Joaquin Correa felt his persistence paid off after scoring both goals in Inter's 2-0 win over Udinese.

Despite controlling possession in the Serie A clash, Simone Inzaghi's third-placed side had to be patient for the breakthrough at San Siro on Sunday.

It finally arrived on the hour mark courtesy of Correa's marvellous strike and the Argentina international doubled the lead with a clinical finish just eight minutes later.

On just his third start for the club - and first at San Siro - the Lazio loanee took his tally to four for the season since arriving from the Biancocelesti.

And the forward believes he and his team-mates reaped the rewards for their patience.

"It was a very complicated game and it was so important to get the three points," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"There were very few spaces, but we never stopped playing our football.

"Unfortunately, injuries slowed my progress this season, but I am getting back in shape and will try to help the team any way I can.

"Things weren't going well for me in the first half today either, but I never stopped trying. 

"Now, we have to continue along this path, because everyone in the team wants the same thing."

Following a second successive clean sheet, head coach Inzaghi feels that was testament to the balance within his side.

"This was not a simple game, as we know Udinese are a physical side who closed down the spaces," he said.

"The lads didn't have much time to prepare, but we worked really hard and must continue after two consecutive victories with clean sheets.

"We have excellent defenders, but a clean sheet depends on balance throughout the team and not just the defenders."

Joaquin Correa scored a second-half double as Inter eased to a 2-0 Serie A win over Udinese at San Siro.

Correa had not been on target for the Nerazzurri since striking twice on his debut against Hellas Verona in August but doubled his tally for the champions on Sunday.

The forward took both goals superbly as Simone Inzaghi's third-placed side extended their unbeaten run to four matches.

Lautaro Martinez came on as a late substitute at the end of a week in which he signed a new deal, with Inzaghi rotating his squad ahead of a Champions League clash against Sheriff and the Milan derby in the next week.

Nicolo Barella twice went close to an early opening goal, landing a dipping long-range drive on the roof of the net and forcing Marco Silvestri to save with his feet at the end of a sweeping Inter move that was started by Edin Dzeko.

Andrea Ranocchia headed Hakan Calhanoglu's corner just over from close range and the lively Barella fired straight at Silvestri.

Dzeko was unable to reach a Ranocchia flick-on as desperate last-ditch defending frustrated Inter once again.

The Nerazzurri continued to dominate possession after the break and finally produced a moment of class to open the scoring just before the hour mark.

Ivan Perisic enabled Correa to race away down the left flank with a brilliant dummy and the Argentina international cut into the penalty area before burying a clinical right-foot finish into the bottom-left corner of the net.

Correa doubled Inter's advantage eight minutes later, finding the top-left corner with a sublime finish after the marauding Denzel Dumfries picked him out.

Arturo Vidal drilled narrowly wide from just outside the penalty area and Gerard Deulofeu had a goal ruled out for offside in a deserved win for Inter.

What does the future hold for Paul Pogba?

Pogba, who re-joined Manchester United from Juventus in 2016, is set to become a free agent at season's end.

Juve are believed to be trying to lure Pogba back to Italy.

 

TOP STORY – JUVE LEAD RACE FOR POGBA

Juventus are in pole position to re-sign Paul Pogba from Manchester United, according to Sportitalia journalist Rudy Galetti.

Pogba is out of contract at the end of the season and is reportedly not prepared to sign a new contract with United.

The World Cup-winning France international left United for Juventus in 2012 before returning to Old Trafford in 2016.

Le10 Sport, meanwhile, claims Paris Saint-Germain are circling amid interest from Real Madrid also.

 

ROUND-UP

- Diario AS reports Xavi wants to sign Bayern Munich star Kingsley Coman if he is appointed head coach of LaLiga giants Barcelona . Barca great and Al-Sadd boss Xavi is favourite to replace Ronald Koeman.

Theo Hernandez is set to snub a move to Premier League champions Manchester City or Ligue 1 powerhouse PSG in favour of re-signing with Milan, per Calciomercato.

