RedBird Capital Partners on Wednesday completed a €1.2billion takeover of Serie A champions Milan.

It was confirmed in June that RedBird had agreed a deal to acquire Milan from Elliott.

The American private investment firm is now officially the owner of the Rossoneri, with Yankee Global Enterprises (YGE), the owner of the New York Yankees, entering into strategic partnership and acquiring a minority equity stake in the club.

Gerry Cardinale, RedBird founder and managing partner, said: "Our vision for Milan is clear: we will support our talented players, coaches and staff to deliver success on the pitch and allow our fans to share in the extraordinary experiences of this historic club. 

"We will look to leverage our global sports and media network, our analytics expertise, our track record in sports stadium developments and hospitality to deliver one goal – maintaining Milan’s place at the summit of European and world football."

RedBird’s portfolio of global sports and entertainment investments includes Fenway Sports Group (the owner of Liverpool, the Boston Red Sox and the Pittsburgh Penguins), Ligue 1 club Toulouse and Indian Premier League franchise the Rajasthan Royals.

On the partnership with YGE, Cardinale said: "We have a multi-decade relationship with the New York Yankees and the Steinbrenner family that has resulted in the creation of some of the most successful businesses in sports, entertainment and hospitality. 

"We are very pleased to continue our partnership with them and will look to explore opportunities together to broaden our fan reach and expand commercial opportunities that are only available to franchises that operate at the highest levels of sports globally."

Stefano Pioli criticised Milan after a poor performance resulted in a goalless draw with Sassuolo, but the head coach expects better in Saturday's derby against Inter.

The Rossoneri have two wins and two draws in the first four games of their Serie A title defence, though the display on Tuesday away at Sassuolo left much to be desired.

Pioli's side were far from their best, perhaps fortunate to share the spoils after Mike Maignan was required to save a Domenico Berardi penalty in the first half.

Having missed a chance to collect three points, Milan opened the door for Inter, Roma and Napoli to leapfrog them in the early stages of the 2022-23 Scudetto race.

Fierce rivals Inter are next up for Pioli and the Milan coach acknowledged there must be an improvement on this latest showing.

"It was not a Milan of quality, technique or decision-making," Pioli said. "We played football that was too frenetic, we weren't able to read the game and this made it complicated.

"It made it dirty, ruffled and with little rhythm. We struggled to find spaces. We started well, I liked the beginning very much, then we lost calmness and we were in too much of a hurry in the search for the opponent's goal.

"I have already seen the players, they have spoken more. We lacked quality and calmness, they are aware and it is important. I think that the next matches will be different."

Asked whether preparations were different due to the looming clash with Inter, Pioli added: "We recovered after [Saturday's 2-0 win over] Bologna and tried to prepare for the game well from a tactical point of view.

"Saying something to the team for the derby will be easy. It is a derby, the rivalry is high and we know how much the result can weigh and we will prepare for it in the best possible way."

Fast-paced play and a never-say-die attitude characterised Milan's route to Scudetto glory last season – a facet that was largely missing against Sassuolo.

Milan's championship-winning season has changed the way Pioli's side are judged, and the coach urged his players to rise to that challenge.

Pioli said: "Our expectations have increased and we have to hold them up, but that's right, it's a privilege."

Milan will go into the derby with Inter having suffered another early blip in the Scudetto race after being held to a 0-0 draw at Sassuolo.

The defending Serie A champions got back to winning ways at the weekend with a 2-0 victory over Bologna, having previously been held by Atalanta.

But they were not at their best on Tuesday in a game they would have lost had Mike Maignan not saved a first-half penalty from Domenico Berardi – the Italy international who later came off with a seemingly concerning injury.

It means Milan are still unbeaten with two wins and two draws from four games, but the stalemate offered Inter – along with the likes of Roma, Napoli and Lazio – the chance to leapfrog the Rossoneri in this round of midweek fixtures.

Milan unsurprisingly made the early running and went close in the 16th minute when Brahim Diaz dragged wide from the edge of the area.

