Lautaro Martinez's superb double fired Inter into the Coppa Italia final against Milan on Tuesday, as they ran out 3-0 victors at San Siro.

The Argentina international kept the Nerazzurri on course for a potential domestic double, after a goalless first leg last month set up a winner-takes-all clash this week.

With the Supercoppa Italia already secured against Juventus and Milan merely two points ahead with a game out of hand, Inter could yet complete a clean sweep of domestic honours.

Simone Inzaghi claimed a maiden Derby della Madonnina win with the result, and his side will now wait to discover if they face holders Juventus or Fiorentina.

With defeat leaving Stefano Pioli and his side with just the Scudetto left to fight for, though, the stage is now set for a thrilling conclusion to the Serie A season too.

The whistle for kick-off had barely sounded before Inter struck, Martinez volleying Matteo Darmian's neat cross home near the penalty spot.

Such an early goal forced Milan onto the offensive, with Rafael Leao and Alexis Saelemaekers going closest in response.

Frenetic closing exchanges to the first half saw Ivan Perisic make a goal-saving clearance on the line, before the Nerazzurri scored effectively in the next passage.

Following Marcelo Brozovic's release in transition, Martinez dinked Joaquin Correa's throughball over Mike Maignan for a second to double the lead just before half-time, and it became a mountain for Milan to climb.

The Rossoneri continued to rally after the interval and critically had Ismael Bennacer's goal disallowed, with Pierre Kalulu ruled offside. From there the air went out of the game and when Martinez bowed out with 20 minutes to go, it felt like the game was already over, even before Robin Gosens slid home a third to seal the deal.

What does it mean? Inter move towards complete collection

After dethroning Juventus' decade-long hold on Serie A last term, the Nerazzurri now have the chance to take the Bianconeri's lone remaining honour from them after victory over Milan.

It is 11 years since they last reached the final, when they claimed a 3-1 victory over Palermo to lift the trophy - and Inzaghi, a prior winner in 2019 with Lazio, will have his eyes on repeating that success, whoever they face.

Martinez continues fast start streak

After airing his grievances over discussions about his future following victory against Spezia on Friday, it was another superb reminder of the Argentine's talents at San Siro.

It took him less than 200 seconds to break open the Milan defence - a speedy return that extends a streak that has seen him involved in the last three Derby della Madonnina goals scored during the opening five minutes.

Milan wayward once more in front of goal

For a team tucked into the thick of a battle for the Scudetto, it has been remarkable that not a single player has broken into double figures on the goalscorer charts this season in Serie A.

That has in part been to Milan boasting a wealth of players who can find the back of the net - except, that prowess deserted them on Tuesday, with Rafael Leao the only one of their squad to muster more than one shot on target.

What's next?

Inter will welcome Roma to San Siro for a crucial Serie A clash on Saturday, while Milan travel to the capital to face Lazio on Sunday.

The joined actions of some of the most powerful figures in modern football unwittingly created an ever mightier alliance on April 18, 2021.

The announcement of a new European Super League united Manchester, with fans and players of United and City joining those invested in the fortunes of Liverpool and the three London giants of Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham in opposition.

Although the reaction in Italy and Spain may not have been quite as damning, the protests that followed over the course of an extraordinary few days were enough to derail the plans.

A year on, Stats Perform looks back on one of the most controversial proposals in the sport's history and where it stands now.

What is/was the European Super League?

The past week has shown exactly what makes the Champions League great, whether Villarreal's upset of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid withstanding Chelsea's fightback, a thriller between Liverpool and Benfica in a tie widely considered over or the blood and thunder of Manchester City's defeat of Atletico Madrid.

But Arsenal and Tottenham did not qualify for the Champions League this season, while Barcelona and Milan failed to make it beyond the group stage.

In another season, another superpower – the clubs whose names and riches have made the Champions League what it is – might miss out on these great games.

That was the fear of a dozen leading sides, anyway. Barca had a prominent role, along with Real Madrid and Juventus, as the European Super League was launched.

The competition was to be backed by United States-based investment bank JP Morgan and managed by the owners of the founding clubs, who would be guaranteed entry to the competition.