- The Mirror says Newcastle United are struggling to prise Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag from Amsterdam. Also linked to Manchester United amid pressure on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer , Ten Hag is reluctant to move to Newcastle due to their position in the table.

Inter have planned talks with Marcelo Brozovic regarding a new contract amid interest from PSG , Manchester United , Barca and Atletico Madrid , according to Corriere dello Sport.

Paul Pogba's future at Manchester United remains unclear with his contract winding down.

The 28-year-old midfielder has so far opted against re-signing with the Red Devils.

Pogba had started the season brightly with United but was sent off in Sunday's 5-0 loss to Liverpool.

TOP STORY – UNITED WILLING TO LET POGBA GO FREE

Manchester United will not sell Paul Pogba in January despite the France international becoming a free agent at the end of the season, reports The Telegraph.

United face missing out on recouping some of the £89million they spent on Pogba in 2016 when he joined from Juventus, who are one of the teams who have shown an interest in signing him.

Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked with the World Cup winner.

 

ROUND-UP

Nicolo Barella will re-commit to Inter and sign a new five-year contract with the Italian champions next week, reports Fabrizio Romano. Barella had been linked with the likes of PSGAtletico Madrid and Liverpool.

Eden Hazard will be permitted to leave Real Madrid by boss Carlo Ancelotti if he wants to go, according to Marca. Former club Chelsea and Newcastle United have been linked with the winger.

Tottenham are making plans for Hugo Lloris' exit with Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, formerly of rivals Arsenal, top of their list, claims the Independent.

Liverpool are hoping for Mohamed Salah to agree to a bumper new deal before the January transfer window opens, reports Football Insider.

Christian Eriksen's agent says the Danish midfielder is "doing well" and "in good shape" in light of Inter's statement permitting him to move clubs.

Eriksen collapsed during Denmark's European Championship opener against Finland in June after suffering a cardiac arrest with medics able to resuscitate him.

The 29-year-old midfielder has since been fitted with a pacemaker, which means he is unable to play in Serie A under competition rules.

Inter put out a statement on Thursday in their annual financial results which indicated they were looking to sell him to a club in another league where he may be permitted to play.

"Although the current conditions of the player are not such as to allow the achievement of sporting fitness in Italy, the same could instead be achieved in other countries where therefore the player could resume competitive activity," the Inter statement said.

In response, Eriksen's agent Martin Schoots told Goal: "The statement is a message from the company FC Internazionale Milano SpA to its shareholders.

“Every player has a book value. And since Christian is a contracted player of the club, technically he still has a book value. That’s all it says, it’s an accounting issue and it has not so much to do with Christian himself.

“Christian is doing well. He is spending a lot of quality time with his family. He is in good shape. When there will be more news, it will be communicated."

Eriksen has enjoyed a decorated career, with spells as Ajax and Tottenham before joining Inter in 2020. The attacking midfielder scored four goals in 26 appearances as the Nerazzurri won the Scudetto last term.

Dusan Vlahovic has already made it clear he will not re-sign with Fiorentina.

The in-demand Serbia international is wanted by a host of European clubs.

Juventus are reportedly ready to make their move.

 

TOP STORY – VLAHOVIC TO TURIN IN JANUARY?

Juventus are eyeing a January swoop for Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic, according to Tuttosport.

Vlahovic has no plans to re-sign with Fiorentina and the Serbia forward has been linked to Juve, Inter, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham.

But Juve are believed to be desperate to prise Vlahovic from Florence amid their struggles, while Gazzetta dello Sport claims contact has already been made.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Star reports Manchester United have cooled their interest in Antonio Conte as a possible replacement for under-fire manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer due to his expensive demands. Zinedine Zidane, Ajax boss Erik ten Hag and Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino have also been linked.

Real Madrid and Liverpool are considering moves for United midfielder Paul Pogba, says Ekrem Konur. Pogba is out of contract at the end of the season and he has been linked with Barcelona, PSG and Juventus also.

- ESPN claims Chelsea and Newcastle United have been sounded out over their possible interest in struggling Madrid star Eden Hazard.