Yet Sassuolo were gifted a chance to take the lead when Giorgos Kyriakopoulos was tripped just inside the box by Alexis Saelemaekers in the 21st minute.

However, Berardi's penalty lacked direction and Maignan was equal to it, his save providing a huge let-off for the champions.

Berardi's day got worse when he had to be helped off seven minutes into the second half and was clearly emotional in the dugout after coming off. 

Kristian Thorstvedt drew a comfortable save from Maignan as the hosts initially enjoyed the better of the second period.

Chances at either end were few and far between thereafter, though, Milan hitting the target just twice in an underwhelming display that was capped by Alessandro Florenzi limping down the tunnel in injury time.

Rafael Leao scored one and assisted another as Milan continued their unbeaten Serie A start with a dominant 2-0 victory over Bologna.

Stefano Pioli's side had to recover from a goal down in each of their opening two league games, winning one and drawing the other, but did not need another rescue act on Saturday.

Leao was a constant threat down the left flank and grabbed a deserved goal in the first half, before setting up a smart Olivier Giroud finish in the second half to cap an impressive performance.

Victory at least temporarily moved Milan to the top of the embryonic Serie A table, while the Rossoneri are now unbeaten in 19 top-flight games – the longest ongoing undefeated streak in Europe's top five leagues.

 

Pioli's men started slowly but kicked into gear after 21 minutes as Charles de Ketelaere dispossessed Jerdy Schouten and powered forward to tee up Leao, who rolled his finish into the bottom-left corner.

De Ketelaere continued to be Milan's chief creative force, chipping a delicate pass through for Pierre Kalulu, only for the defender to waste a glorious one-on-one chance up against Lukasz Skorupski.

Junior Messias was the next to be thwarted by Skorupski, before Leao blazed over the rebound, and Giroud dragged just wide of the target prior to the break.

The Rossoneri deservedly doubled their lead after 58 minutes when Leao lofted in a cross from the left for Giroud to acrobatically volley into the bottom-right corner.

Nicola Sansone almost hit back for Bologna, but his driven effort cannoned against Mike Maignan's right-hand post as Milan preserved their first clean sheet of the campaign.

What does it mean? Milan continue Bologna dominance

Milan had only lost one of their previous 25 Serie A meetings with Bologna, with that defeat coming in January 2016 when Rossoblu coach Sinisa Mihajlovic was with the Rossoneri.

Given their recent dominance in this fixture and last season's Scudetto-winning exploits, it came as little surprise to see Milan control most of proceedings – not allowing a single Bologna shot on target.

With Inter to come next weekend, Milan have thrown down an early marker as they look to defend their title this season.

Home comforts for Leao

Leao was a pivotal factor for Pioli last season as Milan edged out fierce rivals Inter to lift the Scudetto, and the Portugal international proved his worth once more here.

The 23-year-old has scored eight times in the league at home since the start of 2022, with no Serie A player finding the net on more occasions at their own stadium in that time.

Awful Arnautovic

Marko Arnautovic was in the headlines earlier in the month after being linked to Manchester United, only for backlash from Red Devils fans to seemingly end any talk of a move.

The forward subsequently became the first player to score in both of Bologna's first two games in a Serie A season since Roberto Baggio in 1997-98, but he failed to deliver up against Milan's well-regimented defence.

What's next?

Milan will look to maintain their unbeaten run when they travel to Sassuolo on Tuesday ahead of the derby against Inter. Bologna host Salernitana on Thursday.

All signs point to Chelsea securing the services of Everton winger Anthony Gordon, although the selling club may not be content with just a hefty transfer fee, with reports they are also demanding a player on loan in return.

The report from talkSPORT mentions Chelsea have offered £50million plus around £10m in add-ons, and that Gordon has informed Everton of his interest in heading to Stamford Bridge, but they will not let him leave without first investigating what else they could come away with in the deal.