Three clubs were hoped to join the initial 12, followed by five others qualifying each year to form a 20-team tournament, which would be split into two 10-team leagues prior to a knockout stage.

The idea was for the Super League to replace the lucrative Champions League, rather than domestic leagues – hence its inception on the eve of Champions League reforms. The interested parties even claimed the money raised would benefit "the wider football pyramid".

But the reception was widely critical, while there were notable absentees in the form of Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich, the previous campaign's Champions League finalists.

PSG had spent too much time – and, of course, money – establishing themselves among European football's elite to risk it all in the breakaway.

Meanwhile, Bayern, like most German clubs, are partly fan-owned. And it would soon become clear football fans in general were not enthused by the prospect of seeing Europe's best teams slog it out in a closed-shop tournament.

Then what?

The 12 clubs must have imagined some sort of response, but what followed appeared to stun those involved.

Their own players and coaches announced opposition, with many frustrated these plans had provided such a distraction at a key stage in the season. Notably, Jurgen Klopp fumed when Leeds United, Liverpool's next opponents, told the six-time European champions to "earn it" if they wanted to play in the Champions League.

The rest of football appeared united against those who had sought to cut loose, as former Manchester United captain Gary Neville called for the Old Trafford club to be relegated along with Liverpool and Arsenal.

Unsurprisingly, UEFA, FIFA and even the UK government railed against the Super League, too.

But most importantly, the fans – particularly in England – made clear they would not stand for this apparent betrayal of the sport and its roots.

Chelsea were the first team to back out of the European Super League while Petr Cech attempted to negotiate with furious supporters blocking the team's entrance to Stamford Bridge prior to a drab goalless draw against Brighton and Hove Albion.

With protests following at stadiums up and down the country, the Premier League clubs soon quit the breakaway competition, and they were joined by Inter, Milan and Atletico Madrid, as the Super League was declared dead mere hours after its birth.

Football had won, it was widely acknowledged.

And they all lived happily ever after?

Well, not quite. Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus have continued to pursue the European Super League, their owners refusing to relent.

The huge debts racked up during the coronavirus pandemic contributed to their desperation to land this lucrative deal, with Barca since forced to let club legend Lionel Messi leave on a free transfer due to their inability to afford a new contract for the 34-year-old.

Those who backed out of the controversial plans have at least returned to the European Club Association, in which PSG were huge beneficiaries of their reluctance to follow their elite rivals. Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the PSG president, now leads the ECA in a role that previously belonged to Juve chief Andrea Agnelli.

But even Barca, Madrid and Juve have been able to continue playing in UEFA competitions – those they have qualified for, anyway. Madrid have made the Champions League semi-finals as they bid for a record-extending 14th European crown.

And sceptics could be forgiven for wondering if the new Champions League format sounds a little 'European Super Leaguey'.

As of 2024-25, the group stages will be no more, replaced by – yes – a league. And although the competition is increasing in size to 36 teams, two of the additional four slots are reserved for clubs who have the highest UEFA coefficients but have qualified only for one of the organisation's lesser competitions.

Barca, who toiled in the early stages of this season, or Juve, facing a fight for a top-four finish in Serie A, would have to slump significantly not to be assured of a seat at the time.

The Super League is dead... but long live the Super League?

Simone Inzaghi thinks Inter's recent struggles against rivals Milan will act as extra motivation ahead of their Coppa Italia semi-final second leg.

Inter face Serie A leaders Milan on Tuesday, bidding for a first appearance in the Coppa Italia final since they defeated Palermo to lift the trophy in 2011.

Inter, however, have failed to win any of the three previous derby encounters this season, picking up just a single point in their two league meetings before drawing the first leg of the semi-final 0-0.

Three winless derbies marks Inter's worst such run against the Rossoneri since 2005, but Inzaghi believes the Nerazzurri can use those results to give them an edge this time.

"We've had three derbies so far, two in the league and one in the Coppa Italia," Inzaghi told a news conference.

"We know we have to [win], and we want to win tomorrow because we want to reach the final.

"We could've got more [from the previous games]. We needed to be sharper to make key moments go our way, as they can be pivotal. It's such an important game.