- Serie A rivals Inter and Juve are set to battle it out to sign Borussia Monchengladbach star Matthias Ginter, per Sport Bild.

Nicolo Barella will sign his new Inter deal next week, according to Fabrizio Romano. Barella had been linked with the likes of PSG, Atletico and Liverpool.

Inter striker Lautaro Martinez has signed a new four-and-a-half-year contract, the Serie A club have announced.

The Argentina international's new deal expires at the end of the 2025-26 season and does not contain a release clause, according to reports.

Martinez had previously been heavily linked with Barcelona, while rumours of interest from Premier League clubs including Arsenal and Tottenham circulated in the previous transfer window.

However, the 24-year-old has committed his future to the Serie A champions, who had remained determined to keep the former Racing star after seeing Romelu Lukaku depart for Chelsea.

Martinez said on Inter's website: "I am very happy to be here and to stay for so long. I send a big hug to all the Nerazzurri fans. Come on Inter!"

 

The news of Martinez's new deal came on the day Inter announced losses of €245.6million for the 2020-21 financial year.

Inter said the impact of the coronavirus pandemic amounted to approximately €110m due to the loss of matchday revenue from spectators and reduced income from sponsors.

The Nerazzurri also paid €30m towards "the termination of sports contracts". Head coach Antonio Conte left at the end of last season after reported disagreements with the board over transfer plans.

Financial concerns were largely behind Inter's decision to sell Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi, who joined Paris Saint-Germain for a reported initial fee of €60m, while they had also cast doubt on a possible extension for Martinez.

However, speaking at a meeting of shareholders, president Steven Zhang made it clear Inter did not want to compromise their sporting objectives despite the COVID-19 toll.

"Within an economic and social context distorted by the pandemic, the stability and financial sustainability of the company, combined with sporting competitiveness at the highest levels, are the focal points of our strategy," he said.

"The results we have achieved are testament to our work and our commitment. The club has returned to winning ways with a clear and defined vision."

Signed from Racing in July 2018, Martinez has scored 54 goals and provided 15 assists in 144 appearances for Inter in all competitions.

He featured in every Serie A game under Conte last season as they ended their 10-year wait for the Scudetto, combining to devastating effect with Lukaku as Inter finished 12 points clear at the top.

Martinez has five goals in 12 games in 2021-22 under new coach Simone Inzaghi, with Inter third in the table after 10 matches, seven points behind city rivals Milan at the summit.

Antonio Conte drew the best out of Romelu Lukaku at Inter after showing him support that felt lacking at Manchester United, the striker's agent has claimed.

As Conte emerges as a possible candidate to become the next United manager, should Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continue to struggle, his credentials as a coach who helps players to achieve their potential have been underlined by remarks from Lukaku's representative Federico Pastorello.

When Lukaku joined Inter from United in August 2019, it was on the back of a disappointing second year at Old Trafford in which he scored 15 goals in 45 games – 32 were starts – at a rate of one every 201 minutes.

That was the fewest goals he had managed in a full season since establishing himself in the Premier League during a loan spell at West Brom in 2012-13. Lukaku was owned by Chelsea during his time with the Baggies. He saw little action for the Blues first time around, but his Premier League career has come full circle this year after he returned to Stamford Bridge following two prolific years with Inter in Italy.

Four strong seasons at Everton were followed by a 27-goal first campaign with United, before the team's fortunes nosedived in the final months of Jose Mourinho's tenure, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer taking over midway through the 2018-19 campaign.

His goals under Mourinho in that season came at one every 273 minutes, improving to one every 151 minutes once Solskjaer took the reins for the Red Devils.

But Pastorello said Lukaku still needed the assurance he was central to a manager's plans, and he found that at San Siro under Conte, a former Chelsea boss who wanted to sign the striker during his stint in west London.

"Two years of work with Mr Conte helped him. He can score left, right, head. He has completed himself as a striker working with Mr Conte. He also had the opportunity to improve himself personally," Pastorello told Sky Sports News.

"He felt wanted. This is what he was not able to feel at Man United. That happens."