It names 20-year-old striker Armando Broja and 22-year-old midfielder Conor Gallagher as the two players Frank Lampard would like to bring in for the season on a loan deal – two players Thomas Tuchel has publicly declared the club has no interest in parting ways with.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA ASKED TO SEND OVER A PLAYER AS WELL AS CASH FOR GORDON

Gordon is young, under contract through 2025, and is on track to potentially break through on the international stage and represent England at this year's World Cup, so it is fair to say Everton will not let him walk without a deal they believe will benefit them long-term.

An extra £50m in the transfer market will allow plenty of flexibility either in this window or in January, but the prospect of also receiving a high-quality loanee to fill Gordon's shoes in the meantime is what really interests the club.

Broja impressed on loan at Southampton last season and would give Everton another option to support Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who is out injured. Gallagher enjoyed a fine campaign at Crystal Palace, meanwhile, and might want regular minutes ahead of the World Cup.

The Mirror adds Everton would like to have a suitable replacement lined up for transfer before finalising a Gordon move, and have named Watford's Joao Pedro and Southampton's Che Adams as players the Toffees have enquired about.

ROUND-UP

Manchester United are prepared to offer Eintracht Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp a salary in the range of £9m to join the club, according to Sport1.

– Fabrizio Romano is reporting that West Ham have submitted an €11m offer to Club Brugge for midfielder Hans Vanaken.

– According to 90min, Roma and Milan are both hoping to secure Chelsea's Trevor Chalobah on loan, with the Blues continuing their pursuit of Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana.

Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund are discussing a potential defender swap that would send Sergino Dest to Germany while Thomas Meunier would head to Spain, per Sport.

– Sport also claims Barcelona are interested in Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin.

Chelsea lost 3-0 to Leeds United on Sunday and it would appear that defeat has sparked the Blues into action.

New owner Todd Boehly has been keen to make his mark since arriving at Stamford Bridge, bringing in Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella among others.

But head coach Thomas Tuchel wants more. Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana is a priority target for the defence, while last week Chelsea had two bids rejected by Everton for Anthony Gordon.

Now it would appear the Blues are confident of completing the signing, while they are also reportedly in talks to land a second attacker.

TOP STORY - CHELSEA IN FOR GORDON AND LEAO

The Times reports that Chelsea will this week push ahead and match Everton's £50million asking price for winger Gordon, who scored four goals in a breakthrough Premier League season last term.

Everton boss Frank Lampard stressed the importance of Gordon to his plans, and played the 21-year-old against Nottingham Forest on Saturday, but also suggested that a decision might have to be made if a bid was too good to turn down.

Gordon might also be joined in moving to Stamford Bridge by Milan star Rafael Leao. The Portugal international scored 11 times for the Rossoneri as they won Serie A last season, and the same report claims that Chelsea are in talks with the Italian champions over a move for the 23-year-old.

ROUND-UP

- Several outlets are reporting that West Ham have struck a deal with Chelsea to sign left-back Emerson Palmieri for around £13million.

- Eric Bailly is close to joining Marseille on loan from Manchester United, according to Fabrizio Romano.

- The Telegraph claims Newcastle United have been told they must pay £30million to buy striker Joao Pedro from Watford.

- Villarreal coach Unai Emery told El Larguero that Edinson Cavani could join the club, while he also said that Juan Foyth is of interest to Barcelona.

- Everton were hoping to have Idrissa Gueye and Mohammed Kudus signed but have bumped into difficulties with Paris Saint-Germain and Ajax respectively, says The Times.

- Fabrizio Romano also reports that Fulham and Roma will hold further talks this week over Justin Kluivert.

- Barca defender Samuel Umtiti will join Lecce, says Gianluca Di Marzio.

Stefano Pioli hailed Milan's resilience and maturity after the Serie A champions came from behind to claim a 1-1 draw at Atalanta on Sunday.

Milan looked set to suffer a first league defeat since a 2-1 loss to Spezia on January 17 when Ruslan Malinovskyi's long-range effort deflected past Mike Maignan.

However, Ismael Bennacer arced a terrific left-footed effort in off the post to spare the Rossoneri's blushes in the second half.