"Certainly [the results could motivate Inter]. The three derbies have all been different. We played very well in the first two, whereas the two teams cancelled each other out in the last one, knowing that there was a second leg to come.

"That was a very cagey game. The team knows that, and we know it's a wonderful chance for us, which we want to grab with both hands.

"We're on track to achieve both of our targets. We're doing very well and mustn't forget that we also won the Italian Super Cup in January."

Inter have been eliminated in each of their last four Coppa Italia semi-final ties, having progressed on six of their previous seven appearances at this stage. Overall, no team has suffered more semi-final eliminations than Inter (19).

Meanwhile, Inter failed to score when classified as the away team in last month's first leg, leaving them at risk of losing on away goals if they concede.

Inzaghi believes, as is the case in UEFA competitions, that the rule should have been abolished this season.

"There had already been talk about the away goal rule before the first leg, but it was too late," he added.

"I think it should've been the same as it is in Europe, but once the decision was made, it's only fair for it to carry on in the same way [as earlier in the competition].

"We'll need to be even more focused, because as we didn't score in the first leg, every moment in the game could prove to be decisive.

"We know how important away goals could be, so we'll have to be fully focused at every point in the game, knowing that we're up against a top side. We'll need to keep focused for the full 95 minutes and for possible extra time as well."

Inter and Milan have faced off in the Coppa Italia on 26 previous occasions, with the Nerazzurri managing eight wins.

Milan's Coppa Italia semi-final against rivals Inter will not have a decisive effect on the Serie A title race, according to Stefano Pioli.

Inter trail Serie A leaders Milan by two points, though now the focus switches to the second leg of their Coppa Italia tie.

The Milan giants played out a 0-0 draw in last month's semi-final first leg at San Siro, and will do battle again on Tuesday with 10 editions of the Coppa Italia having passed since either lifted the trophy. 

While Milan will be desperate to lift Italy's domestic cup for the first time since 2003, Pioli does not believe Tuesday's result will give either team an advantage in Serie A.

"From now until the end, we need to try and win all our matches," Pioli said. "The team are very focused and motivated, and positive energy must accompany us.

"We know very well what we need to do in the league, and I don't think tomorrow's derby will be decisive in this regard. 

"We need to try and win all our Serie A games, regardless of what happens in the Coppa Italia."

Having picked up a win and a draw from the teams' Serie A encounters this term, Milan are on their longest unbeaten run against their rivals (three matches) since a 10-game sequence ending in 2005.

This is the 14th season in which Milan and Inter will face each other on four occasions, and the first since 2004-05, when Milan managed three wins and a draw. The Rossoneri have gone unbeaten throughout all four clashes on seven of the previous 13 instances, but Pioli was mindful of the threat posed by Simone Inzaghi's team.

"All of our past experiences have allowed us to become a team with more awareness," he added. "Every single one of our matches against Inter have been difficult, and the details will make the difference tomorrow.

"There will be moments where we need to put our foot on the pedal, and others where we need to slow down. Inter can be dangerous when given space, and we need to manage the ball as best we can."

Milan's pursuit of silverware has been boosted by a run of seven consecutive clean sheets in all competitions, a sequence that began with Pioli's men denying Inter an important away goal in the first leg.

"Not conceding is important," Pioli added. "I'm a bit surprised because we're a team that takes a few risks in our defending, but the whole team have grown in a significant way. We need to reach high standards when it comes to our application, intensity and focus.

"Our attitude against Inter has always been very consistent, even if it's difficult to prevent them from creating dangerous situations. They take up positions that will force us to do a lot of running, but we have a strategy that we'll try to implement as best we can."

Lautaro Martinez was very close to joining Barcelona from Inter Milan two years ago.

The Blaugrana and the Argentina international had reached a personal agreement, but the financial consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic scuppered any possibility for the former to make any transfer happen.

As ever, though, circumstances in football change and according to reports, they have changed in a way that would allow Barca to finally get the Martinez deal over the line.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA IN FRAME FOR LAUTARO

Barcelona are back in the running to sign Inter's Lautaro Martinez, according to reports from Sport.