 

Across two years in Italy, Lukaku hit 64 goals in 95 games, at one every 121 minutes. He bettered his expected goals tally of 57.73 and created 133 chances, having carved out just 82 in 96 games for United.

According to Pastorello, Thomas Tuchel showed a compelling desire to make Lukaku a prize asset at Chelsea, making "a fantastic speech" that convinced the Belgian striker a second spell at Stamford Bridge was the right switch.

"He gave him the feeling that he really wanted him, that he was the perfect last piece in the puzzle," Pastorello said, recalling Tuchel's words to Lukaku before the reported £97.5million transfer. "It's very crucial for a player to decide to go in a team with a coach that really wants him."

After making a fast start at Chelsea, with four goals in his first four games across all competitions, Lukaku finds himself on a seven-goal barren run, with Tuchel saying the striker is mentally fatigued. He is also currently injured, with no clear indication yet of when he might return.

Despite the brouhaha surrounding his early impressive performances, Lukaku's goals in this spell for Chelsea have now come at an average of one every 208 minutes, albeit these are just the early stages of the campaign. The fact Chelsea sit top of the Premier League has eased the pressure on Lukaku to hit another scoring streak.

"Rom's brain and his mind is very focused with Chelsea," Pastorello said. "He will rest a little bit, but he'll be back with more will to win trophies."

Lukaku has missed Chelsea's last two games due to a minor injury sustained in last week's Champions League win over Malmo.

Inter striker Lautaro Martinez has signed a new four-and-a-half-year contract, the Serie A club have announced.

The Argentina international's new deal expires at the end of the 2025-26 season and does not contain a release clause, according to reports.

Martinez had previously been heavily linked with Barcelona, while rumours of interest from Premier League clubs including Arsenal and Tottenham circulated in the previous transfer window.

However, the 24-year-old has committed his future to the Serie A champions, who had remained determined to keep the former Racing star after seeing Romelu Lukaku depart for Chelsea.

Aurelio Andreazzoli claimed even his "four-year-old grandson could see that was a penalty" after he was left furious with the refereeing in Empoli's 2-0 defeat to Inter.

Danilo D'Ambrosio headed in the opener for Inter after 33 minutes but Empoli felt Nedim Bajrami had been fouled at the other end by the Nerazzurri centre-back.

Federico Dimarco subsequently added a second following Samuele Ricci's dismissal for a reckless challenge on Nicolo Barella, leaving Andreazzoli fuming over the standard of officiating in Wednesday's Serie A clash.

"I want to be very clear that I have never talked about referees, because I think they ought to be defended as a profession," Andreazzoli told Sky Sport Italia.

"However, I want to know what exactly Paolo Valeri was doing this evening at the VAR desk. Either he was distracted or he popped to the bathroom or something, because how is it possible that VAR does not help the referee when it has to?

"Let’s leave aside the Inter performance, just like the red card for Ricci, which I’ll admit was basically an orange card and I accept that. I always accept decisions.

"However, if VAR sees a clear and obvious error, I ask myself why do they not help the referee? That is what they are there for.

"Honestly, even my four-year-old grandson Tommaso could see that was a penalty. I saw it on a phone when I went back into the locker room at the final whistle and was shocked when I saw the replay.

"If we do not use these instruments and this technology, then we remove the objectivity of refereeing in games. The matches must be objective. The referee did a good job overall, but he didn’t see that incident, the VAR did, so help him make the right decisions."

Inter managed a seventh consecutive top-flight clean sheet on the road against Andreazzoli's team – their best run against a single opponent in the competition and tied for the best streak of any one side against another.

At the other end, Alexis Sanchez assisted D'Ambrosio's opener - his 21st goal involvement in 23 Serie A starts with the Nerazzurri in Serie A (nine goals, 12 assists) - and Inter's assistant manager Massimiliano Farris was quick to praise the Chile international.

"It’s true that his characteristics are fairly unique within the team, but Joaquin Correa could do something similar if called upon," Farris said post-match to Sky Sport Italia.

"Alexis has that creativity, that moment of magic, you just need to see the assist for D’Ambrosio’s goal.

