Simone Inzaghi emphasised the importance of Inter keeping their squad together on the eve of the new Serie A campaign, as he revealed the Nerazzurri are not targeting multiple new additions.

Inter missed out on the Serie A title to rivals Milan by just two points in Inzaghi's first campaign at the helm in 2021-22, but have been tipped to regain the Scudetto after bringing in the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Andre Onana.

Meanwhile, despite Paris Saint-Germain being linked with Milan Skriniar and Chelsea touted as a possible destination for Denzel Dumfries and Alessandro Bastoni, the Nerazzurri have retained the services of other key players.

And Inzaghi is keen to ensure things remain that way, as he said a replacement for defensive back-up Andrea Rannocchia – who has joined Monza – is Inter's only transfer target.

"The team is the one that I have agreed with the company and the owners," he told a news conference ahead of Inter's Serie A opener at Lecce.

"The team will be this, we are missing a player to replace Ranocchia, the company is working on this and I think I don't have to talk about it anymore. 

"The incoming and outgoing market is closed."

Lukaku's return on a season-long loan deal from Chelsea represents one of the biggest acquisitions made by any Serie A team during the off-season, after he fired them to the 2020-21 Scudetto with 24 league goals.

Upon his San Siro comeback, Lukaku will be expected to rekindle a fearsome partnership with Lautaro Martinez after they created 29 chances for one another – eight resulting in goals – during the Belgian's last season at Inter.

Inzaghi also has the likes of Edin Dzeko and Joaquin Correa to call upon as attacking options, and is pleased with the way the 29-year-old has settled back in to the Nerazzurri frontline.

"Lukaku works as well as the others, he's been out for a year, he's trying to integrate as best he can with everyone," Inzaghi added. 

 

"He's not new here, I'm very happy with him, Dzeko, Lautaro and Correa. 

"On [departing forwards Alexis] Sanchez and [Andrea] Pinamonti, we made some choices focusing on these four, who give me great guarantees.

"Tomorrow, a difficult championship starts again where many teams will fight to win like us. They have strengthened a lot, my focus is only on Lecce. 

"They are a newly promoted team who will have support and enthusiasm, it will take a real match from Inter to be able to win.

"It must be another great year, Inter have a duty to aspire to the maximum. The team is unchanged: we lost [Ivan] Perisic who was very important, but he made other choices. We brought back Lukaku, we took functional players.

"The opponents made many purchases, investing a lot, but they know that Inter will be on their way."

For the second consecutive year, Romelu Lukaku is returning to a former club. This time around, there is greater confidence he will be a success.

Lukaku's second attempt to forge a career at Chelsea proved as frustrating as his first.

Underused at Stamford Bridge as a young player before departing for Everton, Lukaku would argue he was misused last season.

The unstoppable force who had fired Inter to the 2020-21 Serie A title was gone, with the Belgium forward looking a little lost in Thomas Tuchel's system.

Now, though, Lukaku is back at Inter. Antonio Conte may no longer be at San Siro, but Lautaro Martinez, Lukaku's former strike partner, crucially still is.

The main man in Lukaku's absence, Martinez improved his goal output from 17 in 2020-21 to 21 last season, albeit that tally was still only enough to finish third in the Capocannoniere race.

Lukaku had been second the year before with 24, beaten by Cristiano Ronaldo, but his focus in returning to Italy is again on team success, with Inter having just lost the Scudetto to Milan.

"I don't care about the top scorers' ranking, I tell you honestly," Lukaku told DAZN ahead of the new season. "I only think of the Scudetto.

"Yes, the goals come, but we are at Inter, here we play for the Scudetto and not for individual things."

 

Succeeding as a team means playing as a team, and Lukaku and Martinez undoubtedly did that in 2020-21.

The pair created a combined 29 chances for one another, with eight of those leading to goals. That goal-assist combination made Lukaku and Martinez the most effective partnership in the division, ahead of Ruslan Malinovskyi and Duvan Zapata at Atalanta (seven goals).

The five goals Lukaku laid on for Martinez contributed to his 11 assists for the season, trailing only Malinovskyi (12) in that regard.

Indeed, since Opta's Serie A assist data began in 2004-05, Lukaku is the only player to score 20 or more goals and provide 10 or more assists in the same season.