Although the result halted Milan's seven-match winning run in Serie A and denied the champions a perfect start to the new campaign, it offered further evidence of the Rossoneri's remarkable powers of recovery.

Milan have claimed more points from losing positions than any other Serie A side in 2022 (14), and the overall picture left Pioli satisfied.

"I go away convinced that we are strong, we have shown it," Pioli said. "Of course, there is the regret of not having won the game, it is a pity not to have won it, but I have seen a solid and mature team.

"The boys gave very little to a very strong opponent, we suffered less pressure. Later there will be many aspects to highlight in order to improve."

 

Milan also recovered from a goal down to beat Udinese 4-2 in a thrilling contest last week, meaning they have fallen behind in consecutive Serie A matches for the first time since November 2021 (a 1-1 draw with Inter and a 4-3 defeat to Fiorentina).

Although Pioli was relieved at clinching a point against a lively Atalanta, the Rossoneri boss did highlight the need for attacking improvements, adding: "The last step was missing.

"[Junior] Messias' two chances, but also [Pierre] Kalulu's, are chances that you have to try to take advantage of. We'll go to work on these details, we faced a strong team that bothers everyone."

Recent arrival Charles De Ketelaere impressed after entering the fray as a second-half substitute in Bergamo, and Pioli is looking forward to seeing more of the former Club Brugge attacker in the coming weeks.

"He is growing, he is working on an equal level with his team-mates, the setting requires mutual knowledge, but he is a quality player," Pioli added.

"He will give us the right satisfactions, he will make us have fun. Now I can't tell you if he will play against Bologna [on Saturday], but we will start a period of matches every three days. Everyone will be starting."

Milan came from behind to claim a 1-1 draw against Atalanta as Ismael Bennacer cancelled out Ruslan Malinovskyi's opener with a fine equaliser for the Serie A champions. 

Malinovskyi's deflected first-half effort put Gian Piero Gasperini's hosts in the ascendency as Junior Messias, Pierre Kalulu and Theo Hernandez spurned good opportunities for the visitors.

With Stefano Pioli's side pinning Atalanta back after the break, Bennacer bent a fine effort home to earn Milan a valuable point in their bid to defend the Scudetto.

While Milan were unable to force a winner and make it two wins from two Serie A outings, they remain unbeaten in league action since January after claiming a point from a difficult away trip.

Rafael Leao and Malinovskyi both dragged efforts into the side-netting during an open start, before Messias volleyed wide after receiving a glorious cross-field pass from Hernandez 23 minutes in.

The hosts hit the front in the 29th minute when Malinovskyi met Joakim Maehle's cut-back with a left-footed strike from the edge of the area, beating Mike Maignan with the help of a slight deflection off Kalulu.

Kalulu headed Hernandez's free-kick over as Milan looked to respond after the break, before Leao cut inside to bend a long-range effort narrowly wide of the top-right corner.

Maignan turned Mario Pasalic's powerful header over the crossbar 10 minutes into the second half, before Juan Musso raced off his goal-line to smother Hernandez's goal-bound effort as the Rossoneri upped the ante.

Atalanta's resistance was finally broken with 22 minutes remaining, Bennacer whipping a terrific effort in off the far post after cutting in from the right to ensure the spoils were shared.

Stefano Pioli has rejected suggestions Milan are favourites to retain the Serie A title this season, claiming the Rossoneri will struggle to match last campaign's tally of 86 points in a "very competitive" league.

Milan ended an 11-year wait for the Scudetto when they edged out rivals Inter at the end of a fierce title race in May, and began the new campaign with a thrilling 4-2 victory over Udinese last week.

But several sides, including Inter, Juventus, Napoli and Roma – all of whom also started the season with a victory – have been tipped to challenge Milan for their crown, and Pioli expects a difficult fight.

"We have to be an interchangeable team," Pioli said ahead of Sunday's trip to Atalanta.

"It will be such a balanced championship that it will be difficult to score last year's points. Difficulties will come for everyone, even with teams that you don't expect.

"There are seven or eight strong teams, a very balanced and competitive league. One game at a time we must continue on our path and work to become more and more competitive.