"D’Ambrosio and Dimarco are added value to this squad and bring more than you’d expect.

"It’s a pity Lautaro Martinez didn’t score today, but he’s saving his goals for other games. We made a few changes, everyone showed they were ready when called upon, as everyone has to work together as a team."

Danilo D'Ambrosio and Federico Dimarco were on target as Inter returned to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over 10-man Empoli on Wednesday.

Simone Inzaghi's side had stuttered in Serie A in recent weeks, losing to Lazio and drawing with Juventus before this trip to Empoli.

However, D'Ambrosio broke the deadlock in the first half, scoring in a seventh consecutive top-flight campaign, and Samuele Ricci's dismissal for a reckless challenge after the break eased Inter's task.

Dimarco capitalised to make sure of the points and consolidate the Nerazzurri's third-place position.

Petar Stojanovic's speculative long-range effort had brought the first save of the contest from Samir Handanovic, before Dimarco tried his luck from a similar distance and was denied by Guglielmo Vicario.

The Empoli goalkeeper was powerless 11 minutes before the break, when D'Ambrosio headed into the bottom-left corner following Alexis Sanchez's dinked pass.

Nicolo Barella almost doubled Inter's lead on the stroke of half-time but blasted against the woodwork, before Ricci received a straight red card for a dangerous sliding challenge on the Nerazzurri midfielder after the interval.

Roberto Gagliardini then headed onto the left-hand post and Martinez was denied by a wonderful Vicario stop, either side of Sanchez's close-range finish being chalked off for offside.

Dimarco eventually added a second in the 66th minute, tapping in Martinez's low cross at the back post, although the visitors could have won by more, with two more goals ruled out. Gagliardini was penalised for handball and Stefano Sensi was flagged in the closing stages.

Any hopes of Paul Pogba remaining at Old Trafford appear to be fading. 

The Manchester United stalwart has halted contract talks with the club. 

Multiple European clubs are said to be interested in the 28-year-old. 

 

TOP STORY – POGBA ENDS MAN UTD TALKS

Paul Pogba has ended talks over a potential new contract at Manchester United amid an apparent row with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, The Sun reports. 

The France international will be out of contract in June and appears likely to move on. 

The Sun reports he apologised to his team-mates but did not speak to Solskjaer after being sent off 15 minutes after coming on as a substitute in Sunday's 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool. 

His former club Juventus could be an option, while Paris Saint-GermainReal Madrid and Barcelona are also said to have shown interest. 

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona would prefer to have Jurgen Klopp take over whenever they sack Ronald Koeman, says Sport. Klopp is under contract with Liverpool through 2024. 

- Newcastle United are prepared to offer Alex Ten Hag £6million a year after taxes if he leaves Ajax for St. James' Park, reports the Mail. 

- Arsenal and Manchester City are interested in Barcelona's Spain international Sergi Roberto, says Fichajes. 

- Inter have had talks with Sampdoria midfielder Morten Thorsby's agent over a potential move, claims Calciomercato. 

- River Plate forward Julian Alvarez is drawing interest from Milan, Bayer Leverkusen and Aston Villa, says Calciomercato. 

Paulo Dybala and Federico Chiesa will start Juventus' Serie A clash with Sassuolo after Massimiliano Allegri accepted he made a mistake with his team selection against Inter.

Allegri introduced Dybala and Chiesa from the substitutes' bench with Juve trailing in Sunday's match at San Siro, and the former netted a late penalty to rescue a 1-1 draw.

Despite only being brought on in the 65th minute, Dybala led the way among Juventus players for shots (four), shots on target (two) and big chances created (two).

The Argentina international, who was returning from a four-game injury lay-off, has been directly involved in more goals (six) than any team-mate in all competitions this term.

Chiesa's 12 chances created this term, meanwhile, has been bettered by only Alvaro Morata (13) and Juan Cuadrado (15).

Juventus head coach Allegri explained the decision to overlook the pair for Derby d'Italia selection was down to fitness issues, with both set to be recalled against Sassuolo on Wednesday.