The 24-year-old is increasingly likely to leave the reigning Serie A champions, but it appears the club would be willing to lower their asking price in exchange for players as part of a package deal.

Inter have shown interest in Miralem Pjanic and Memphis Depay, two players who appear to be surplus to requirements in a rebuild under Xavi at the Catalan giants.

Martinez, who has provided 15 goals and three assists in 28 league appearances this season, is seen as a more affordable alternative to Erling Haaland and Robert Lewandowski.

 

ROUND-UP

– Liverpool are eyeing Aberdeen right-back Calvin Ramsey to provide depth for Trent Alexander-Arnold, the Sun reports.

Paris Saint-Germain are ready to part ways with Mauricio Pochettino in order to hire Zinedine Zidane as their head coach, per Le Parisien.

– Corriere dello Sport is reporting Roma would consider an offer of €60million (£49.6m) for highly-rated 22-year-old Nicolo Zaniolo, as interest from Serie A and Premier League clubs looms.

– Juventus are prepared to offer for Chelsea's Jorginho, with the Turin giants seeking to bolster their midfield next season, according to Tuttosport.

– Chelsea are willing to let 28-year-old striker Romelu Lukaku go with Inter and PSG interested, per 90Min.

Stefano Pioli explained that his Milan side avoided discussing Inter's earlier win ahead of facing Genoa.

Milan claimed a 2-0 victory thanks to goals from Rafael Leao and Junior Messias in San Siro on Friday.

Their game came hot on the heels of Inter's 3-1 victory at Spezia, a result that had seen the reigning champions briefly move into top spot in Serie A.

However, Milan got the job done, winning for the first time in three games to restore their two-point advantage with five matches left, though Inter do have a game in hand.

Milan are attempting to win their first Serie A title since 2010-11 and Pioli noted that although he knew Inter had won, his side had not discussed the possible ramifications.

"I knew their result, but we didn't talk about it with the team," he told DAZN.

"We had to go back to winning. We knew that whatever happened, we would try to win every game.

"I think we had the right approach and hunger this evening, we ran very few risks and that is an important factor."

Pioli suggested it is difficult to know how to best handle the pressure of the title race, though he backs the character of his players.

He added: "We have to keep going, the tension is rising and so is the pressure. Now we have to feel the pressure as nothing but positive energy.

"Every day [in training] I am undecided whether to increase the pressure or to release it. But, I have to expect a lot from these guys because they are strong.

"We are more aware of our strength, I am pushing for this. There are few games left and we have to do well. Many of us are fighting for the Scudetto for the first time, it is a path that will help us. We want to be winning again."

Milan kept a sixth straight clean sheet, making Pioli only the third coach in the club's history to achieve such a feat in a single Serie A season, after Fabio Capello (twice in 1993-94: seven and nine) and Nereo Rocco (seven in 1971-72).

Key to that has been the form of goalkeeper Mike Maignan, who made a stunning save to deny Genoa's Hernani a consolation in stoppage time.

"We have to continue like this," Pioli said. "Maignan is incredible, he is receiving the right compliments. He must give his contribution to this young team."

Milan have picked up more than 70 points after 33 Serie A games for the first time since their last Scudetto-winning season 11 years ago.

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."

Inter moved back to the summit of Serie A in the latest turn of an enthralling title race after they claimed a 3-1 win over Spezia.

The Nerazzurri threw down a gauntlet to rivals Milan as they deposed them at the top of the table thanks to goals from Marcelo Brozovic, Lautaro Martinez and Alexis Sanchez.

Simone Inzaghi's defending champions could well end the weekend back in second place, with their San Siro neighbours set to face Genoa later on Good Friday.

But victory at Stadio Alberto Picco at least means the Nerazzurri remain neck-and-neck, with a game in hand on the Rossoneri beyond this latest round ensuring destiny stays in their own hands.

In a game where opportunities were initially at a premium, it took almost 15 minutes for either side to register an attempt, with Denzel Dumfries heading wide.

But when Danilo D'Ambrosio headed down a looping cross near the edge of the box in the 31st minute, there was little stopping Brozovic's rasping drive into the top-left corner.

