barella, whose sublime cross was expertly volleyed home by Martinez.

But they caught out again when Bartosz Bereszynski's cross was met with a rifling volley from fellow full-back Augello.

Shortly after, Ivan Perisic had a great chance to shoot or find Dzeko but really did neither when wastefully firing across goal, while Calhanoglu drilled wide from 20 yards with plenty of the goal to aim at.

Damsgaard almost put Sampdoria in front only for Danilo D'Ambrosio to clear off the line and rescue Inter.

Are three stars set for Real Madrid?

Madrid have long been linked with soon-to-be free agent Kylian Mbappe, who reportedly wants to leave PSG for the Santiago Bernabeu.

In-demand forward Erling Haaland and Paul Pogba are also believed to be targets of the Spanish powerhouse.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE, HAALAND AND POGBA WANTED IN MADRID

Real Madrid are eyeing Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe, Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, according to Marca.

Madrid tried to sign Mbappe before the transfer deadline but the LaLiga giants are expected to reignite their interest at the end of the season, when the PSG star is set to become a free agent.

It could be a busy off-season at the Santiago Bernabeu, where Haaland and Pogba are also wanted.

Haaland has been linked with United, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Barcelona, while Pogba is reportedly wanted by PSG and Juve.

 

ROUND-UP

- FootMercato claims PSG have started their pursuit of Milan star Franck Kessie, who is also reportedly attracting interest from Tottenham. Kessie is out of contract at the end of the season.

Inter could target Chelsea full-back Marcos Alonso to replace soon-to-be free agents Aleksandar Kolarov and Ivan Perisic, per Calciomercato. The Serie A champions have also been linked with Eintracht Frankfurt's Filip Kostic.

Bayern face competition from Barca and Liverpool for Salzburg forward Karim Adeyemi, says Bild.

Could a Premier League return be on the cards for Leroy Sane?

Sane swapped Manchester City for Bayern Munich in 2020, however, it has not gone according to plan in his native Germany.

Chelsea are reportedly trying to lure Sane back to England.

 

TOP STORY – SANE TO MAKE ENGLAND RETURN?

Chelsea are keen to sign Leroy Sane from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, according to the Express.

Sane left Manchester City for Bayern in 2020 but the Germany international has struggled for form in Munich.

Champions League holders Chelsea – led by German boss Thomas Tuchel – are reportedly targeting Sane and are willing to include Callum Hudson-Odoi, Hakim Ziyech or Christian Pulisic in any deal.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United could target Inter midfielder Marcelo Brozovic in January, per Manchester Evening News. Brozovic is nearing the end of his Inter contract, with Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona also among the Croatia international's admirers. The report has also linked United with Barca's Pedri and Borussia Monchengladbach forward Dennis Zakaria, who has been previously linked to City and Inter.

Liverpool are continuing contract talks with star Mohamed Salah, says the Liverpool Echo, which claims Salah is not asking for £500,000 per week, despite previous reports. Salah has been linked with Real Madrid and Barcelona previously.

Franck Ribery is set to join Serie A newcomers Salernitana on a free transfer, according to Fabrizio Romano. The former Bayern and France star has been without a club since leaving Fiorentina at the end of 2020-21.

- Corriere dello Sport claims Roma are hoping to sign Zenit star Sardar Azmoun on a free transfer at the end of the season.

- The front page of Monday's Tuttosport claims Inter are eyeing soon-to-be free agents Lorenzo Insigne of Napoli and Bayern midfielder Corentin Tolisso. Insigne has previously been linked with Milan and Liverpool, while the likes of United, Arsenal, Tottenham and Roma have been credited with interest in Tolisso.

- Calciomercato reports Inter are considering Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana as a long-term replacement for Samir Handanovic.

Chelsea lodged three bids before Romelu Lukaku realised their interest in him was serious, but he did not want to disrespect Inter after they rescued him from Manchester United.

Lukaku returned to Chelsea for a reported £97.5million (€115m) last month, departing Inter after two seasons in Serie A, having led the Nerazzurri to the title last season.

The former United forward excelled in Italy after a difficult two-year spell at Old Trafford, regaining the form that saw the Red Devils pay a reported £75m to sign him from Everton.

Lukaku scored on his second Chelsea debut, helping Thomas Tuchel's team to a 2-0 win at Arsenal.

Reflecting on his move while on international duty with Belgium, Lukaku revealed he was swayed by how much the Champions League holders pushed to sign him.

However, he was grateful to Inter, and adamant he would not take an unfair route in order to secure a move back to west London.

"I didn't want to go behind Inter's back," Lukaku said. "They got me out of the s***. I was in a deep hole at United."

Speaking to VTM Nieuws, Lukaku said: "With Chelsea's third offer, I knew it was serious.

"I only realised that Chelsea were serious when they made their third offer. First, they offered €100m. Then €105m, €105m plus [Marcos] Alonso. Then they offered €110m plus [Davide] Zappacosta, but Inter said no.

"After training I went to [coach Simone] Inzaghi's office. I didn't want to ruin the atmosphere because I was no longer in Milan in my head. So I asked him: please find an agreement."

Lukaku netted twice in Belgium's 5-2 win over Estonia on Thursday. On Sunday, he will make his 100th appearance for the national team should he feature against the Czech Republic.

"He is a legend of Belgian football, his statistics are fantastic," Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said of Lukaku, who is the country's record scorer with 66 goals.

"When I talk about Romelu, it's always a bit subjective. I've been lucky enough to see Romelu grow as a player and he's developed superbly.

"Tomorrow he will play his 100th international match and I think that should be a big party. Sometimes we take for granted what we have. But players like Romelu are rare, they should be enjoyed."

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