Lukaku's inability to contribute a single assist in the Premier League last term therefore illustrates how spectacularly Chelsea failed to get the best out of him. Netting just eight times himself, he failed to link up with any Blues team-mate for more than a single goal.

That is not to say Lukaku and Martinez clicked instantly at Inter; in the former's first season in Italy, in 2019-20, he scored 23 goals but assisted only two. One of those two assists saw Lukaku tee up Martinez, but the Argentina forward did not return the favour even once.

In 2020-21, unlike at Chelsea, Lukaku was able to make the most of his best attributes for the benefit of both himself and his team-mate.

Rather than consider Lukaku a target man, Conte allowed his number nine to turn and run with the ball, with five of his assists coming following ball carries – along with four of his goals. Only Luis Muriel (12), another Atalanta player, contributed to more Serie A goals following carries than Lukaku's nine.

None of his eight Chelsea goals came following carries as he recorded only 4.4 carries per 90 minutes, down from 7.7 at Inter.

 

With Simone Inzaghi still using the same 3-5-2 formation that suited Lukaku so well, he and Inter will hope his reintegration now is seamless.

There remain other issues at the Nerazzurri, and goals were not necessarily the biggest problem Inzaghi's side had last term; they scored just five fewer than the previous season and led the league in that regard.

With three fewer victories than in their title-winning campaign, Inter finished two points shy of rivals Milan.

Yet Lukaku either scored or assisted in 22 of Inter's 38 games in 2020-21 and in 20 of their 28 wins – both league highs that show how vital his contributions can be.

The Nerazzurri will now head into the new season feeling confident they have re-signed the one man most likely to dominate Serie A matches on his own... or with a partner.

Thomas Tuchel says "nobody wants to touch the number nine" at Chelsea, joking that the shirt is "cursed".

The Blues begin the 2022-23 season with the number vacant following Romelu Lukaku's return to Inter just a year after he moved back to Stamford Bridge in a record transfer.

Lukaku did not reach the heights expected of him and joined a long list of players who have struggled to deliver for Chelsea while wearing the number nine shirt.

That jersey previously belonged to Mateja Kezman, Fernando Torres, Radamel Falcao, Alvaro Morata and Gonzalo Higuain.

Given the history, Chelsea have found suitors for the number hard to come by, and Tuchel said: "It's cursed, it's cursed, people tell me it's cursed!

"It's not the case that we leave it open for tactical reasons, or for some players in the pipeline that come in and naturally take it.

"There was not a big demand for number nine, when like players sometimes want to change numbers. But, surprisingly, nobody wants to touch it.

"Everyone who [has been here] longer than me at the club tells me, 'ah, you know, like he had the nine and he did not score, and he had the nine and he did also not score'.

"So, now, we have a moment where nobody wants to touch the number nine."

Raheem Sterling is the sole attacking player Chelsea have signed so far in this transfer window, but he will don the number 17 favoured by fellow wingers Eden Hazard and Pedro.

Ronaldo has hailed Inter's capture of Romelu Lukaku and believes the partnership with Lautaro Martinez will be "almost perfect".

Belgian striker Lukaku returns to Inter following a disappointing season with Chelsea, where he fell down Thomas Tuchel's pecking order following an interview where he expressed his desire to rejoin the Nerazzurri.

That move materialised in the current window, with Lukaku arriving on loan, having struck 30 goals across all competitions during Inter's Serie A title-winning 2020-21 campaign.

Ronaldo believes Inter would have defended their title if Lukaku had remained at the club last season, when Milan narrowly pipped them to the crown, and rates him as a "guarantee" to shine in the upcoming campaign.

"It will be a good fight between Inter and Juve. I don't see Milan as the favourite, even if whoever wins the Scudetto can never be considered out of the race. Inter could have won last year, Juve can't afford another wrong year," Brazil great Ronaldo told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Lukaku and Lautaro can be an almost perfect pairing. A lot of feeling, a lot of goals: things that are good for a team."

"Inter lost the Scudetto by losing the derby and mishandling the only two months of difficulty of the season. It's in those moments that you need courage, to win complicated games instead of drawing them. You need to cling to someone: clinging to someone as big as Lukaku is easier."

Ronaldo, who played for Inter from 1997 to 2002, also shared his thoughts on the situation with Paulo Dybala, who was heavily linked to the Nerazzurri following the end of his contract with Juventus but eventually joined Roma.