"We are strong, here we all have to feel important, but nobody is indispensable. What is indispensable is the mentality and the work. 

"The winner will be whoever is the most consistent in results and performances. You have to play with intensity and quality. 

"Head-to-head matches are important and last year we won precisely because we scored so many points with the big teams."

Milan started both of their previous full Serie A seasons under Pioli with consecutive victories, beating Bologna and Crotone to begin the 2020-21 campaign before overcoming Sampdoria and Cagliari last term, and will be looking to maintain that record in Bergamo on Sunday.

Meanwhile, since clinching the title, Milan have acquired Belgian attackers Charles de Ketelaere and Divock Origi, and Pioli has refused to rule out further activity before the closure of the transfer window.

However, the 56-year-old insists the Rossoneri will only move for the right target, as he revealed Simon Kjaer is closing in on a return after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury last year.

"As for the market, we have the will - if the situation were right - to improve certain situations," he added.

"But the squad is strong, Kjaer is approaching 100 per cent. I repeat, if we find something to improve well [we may be active], otherwise we are already competitive like this."

Juventus and Milan target Domenico Berardi has signed a new contract with Sassuolo that will keep him at the club until 2027.

Berardi impressed again for Sassuolo in the 2021-22 season, scoring 15 times in Serie A – the third consecutive campaign the forward has posted double figures in the league.

He also recorded the most assists in the Italian top flight (14) and was the only Serie A forward to manage double figures for both goals and assists.

The 28-year-old has been at Sassuolo his entire career, but there had been suggestions recently that he could be tempted by a new challenge.

He was linked to Juventus, who co-owned him between 2013 and 2015, while Liverpool and Milan were also among those reportedly interested in the Italy international.

However, it was announced on Wednesday that he had pledged his future to the club for a further five years.

Berardi was in the headlines for the wrong reasons last week after he was involved in a heated spat with a Modena fan.

Sassuolo were eliminated from the Coppa Italia by their Serie B hosts at Stadio Alberto Braglia, with their loss followed by Berardi apparently chasing an opposing supporter outside the ground.

The footage went viral, but Berardi took to social media to offer an explanation, suggesting his family had been targeted off the pitch to spark his ire.

 

Chelsea are reportedly weighing up a second bid for 21-year-old Everton winger Anthony Gordon after their initial £40million offer was turned down.

Gordon, a product of Everton's youth academy, broke into the first team this past season, tallying four goals and two assists in 35 Premier League appearances.

Manager Frank Lampard has publicly said the club values him highly and that he is not for sale, but with a bidding war beginning to emerge, it remains to be seen if there is a price that could change that mindset.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA CHASE ENGLAND UNDER-21 WINGER

According to ChronicleLive, it was Newcastle United who first approached Everton with a £35m offer, which Chelsea caught wind of and immediately began the process of coming in over the top with a larger bid.

Gordon is only a couple of seasons into a five-year extension that ties him to the club until 2025, although further reporting from CBS claims Everton have told interested parties that a figure of £50m would trigger a serious conversation.

CBS's Ben Jacobs adds that Chelsea are very interested in including players in their offer, although Everton have no desire to bring back Ross Barkley, and the Stamford Bridge club do not want to include Armando Broja, although Michy Batshuayi was mentioned as a possibility.

Newcastle are expected to re-enter the chase for Gordon if Chelsea can agree on a fee.

 

ROUND-UP

– Deportivo Mundo are reporting Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang wants to stay at Barcelona and fight for a starting spot after a £12m bid from Chelsea was turned down, although Metro claims the Spanish giants would accept a bid in the range of £23m.

– According to the Mirror, Manchester United, Arsenal and West Ham are all interested in 20-year-old Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo.

– Sky Sports Italy reports Nottingham Forest are close to landing Arsenal target Houssem Aouar from Lyon, and talkSPORT add the newly promoted Premier League side have also bid £17m for Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Djibril Sow.

Leicester City are prepared to let Youri Tielemans leave on a free transfer at the end of the season, according to the Times.