"Paulo and Chiesa will play, so everybody is happy. You write and I make you happy," Allegri, who was criticised for his team selection, said at his pre-match news conference.

"Dybala has important technical qualities. He is different from [Dejan] Kulusevski, but Kulusevski played a good game in Milan in the first 60 minutes.

"Chiesa is a top player. He's played many games already. On Sunday, I was wrong, but I had read the game in a different way, with Kulusevski man-marking [Marcelo] Brozovic.

"It's not a problem if a player starts on the bench, there are many games. Chiesa didn't drop to the bench because he deserved it. I had read the game in a certain way.

"Eventually, when he was introduced, we needed more quality and he had a great impact.

"Federico is a reference point for the national team and Juventus, but if I use the same players all the time, I'll need 20 new players in January.

"We hope we’ll play 57 games this season and sometimes players must rest. They can benefit from it, physically and mentally."

 

Allegri also confirmed Adrien Rabiot is back and available, but Moise Kean and Federico Bernardeschi are ruled out for the visit of Sassuolo to Allianz Stadium.

Juve have taken 13 points from their last five Serie A matches – only Milan (15) are in better form – but they still sit down in sixth after a poor start to Allegri's second tenure.

The Bianconeri trailed leaders Napoli by 10 points heading into the weekend games, while Inter were also seven points off top spot, but Allegri still rates the defending champions as favourites to win the Scudetto.

"[Simone] Inzaghi won't admit it, but Inter are the favourites to win Serie A," Allegri said. "Anything can happen in football, but they remain the favourites.

"We had a bad start, so there is no room for mistakes. The draw against Inter is important, but only if we win tomorrow."

Juventus have lost only one of their 16 Serie A matches against 13th-place Sassuolo (W12 D3) – a 1-0 defeat in October 2015 via a Nicola Sansone goal.

What does the future hold for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer?

His position as Manchester United manager is becoming more uncertain after an embarrassing loss to Liverpool.

A former Premier League-winning boss, Antonio Conte, is believed to be waiting in the wings.

 

TOP STORY – CONTE EYEING UNITED ROLE?

The Manchester United job would be a priority for Antonio Conte should the Red Devils part with embattled manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, according to Sportitalia journalist Gianluigi Longari.

Solskjaer is facing fierce criticism following Sunday's humiliating 5-0 defeat to Premier League rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford.

Former Inter and Chelsea boss Conte has been linked with Newcastle United following talk of a pre-season move to Tottenham, while the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag and Paris Saint-Germain's Mauricio Pochettino could reportedly be considered for the United role.

 

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger is in talks with Manchester City, Tottenham and Juventus, per Gianluca Di Marzio. The Germany international is available on a free transfer at season's end amid reported interest from Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain.

- Marcelo wants to leave Madrid for Fluminense in 2022, claims El Nacional. Marcelo is out of contract at the end of the season.

- El Nacional says Barcelona have decided to sell United States international Sergino Dest. The 20-year-old has struggled for form at Camp Nou and he has been linked with Bayern.

Inter and Juve both identified Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic and Sampdoria's Mikkel Damsgaard, per Calciomercato. Vlahovic has also been linked with City, Atletico Madrid, Tottenham and Arsenal.

- Calciomercato claims Serie A high-flyers Milan are eyeing Brest midfielder Romain Faivre.

 

Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta said there is "absolutely nothing" in reports claiming talks between the Serie A champions and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) regarding a potential takeover.

Suning's ownership of Inter remains in doubt, despite the sales of star pair Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi, as the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic continues.

PIF completed a takeover of Premier League side Newcastle United, though they were linked with Inter prior and they reportedly remain interested in the Nerazzurri.

Marotta, however, dismissed the possibility of Suning seeking a sale in the immediate future.

"I am not a shareholder, but in the past few days I have spoken with the president and he has given reassurances on his continuing on," Marotta told DAZN prior to Sunday's 1-1 draw with Juventus.

"There are absolutely nothing concrete to do with that fund, as far as the question of ownership.

"I limit myself to managing the club with my colleagues, we try to do it in the best way."

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