"In football you can't always do what you want, and maybe you want a certain thing, but you set yourself limits," Ronaldo said.

Inter's rejuvenation of their attack is set to continue with the departure of Alexis Sanchez, who is widely reported to have agreed to terminate his contract at San Siro.

A move to French outfit Marseille has been mooted for the former Arsenal and Manchester United forward.

Real Madrid are the latest side to enquire about the availability of 20-year-old Chelsea striker Armando Broja, but the Premier League club are maintaining that he is not for sale.

The Albania international has been the subject of significant interest after a successful loan spell at Southampton last season, netting nine goals in 38 appearances.

Chelsea reportedly turned down a £30million offer from West Ham for Broja, and although Thomas Tuchel is said to be a fan, Madrid are eager to land the youngster.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA'S RISING ALBANIAN DRAWS REAL MADRID'S INTEREST

Since Romelu Lukaku departed from Chelsea on a season-long loan to Inter, questions have been asked about what the London club's plans are to bolster their attack.

The Evening Standard's report claims Carlo Ancelotti is on the hunt for young strikers to find a potential successor to 35-year-old Karim Benzema, although with Timo Werner potentially on his way back to RB Leipzig, Chelsea may have simply decided that Broja must stay.

West Ham have also reportedly not been driven away yet and remain interested, as do Everton and Newcastle United.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to Bild, Bayern Munich full-back Benjamin Pavard would be willing to join Chelsea if they make a serious offer.

– The Telegraph is reporting RB Salzburg want £55m for 19-year-old Slovenian striker Benjamin Sesko, who is a Manchester United target, according to Manchester Evening News.

– Sky Sports Italia claims Juventus would like to acquire Barcelona forward Memphis Depay on loan, however the Catalan giants wants to make it a permanent deal.

– 90min say Everton are in advanced discussions with Chelsea to bring Ross Barkley back to the club, and they also have interest in Michy Batshuayi and Billy Gilmour.

– According to Talksport, West Ham are willing to meet the £17.5m release clause for 25-year-old Burnley winger Maxwel Cornet.

Milan defender Fikayo Tomori has dismissed suggestions Inter and Juventus are favourites to take the Rossoneri's Serie A crown next season, declaring: "They also said it last year."

However, the England international acknowledged Inter's loan signing of Romelu Lukaku – who he described as "special" – represents a major coup for Milan's cross-city rivals.

Tomori enjoyed a stellar campaign as Stefano Pioli's men ended an 11-year wait to win the Scudetto last season, contributing to 13 clean sheets in 31 Serie A appearances. 

Meanwhile, the former Chelsea defender topped the Rossoneri charts for blocks (23), interceptions (45), clearances (77) and tackles (73) in his first campaign since making a permanent move to San Siro last June. 

No team conceded fewer Serie A goals (31) or recorded more wins (26) than Milan last term, but Inter's signing of Lukaku and Juventus' moves for Paul Pogba and Angel Di Maria have seen the Derby d'Italia rivals touted as title favourites for 2022-23.

Speaking to Sky Sports Italia, however, Tomori suggested it would be unwise to write off Milan, smiling: "Are they the favourites? They also said it last year and then we won.

"When I arrived in Milan I knew the team was strong and we could win the Scudetto. 

"I knew it was a special club, especially in the Champions League. We are excited and we are still hungry to win."

 

Lukaku's return to Inter, for whom he scored 24 Serie A goals during a 2020-21 Scudetto triumph under Antonio Conte, represents a significant coup for Milan's rivals.

And Tomori labelled the striker "a special player" as he revealed his high hopes for another Belgian attacker, new Milan arrival Divock Origi.

"The first time I faced him in the derby was my debut in Milan," Tomori said of Lukaku. "I am not afraid but I respect him, he is strong and will be like this again this year. Romelu is a special player.

"Origi is strong and fast, a good sign, I played against him last year [in the Champions League]."

Despite enjoying a dream campaign during his first full season at San Siro, Tomori is still targeting individual improvements, and has no shortage of defensive role models to look up to in Milan.

"I saw [Alessandro] Nesta, [Jaap] Stam, Cafu, all very strong. But the one I liked the most is Paolo Maldini, also because he is back here while we do the interview!" The defender continued.

"[Franco] Baresi is not as tall as me, but he had leadership, and then the position of the body, the voice on the pitch... the same thing for Maldini and Nesta. 