West Ham have made a €10m offer for 22-year-old Spezia centre-back and Polish international Jakub Kiwior, per Calciomercato, with Milan also said to have interest.

Milan recovered from conceding just two minutes into their Serie A title defence to beat Udinese 4-2 at San Siro on Saturday.

The opening game of the season in the Italian top flight for the Rossoneri saw a penalty from Theo Hernandez, two goals from Ante Rebic and another from Brahim Diaz guide them to three points, despite conceding twice to the visitors through Rodrigo Becao and Adam Masina.

New signings Charles de Ketelaere and Divock Origi were named on the bench for Stefano Pioli's side, with the former introduced for the final 20 minutes and the latter for the final seven in front of their new fans. 

It was a losing start for new Udinese head coach Andrea Sottil, though he will have been buoyed by his team's ability to keep Milan honest in a game that was more open in the first half than Pioli would have liked.

It was far from an ideal start for the hosts as Udinese took the lead in just the second minute when Becao headed a Gerard Deulofeu corner in at the near post.

That advantage did not last long though as a VAR check led to a Milan penalty being awarded on 10 minutes after Brandon Soppy was judged to have fouled Davide Calabria, with Hernandez calmly dispatching the spot kick.

The champions were in front just four minutes later when neat play from Diaz gave Calabria the chance to cross to Rebic, who swept the ball past Marco Silvestri.

Deulofeu made a mess of a chance when in on goal, but Udinese were level just before half-time when two more former Watford players combined, with Roberto Pereyra crossing for Masina to head in at the far post.

If Milan made a slow start in the first half, Udinese managed to trump it in the second as Nehuen Pereza and Masina made a mess of a Hernandez cross from the left, allowing Diaz to prod the hosts back in front just 34 seconds after the restart.

Diaz had been a thorn in Udinese's side all game, and won the ball inside the opposition's box on 68 minutes before squaring to Rebic to lift his finish into the roof of the net to seal the win.

Fikayo Tomori has signed a new contract to keep him at Milan until June 2027.

The England defender joined the Rossoneri on a permanent deal from Chelsea in July 2021 after a successful loan spell at San Siro.

Tomori put pen to paper on a four-year deal with Milan when he left Stamford Bridge just over 13 months ago.

The commanding centre-back played a big part as Milan ended an 11-year wait to win the Serie A title last season and he has been rewarded with a contract extension.

Chelsea academy graduate made 30 appearances for Stefano Pioli's side in the Italian top flight last season, helping the champions keep 13 clean sheets.

He won more tackles (44) than any other Milan defender, and had the most tackles won (44), blocks (23), interceptions (44) and clearances (77).

The 24-year-old's new deal was announced on the eve of the champions' first game of the Serie A season against Udinese at San Siro on Saturday.

Stefano Pioli says Milan will "not back down" in the transfer market as they eye further reinforcements ahead of a "special" season.

The Serie A champions reportedly paid €36million to sign attacking midfielder Charles De Ketelaere from Club Brugge, and also brought in striker Divock Origi on a free transfer after his Liverpool contract expired.

But it has been a quiet transfer window for the Rossoneri after they ended an 11-year wait to win the Scudetto in May.

Milan start the defence of their title against Udinese at San Siro on Saturday and head coach Pioli hopes to have more new faces on board by the time the transfer window closes on September 1.

He told reporters on Friday: "I am very happy and delighted with who has arrived. If there is a chance to improve the squad, we will not back down."

Pioli added: "The transfer market can offer you situations that you may not have thought of until now. If there is the possibility the squad will be improved; different characteristics may be needed from those we have."

Such a hectic schedule due to the World Cup in Qatar will provide further challenges, but Pioli is relishing another title battle.

He said: "It will be a special season. Today I showed the team the whole calendar until November 13 and many will have 23-24 games in 90 days.

"I will need everyone available. In three months we will have already played a lot: we play 15 league games, the Champions League...