The visitors were not as clinically composed as they would have liked, however.

Nicolo Barella slid reaching for the ball past the hour to fumble a great chance for a second, while Dumfries blazed a subsequent low cross way over the crossbar.

But when Martinez flicked Ivan Perisic's cross beyond Ivan Provedel with just over a quarter-hour to play, Inter looked to be home and dry.

Giulio Maggiore fired home a response late on to set up a nervy final act, but the visitors restored the two-goal cushion in stoppage time, with Sanchez drilling a squared Martinez pass home.

 

Inter are firming as a likely destination for Paulo Dybala, as the end to his time at Juventus draws near.

The Argentina international has provided 96 goals and 51 assists in 265 league appearances for Juventus, but will not stay in an evident rebuild under Max Allegri.

While Dybala is set to leave after seven seasons in Turin, and after a near-move to Tottenham, it appears he might stay in Italy's Serie A after all.

 

TOP STORY – INTER CLOSE IN ON DYBALA

Inter are closing in on Paulo Dybala, whose contract at Juventus will expire at the end of the season, according to reports from La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The 28-year-old attacker has drifted out to the periphery for the Turin giants, ever since Cristiano Ronaldo's transfer, to the point where they are not willing to renew his contract.

Per the report however, Inter face potential stumbling blocks in fitting Dybala within their wage structure, with talks between the club and his representatives focused on bridging any gaps in expectations.

While Inter would seek to bring Dybala in next season, they are not in a capacity to offer a €6milliion salary, currently earned by Lautaro Martinez and Marcelo Brozovic.

Though Inter are unsure of Martinez's future at the San Siro, Alexis Sanchez falling out of favour under Simone Inzaghi could facilitate Dybala's addition.

 

ROUND-UP

– Juventus are keen to sign Roma's Nicolo Zaniolo, and are prepared to add Moise Kean as part of a package deal, according to Nicolo Schira.

Manchester United have reached a verbal agreement in principle for Erik ten Hag to leave Ajax and become their next manager, The Athletic is reporting.

Liverpool are prepared to make a £25million (€30m) offer for Torino's Gleison Bremer, per Tuttomercato.

Barcelona must be prepared to pay Juventus €100m in order to sign 22-year-old centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, Fichajes is reporting.

– Atletico Madrid are interested in signing Lautaro Martinez, with Inter setting a transfer price range of €70-80m, per Nicolo Schira.

Milan boss Stefano Pioli is sick of discussing who is the favourite to win the Scudetto after his side dropped points in a 0-0 draw against Torino.

It was not a strong performance for Milan going forward, finishing with 0.8 expected goals compared to Torino's 1.1, as both teams registered three shots on target.

The result leaves Milan two points clear of Inter and Napoli, while Inter have one game in hand.

Speaking with post-game media, Pioli said he is tired of overreacting to every "misstep" from the title contenders.

"It's been two or three weeks that all those who claim to be favourites have made missteps," he said.

"Our approach was to create difficulties for Torino – with a little more clarity, we could have been more dangerous. 

"It's not for me to give percentages, I never guess. 

"Three weeks ago, during the break, we were super-favourites. Then, Napoli was super-favourite, then Inter. 

"Until the last two days there will be great balance."

Touching on his side's performance against Torino, Pioli discussed the challenge that the 11th-placed side presents.

"It is quite evident that we have done everything to move and give them few points of reference," he said.

"We knew about the difficulties of the game – Toro creates difficulties for everyone in their defensive phase. 

"It is true that we have not created very clear scoring chances, but we created many [dangerous] situations. 

"It's a moment like this, we're not very precise, [but] I can't say anything to the team for spirit and application.

"We are missing that spark, and clearly it's a positive result, but we wanted a win."

Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi was pleased to see his team pick up where they left off after following last week's win in the Derby d'Italia at Juventus with another three points against Hellas Verona on Saturday.

First-half goals from Nicolo Barella and Edin Dzeko sealed a routine 2-0 win for the Nerazzurri, who moved up to second ahead of Napoli and just a point behind city rivals Milan.