"Personality on the pitch, ability to read the different moments of the match… I want to show these characteristics too."

Milan begin their title defence at home to Udinese on August 13.

Inter defender Alessandro Bastoni has claimed he never considered leaving the Nerazzurri despite being linked with a Premier League move, as he professed his hope Milan Skriniar would also remain at San Siro.

Meanwhile, Bastoni claimed the loan signing of Romelu Lukaku can help Inter compete for silverware on both domestic and European fronts, but warned old rivals Juventus will put up a stern challenge next season.

Bastoni had been linked with both Tottenham and Chelsea after a fine 2021-22 season with the Serie A runners-up, making 31 league appearances as he nailed down a regular spot in Simone Inzaghi's backline.

In June, however, Bastoni's agent Tullio Tinti claimed he would "100 per cent" remain at San Siro, and the defender has now revealed a move never crossed his mind.

"I never had the slightest doubt of leaving Inter, here I have everything I need to feel good and express myself at my best," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I am great with my teammates, with the club, I love Milan and so why go elsewhere? For many years [I hope to be] with this shirt and, in the meantime, I hope to still win a lot.

"The fact that the club wants to keep me means a lot. Here I have everything to feel good, I never thought about leaving."

Bastoni's defensive partner Skriniar has also been liked with an exit, with Paris Saint-Germain rumoured to be interested in the Slovakia international.

But Bastoni believes the presence of Skriniar, as well as that of the returning Lukaku – who scored 24 goals as Inter won the Scudetto in 2020-21 – will be crucial in the Nerazzurri's pursuit of silverware.

"[I hope] my friend Skriniar stays here with us, it would be a shame if he left us," Bastoni added. "Lukaku? He is the same [as his previous spell], now let us win."

Inter are likely to face stern competition in their bid to regain the Serie A title, both from champions Milan and Massimiliano Allegri's Juve.

The Bianconeri have had a busy transfer window after finishing fourth last term, acquiring the likes of Paul Pogba, Angel Di Maria and Gleison Bremer, and the 23-year-old expects Allegri's team to fare much better this time around.

"We have grown, but keep an eye on Juventus," he warned. "The Bianconeri are a battleship, but we are no less."

Samir Handanovic says it is "essential" Inter team-mate Milan Skriniar stays with the club, as the Nerazzurri look to come to a contract agreement with the defender.

The Slovakian centre-back has been linked with a move away from the San Siro, with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain reportedly launching another bid this week after previous attempts had been rejected.

Skriniar made 35 Serie A appearances for Inter last season as they failed to retain the league title they won in the 2020-21 campaign – a triumph that represented their first since the 2009-10 season.

Inter have reportedly offered a bumper new contract to the defender and Handanovic feels it is vital Skriniar remains at the Nerazzurri for their bid to wrestle back the Scudetto from city rivals Milan.

Handanovic told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "I say that it is very important, for me it is essential, that he remains with us.

"Extending at the last minute had never happened to me, but it was automatic on my part and the club also had no problems.

"We cannot lose any more pieces. I see him everyday calm and serene in Appiano [Inter's training ground]."

Handanovic also spoke on the return of Romelu Lukaku, who scored 24 goals in 36 Serie A appearances to help Inter to the title in 2020-21.

The Belgium striker made a big-money move to Chelsea, but an underwhelming first season back in England has led to him returning to Inter on a season-long loan.

"I am not surprised that he is back because I saw how he was at Chelsea," Handanovic added.

"In his famous statements, they felt melancholy and nostalgic.

"Now it is as if he had never gone away, he is the same person as before."

Thomas Tuchel acknowledged he did not expect to outlast Roman Abramovich and influential board members at Chelsea, while Romelu Lukaku made it "very clear he wanted to leave".

Chelsea have undergone wholesale change at Stamford Bridge since Todd Boehly's consortium acquired the club, with numerous departures at the top of the hierarchy.

Owner Abramovich, hampered by the sanctions imposed on him following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, ended a 19-year spell with the Premier League side, while Bruce Buck stepped down as chairman.

Director and chief decision-maker Marina Granovskaia is also set to leave after 12 years, and technical and performance advisor Petr Cech was another departure as the boardroom reshuffle continued.