"It will be a very balanced championship and I think it will be difficult for everyone to improve the standard of the last championship. All the top eight are at a high level, the mid-table ones have grown. It will be a good fight."

Serie A returns on Saturday, with Milan looking to retain their title after a first Scudetto triumph in 11 years.

The Rossoneri have brought in Belgium duo Charles De Ketelaere and Divock Origi to bolster Stefano Pioli's squad as they prepare to face another challenge from rivals Inter.

Simone Inzaghi will have his own Belgium international striker Romelu Lukaku to call on again after he was brought back on loan from Chelsea.

How will those clubs fare, who is likely to be their closest challengers, and who will be fearing the drop from Italy's top flight?

Stats Perform AI has predicted the outcome of the campaign, estimating the likelihood of teams finishing in each position informed by their expected results in each match.

These are calculated using betting odds and Stats Perform's team rankings – based on historical and recent team performances – and have thrown up some interesting results, with a heavy favourite for top spot.

INTER TO TAKE THEIR TITLE BACK WITH FAMILIAR FACE ON BOARD

In the end, there were just two points in it.

A fascinating battle between Milan and Inter last season saw Pioli's men edge the title with 86 points after a 3-0 win at Sassuolo on the final day.

Despite the impressive way Milan closed out that title, the data makes Inter 47.97 per cent favourites to regain it in 2022-23.

The return of Lukaku is likely to be a big reason for that, with the 29-year-old having scored 47 goals in 72 Serie A games prior to joining Chelsea last year, and he played a major part in Inter's Scudetto win in 2020-21.

Milan's chances are surprisingly not even second best, with the data suggesting there is a 16.43 per cent likelihood of them retaining their title, with Juventus judged to have a slightly better 17.93 per cent chance.

Napoli are deemed to have a 13.75 per cent chance, with no other team being considered to have any more than a two per cent chance, including Jose Mourinho's Roma at 1.99 per cent.

 

TOP FOUR FIGHT EXPECTED TO BE MORE OF THE SAME

There was very little drama in the race for the Champions League spots last season, with Napoli and Juventus well out of the title fight but clear of fifth place with multiple games to go.

Stats Perform AI expects the same four teams to take up those spots again, albeit in a different order, with Juve in second, Milan third and Napoli fourth.

The positive numbers for the Bianconeri are likely to be a result of Serbia striker Dusan Vlahovic having a full season to lead the line, along with big name additions of Paul Pogba and Angel Di Maria.

Napoli could be the most at risk after losing several key players since the end of last season, including Kalidou Koulibaly, Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens, but they are still given a 73.09 per cent chance of Champions League qualification.

In the chasing pack, Roma are given a 30.18 per cent chance of a top four spot and Stats Perform AI believes Mourinho's men are the likeliest team to finish in one of the two Europa League places, with no team given a greater chance than the Giallorossi's 19.58 per cent.

Atalanta have a 20.64 per cent chance of getting back into the top four, though are still deemed likely to improve on last season's eighth place as favourites for sixth and qualification for the Europa League (18.56 per cent).

That leaves Lazio with a 17.09 per cent chance of seventh and a Europa Conference League spot, though Fiorentina (11.10), Hellas Verona (8.45) and Sassuolo (8.34) are not counted out entirely.

 

CREMONESE UNLIKELY TO RISE TO THE TOP

It is not too much of a surprise to see the promoted teams are predicted to be facing a tough task to stay up.

Cremonese are the favourites for the drop at 63.41 per cent, with Lecce (47.10 per cent) also expected to head back to Serie B at the end of the campaign.

Second favourites for relegation, though, are last year's 17th place team Salernitana, who avoided relegation by a single point ahead of Cagliari. Davide Nicola's side are handed a 58.10 per cent chance of failing to escape this time.

Monza came up through the play-offs and have made a number of new signings, including former Inter players Andrea Ranocchia and Stefano Sensi, which could be why they are given just a 27.92 per cent chance of going back down, slightly ahead of Empoli at 25.17 per cent.

Only four teams are given a zero per cent chance of relegation, which unsurprisingly is last season's top four.

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