It was the first time Inter have won back-to-back Serie A games this year. Indeed, they have done so for the first time since a run of eight league wins between November 2021 and January 2022.

That was what pleased Inzaghi most about the victory, and he told reporters after the game: "It is an important signal to give continuity. It was vital to follow up on the match in Turin.

"We had prepared well for this match because we knew about the strength of Verona, who came from an excellent streak. We played very well in the first half, while in the second we managed the match.

"In the last matches the results had not arrived and the head was heavy, periods like this are understandable."

 

Despite being the reigning champions, Inzaghi believes he has seen a progression in the team since his arrival.

"When I arrived I was aware of the difficulties, but the club absolutely did not want to give up despite the necessary sacrifices," he added. "Trust in this team has never failed."

The former Lazio boss made changes to his starting line-up, bringing Federico Dimarco in for Alessandro Bastoni, explaining: "Dimarco has very important characteristics and in Naples he had done well, while Bastoni came from a tour de force.

"I have the obligation to make the choices and we evaluated that it was a match in which Dimarco was better placed to play.

Stefan de Vrij was forced off at half-time at San Siro, but Inzaghi insisted it was merely a precaution.

"He has had flexor fatigue and it shouldn't be anything serious," he reassured reporters.

Inter moved within a point of Serie A leaders Milan with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Hellas Verona.  

Aiming to win back-to-back league games for the first time this year following their Derby d'Italia defeat of Juventus, Inter were relentless in pressuring Verona in the first half.  

Their superiority yielded the desired rewards as goals from Nicolo Barella and Edin Dzeko put them 2-0 up inside 30 minutes.  

Simone Inzaghi's defending champions were never at risk of surrendering that advantage and could go top next week if Milan failed to respond in kind to his impressive performance. 

Lorenzo Montipo was busy from the off, the Verona goalkeeper producing a strong save to deny Ivan Perisic, and his goal was soon breached by an excellent opener from Barella.  

Barella steered Perisic's left-wing cross in off the bar with a superb effort with the outside of his boot.  

Joaquin Correa was then thwarted by Montipo before Perisic flicked a corner into the path of Dzeko to tap in and make it 2-0.  

Samir Handanovic prevented the deficit from being halved after Giovanni Simeone broke through on goal following a neat one-two with Gianluca Caprari.  

Hakan Calhanoglu fired wide from long range and Danilo D'Ambrosio forced another fine save from Montipo before Dzeko blazed a header over, the final score arguably flattering Verona. 
 

What does it mean? Inter avoid stumble in pulsating title race  

Inter went second with a win that never looked in doubt, moving level with Napoli on 66 points and leapfrogging them due to their superior head-to-head record.  

With Napoli hosting Fiorentina and Milan visiting Torino on Sunday, avoiding a slip-up after the derby triumph over Juve was critical, and Inter did so in style.  

Inter make another fast start 

Barella and Dzeko's goals took Inter to 31 first-half goals in as many Serie A games this season, more than any other team in the division. 

Verona wait goes on 

The visitors offered a meek display in keeping with their away record against Inter. Verona have never won in 31 Serie A away games against Inter, the Nerazzurri tied with Juve as the opposition against whom the Gialloblu have played the most matches on their travels without winning. 

What's next?  

Inter travel to Spezia on Friday, while Verona face a trip to Atalanta three days later. 

Barcelona have asserted they will not break the bank in pursuit of Erling Haaland, but they remain keen on a striker to help Xavi's rebuild.

Robert Lewandowski is seen as a potential option if does not extend his deal at Bayern Munich.

According to reports, Lewandowski is weighing up his options, as Barcelona prepare themselves for a possible move.

 

TOP STORY – DEST TO BE USED AS MAKEWEIGHT?

Sergino Dest will be added as a sweetener to get a potential deal for Bayern's Lewandowski to Barcelona over the line, Sport reports.

Bayern already made a transfer request during the previous off-season's transfer window for the 21-year-old United States international, who has struggled for consistent minutes since Xavi took over as coach in November.

While a combination of Ronald Araujo, Dani Alves and Oscar Mingueza have all filled in at right back this season, Dest has been increasingly viewed as expendable under Xavi's tenure.