Granovskaia will remain available to Boehly, who is acting as interim sporting director and chairman, for the duration of the current transfer window to help with the transitional period.

The exodus in the Chelsea boardroom has led head coach Tuchel to be more involved with transfer activity, but the German hopes that he will not be required to participate as actively in negotiations in the longer term.

"It is intense," Tuchel said of the new era at Chelsea. "Everybody needs to find their role and have to adjust and adapt, of course.

"[My job] has changed a lot at the moment. I could never have imagined that I stayed longer at the club than Roman, Marina and Petr. 

"This was impossible so now with Marina not in charge and Petr not here anymore it has changed a lot. It's not my favourite thing to do and in the long run the focus has to be on coaching because it is why I am here.

"But, at the moment, of course my help is needed and wanted, and it is necessary that I step up and take the responsibility. 

"I am in contact with Todd directly on a daily basis and sometimes more than once on a daily basis because we are aware that we have a club in transition and change.

"My concern is for the team to be competitive and for this we have to invest a lot of time and we need to be hands on. There is no other way. 

"We compete not only against the best teams, but also against the best managers. We need to be competitive and replace big players and infuse quality.

"I think it's important for everybody at Cobham to take a little bit more responsibility, not only for me."

Tuchel has lost numerous key leaders from his side, with Antonio Rudiger going to Real Madrid and Andreas Christensen to Barcelona, where Cesar Azpilicueta could reportedly join as well.

Lukaku was another departure, sent out on loan to Inter, just a season after Chelsea spent a club-record £97.5million to bring the striker back to London.

The Belgium international labelled his return to Chelsea as a "mistake" on Thursday, and Tuchel suggested it was Lukaku who was intent on returning to Italy for the 2022-23 season.

"There has never been a meeting where I said 'I want this guy out'," said Tuchel. "Never. I was always clear – if he stays we will do everything to put him in a better place, to put him in better shape, to improve my style of coaching, our style of playing, to make him a better fit. 

"It was always a possibility he stayed, but Romelu made it very clear he wanted to leave and the owners took the decision to make the decision straight away.

"Disappointed is the wrong word. I don't know a better word in English. It feels like I take it personally – it's never personal. I am not happy that we couldn't bring more out of him.

"Maybe it would have just taken a bit more time. A bit more fitness, a bit more adaptation in our game. Who knows? But we will not find out.

"Once Romelu gave his clear opinion on the situation and there was a solution on the table, the owners made their choice and had my blessing."

Romelu Lukaku admitted during the unveiling of Inter's new playing strip that it was a mistake to leave the club and head back to Chelsea.

Lukaku, 29, had a superb run with Inter after arriving at the club from Manchester United ahead of the 2019-20 season, scoring a combined 64 goals from 95 club appearances across two seasons.

His stellar play in Italy caught the attention of his former club from Stamford Bridge, who opted to bring him back for a club-record fee of £97.5million.

The Belgian's return to the Premier League was disappointing, regularly finding himself out of Chelsea's best XI even when healthy, finishing with just eight goals in 26 league games, prompting a £7m loan move back to the Serie A to try and recoup some of Chelsea's sunk cost.

During the kit unveiling, Lukaku was asked what the toughest challenge of his career has been, and he made it clear how he felt about his second stint with Chelsea.

"The one right now," he responded. "You know, I left, it was a mistake.

"What we do in the locker room and on the pitch, the relationships we have with each other, that’s really important… it’s also right for people to see that our team is really united.

"Inter have given me the opportunity to play at a higher level in my career. I am really happy to wear this jersey, we hope to continue to grow like in the past years. We have to continue like this if we want to reach the goal."

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel may also share Lukaku's belief that he does not have a future with the London club, telling Sky Sports "I don't know if it's very likely" that he ever returns to Stamford Bridge after his loan.

"Given the fact he's just on loan, of course there's a chance," he said. "I don't know if it's very likely, but it's not on me to give an outlook on that."

He added: "We decided together with the owners that we'd let (Lukaku) go. It was his wish to go, he had the possibility, we let him go.

"We brought now Raheem Sterling, which gives us a lot of flexibility, a lot of mobility, a lot of attacking options at the front, even if we don't recruit more players."

Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi is already "very satisfied" with his attacking options after being asked about links with Paulo Dybala.

The Argentina international is a free agent after his contract at Juventus expired and has been strongly linked with a move to the Nerazzurri, among others.