Lewandowski's contract runs out in 2023, but a move at the end of this season is still on the cards. Barca could use Dest to partly subsidise what is sure to be a huge asking price.

 

ROUND-UP

– The agent of Chelsea and Germany forward Timo Werner has been in Italy meeting with representatives from MilanJuventus and Atalanta, according to Corriere dello Sport.

– Ajax and Netherlands midfielder Ryan Gravenberch has agreed personal terms with Bayern Munich, per Bild.

– The Mirror is reporting senior figures at Inter are now more open to the idea of a return for Chelsea and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku.

– Villarreal and Netherlands winger Arnaut Danjuma is viewed by Liverpool as a potential replacement for Sadio Mane, Goal has reported, but the Reds are not expected to make a bid until 2023.

Inter boss Simone Inzaghi insists his team will continue to chase Milan and Napoli for the Serie A title after an important 1-0 win at Juventus on Sunday.

A first-half Hakan Calhanoglu penalty was enough for victory in the Derby d'Italia as Inter moved within three points of the top two in the race for the Scudetto.

Massimiliano Allegri's Juventus side will consider themselves unfortunate to have lost, having had 22 shots to the Nerazzurri's five, while the winning goal was the only effort Inter managed on target all game.

Speaking to DAZN after the win, Inzaghi said: "We can chase Milan and Napoli. We have lost some points that we will try to earn in the last eight games from now to the end. It is still very long, [Milan and Napoli] are the favourites, but some will say that it is us."

The former Lazio head coach also insisted there was no controversy about the winning penalty when Calhanoglu's first effort had been saved but the rebound bundled into the net.

The referee initially disallowed the goal and awarded Juve a free-kick, only to then ask for the penalty to be retaken after it emerged Matthijs de Ligt encroached into the box before the first was taken, and Calhanoglu made no mistake at the second time of asking.

"The penalty kick was there, it was already a goal on the rebound and it shouldn't have been repeated," Inzaghi said.

 

Inzaghi also revealed Inter have offered him an extension on his contract, despite rumours he was under pressure after recent results, but added that he will not engage in discussions until the end of the current campaign.

"I have a two-year contract that the club asked me to extend," he said. "I asked to wait until the end [of the season] because contracts are worth what they are worth.

"I feel the trust of the club, of the fans. I'm very happy with what has been done. We had so much fun for seven months and then some criticisms came out. We have been in football for 30 years and we know which criticisms are constructive and which are artfully created."

Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri conceded his side's Serie A title chances had evaporated after their 1-0 home loss against Inter.

The home side controlled the majority of the contest, finishing with 23 shots compared to just five from Inter, but were unable to find the back of the net.

The decisive goal was drenched in controversy as Hakan Calhanoglu's penalty was saved in first-half stoppage time, with the rebound being scrambled in, before VAR and the referee decided other players had entered the box too early, leading to the penalty being retaken.

Calhanoglu made no mistake the second time around, slamming his shot into the bottom-left corner for what ended up being the match-winner.

Speaking to DAZN after the loss, Allegri said the result marked the end of Juventus' hopes of competing for this year's Scudetto.

"From now on we can say that Juventus are definitively cut off from the Scudetto," he said. 

"Now we have to score as many points as possible for fourth place, and then prepare to get off to a good start next year to win the championship. 

"We got off to a bad start, and we have recovered many points, but in the decisive matches the [results] have condemned us."

Despite the bleak outlook, Allegri was complimentary of his side.

"[It was] a good match – a good performance – we created a lot, and shot a lot on goal," he said.

"Too bad for the defeat, [but] there is room for improvement. 

"We have to see the glass half full – the boys have grown up and we have become an important team. We have to work on the technical improvement of the team and try to score as many points as possible… Roma are only five points [behind us]."

Despite Inter now sitting in third place, trailing both AC Milan and Napoli by three points, Allegri declared the Nerazzurri the favourites from here.

"I think Inter are favourites – [they have] the simplest schedule of Milan and Napoli," he said.

"For [Inter] it was an important obstacle to win here, now they will play it all the way and remain the favourites."

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