However, Inter have already secured the return of Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea on loan, while Lautaro Martinez also looks set to stay despite rumours of a potential move away.

Dybala scored 115 goals in 293 appearances across all competitions for Juve, but Inter do not appear desperate for more firepower given they scored seven more goals (84) than anyone else in Serie A last season and have brought Lukaku back to San Siro.

When asked by Sportitalia about Dybala, Inzaghi said: "I am very satisfied with the attack, we have put Lukaku in and we know what he will give us. Let's see what the market brings from now to the end in the other positions.

"[Lukaku] and Lautaro are two great champions, they know each other very well and they like to play together. We also saw [Joaquin] Correa, [Edin] Dzeko is back early.

"We had the best attack [in Serie A] last year and I'm very happy with our players."

 

Inzaghi's men secured a 4-1 win against Swiss side Lugano on Tuesday, with Lukaku making his first appearance back in an Inter shirt along with fellow new arrivals Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Andre Onana, Raoul Bellanova and Kristjan Asllani.

Last season's Serie A runners-up triumphed thanks to goals from Danilo D'Ambrosio, Correa and Martinez, who netted twice.

Inzaghi was pleased with the performance and also hinted at a possible future formation change, saying: "We have been good, we have been working for only four days and we have organised a serious match.

"We have seen good actions, I am happy with what I have seen and we are preparing to arrive in the best condition on August 13."

On their formation, he added: "[3-4-1-2] is a solution that we are trying. Our game system is different but it is normal to find alternatives with the attackers we have. 

"There was an opportunity to bring Lukaku home and I am very happy with the options we have."

Romelu Lukaku's return to Inter will provide the Nerazzurri with new options as they look to recover the Scudetto next season, according to head coach Simone Inzaghi, who labelled the striker's exit last year a "huge blow".

Lukaku joined Chelsea in a club-record £97.5million deal last August, but has returned to San Siro on loan after managing just eight goals in 26 Premier League appearances for Thomas Tuchel's team.

The Belgium international scored 64 goals in 95 games during his previous two-year spell with Inter, helping them to the Serie A title in 2020-21, and has described his Nerazzurri comeback as "like coming home".

Inzaghi, who coached Lukaku briefly before he left for Stamford Bridge last year, says the striker will give him new tactical possibilities but remains keen to highlight the contributions made by the club's other forwards last term.

"Last year an excellent relationship was established, which did not last long," Inzaghi recalled at a media conference to mark the beginning of Inter's pre-season. 

"Then this year there was the possibility and the club informed me. For me it was a huge blow [to lose Lukaku last year], without forgetting that our attack was the best in Italy last year. 

 

"Romelu is a very strong player, but I won't forget what the other forwards did last season, who were also excellent with the regret of not having won the Scudetto. This year we start again with great desire.

"It's a bit early ... [but] I already have ideas in my head. Romelu gives us many solutions: we can recover high or low, the further forward the ball is recovered the less you have to run to score. 

"We will have more solutions with him, while understanding that the other forwards did very well." 

Lukaku joins a fearsome Inter attack that scored 84 goals despite missing out on the Serie A title to Milan last term, with Lautaro Martinez scoring 21 league goals and Edin Dzeko finding the net 13 times.

And Inzaghi, who oversaw Lazio scoring 89 league goals in 2017-18 in his previous role, hopes to see one of his array of forwards win Italy's golden boot next season.

He added: "I like that my teams score ... One year with Lazio we had the best attack, one year Immobile won the Golden Boot, last year we [Inter] had the best attack. 

"This year we hope that one of Lukaku, Lautaro, [Joaquin] Correa and Dzeko can win the Capocannoniere."

Lukaku is not the only addition to Inter's squad ahead of the new season, with the Nerazzurri also acquiring former Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana on a free transfer, but Inzaghi says the Cameroon international will have to wait for his chance to displace experienced number one Samir Handanovic.

"In terms of hierarchy, Handanovic will start as the starting goalkeeper," he said. "He deserves it for the season he did last year, which was excellent. 

"Then we all know Onana's value: he is a very young player, the goalkeeper of Inter's future and this year he will already have the opportunities to show it."

Inter get their Serie A campaign underway with a trip to Lecce on August 13, looking to build on last season's Supercoppa Italiana and Coppa Italia successes. 

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave Manchester United and is willing to make some allowances to secure the move.

Reports of Ronaldo's transfer request emerged over the weekend, although United are said to be holding firm in their desire to keep the superstar.

That has not stopped the rumours around a potential destination for the Portugal great, though, and he is doing all he can to get the move he wants.

TOP STORY – RONALDO WILLING TO TAKE PAY CUT

The Independent reports Ronaldo is willing to take a "considerable" pay cut in order to move to a Champions League contender.

The forward's desire to win another European crown was widely cited as key to his decision to push for a departure from United, and the report suggests the player is hopeful a reduced salary could entice leading clubs.

Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, who employ great rival Lionel Messi, are listed as potential suitors.

The Athletic also again reports Chelsea's interest following talk of a meeting between Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes and new Stamford Bridge owner Todd Boehly earlier in the close-season.

The Sun says Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel is reluctant to agree to such a transfer, though, while AS claims Mendes has also met with Barcelona president Joan Laporta.

ROUND-UP

– Corriere dello Sport claims Bayern Munich are looking to bring in Napoli striker Victor Osimhen for a fee in the vicinity of €100million if Robert Lewandowski is to leave.

– According to Fabrizio Romano, Tottenham have agreed to sign 27-year-old Barcelona centre-back Clement Lenglet for a fee of £17.2m.

– The Sun is reporting Arsenal have made a £47m bid for 27-year-old Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

– After loaning Romelu Lukaku to Inter, Chelsea are also weighing up a potential loan move for Hakim Ziyech to Milan, according to The Athletic.

– The Mirror claims United representatives have met with Ajax to discuss a £39.6m offer for defender Lisandro Martinez.

Inter have completed the signing of Kristjan Asllani on loan from Empoli with an obligation to buy.

The 20-year-old has signed a contract until June 2027 and will cost Inter €14million, with €4m of that identified as the fee for the initial loan.

A central midfielder, Asllani came through Empoli's youth system and enjoyed a breakout season in 2021-22, featuring 23 times in Serie A as the Tuscans comfortably avoided relegation.

He scored his only goal of the season in a 4-2 defeat to Inter on May 6.

While the youngster is unlikely to be a regular starter initially – rather a back-up to Marcelo Brozovic – he will bolster Inter's midfield following the departure of Matias Vecino and expected exit of Stefano Sensi.

Asllani was present at the club on Wednesday, when Romelu Lukaku completed his loan return from Chelsea, and the Belgium striker was central to a slightly bizarre announcement video.

Speaking to club owner Steven Zhang in the clip, Lukaku said: "I spoke to this guy, the new guy, Asllani... I like his mentality. You'll be surprised. He's only 20, but he speaks like a 27-year-old."

As part of the deal, promising Uruguayan striker Martin Satriano is expected to join Empoli on loan for the upcoming season.

Romelu Lukaku declared "it's like coming home" after he returned to Inter from Chelsea on Wednesday.

Lukaku completed a season-long move back to San Siro on Wednesday less than a year after leaving the Nerazzurri to become Chelsea's record signing for a fee of £97.5million.

The Belgium striker only scored eight goals in 26 Premier League appearances for the London club in the 2021-22 campaign.

Lukaku found the back of the net 64 times in 95 games during his first spell with Inter, winning the Serie A title last year before signing for Chelsea for a second time.

The 29-year-old, who has picked 90 as his new shirt number, had made no secret of his desire to play for Inter again and feels he is back where he belongs.

He told the club's official website: "It's like coming home. My family and I were so happy here thanks to the people, the fans and my team-mates. From the first day I arrived here, everyone helped me settle in.

"I'm very happy. I kept my home here when I went to England, so that means something. I'm pleased to be back and now I can't wait to get out there with my team-mates."

Belgium's record goalscorer is determined to put a miserable season with Chelsea behind him.

He added: "It's an amazing feeling. What we achieved here a year ago was fantastic. That goes for the team, the fans and also me personally.

"Inter have given me so much and I hope to do even better than last time. It's now time to work hard as a squad and hopefully do even better than before."

Lukaku also expressed his gratitude to Inter president Steven Zhang for getting the deal done.

"We spoke about so many things and how it seemed impossible for me to come back here, but we managed it and I'm grateful to him for the way he kept pushing and believing it was possible," he said. "We managed to do it in the end and I'm delighted to be back."

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