Former Inter and Lazio midfielder Dejan Stankovic has been appointed head coach of Sampdoria, the Serie A club announced on Thursday.

The 44-year-old Serbian succeeds Marco Giampaolo who was sacked on Sunday following a poor start to the season, with Sampdoria bottom of Serie A after picking up just two points from their opening eight matches.

Sampdoria announced Stankovic has signed a contract running until June 2023, with an option to extend the deal for another season.

Capped over 100 times by Yugoslavia and Serbia, Stankovic won Serie A with Lazio in 1999-2000 as well as the European Cup Winners' Cup and UEFA Super Cup in 1999 during a six-year stint with the club.

He enjoyed further success with Inter where he won five Serie A titles, as well as the Champions League in 2009-10, before retiring in 2013.

Stankovic began his managerial career with Red Star Belgrade, guiding the club to three league titles and two triumphs in the Serbian Cup before resigning in August following a Champions League qualifying defeat to Maccabi Haifa.

Chelsea's admiration of 23-year-old Milan forward Rafael Leao is not a secret.

The Blues, along with several other clubs including Manchester City, are keen on the Portuguese.

Chelsea have also been linked with Christopher Nkunku in recent days but are plotting ways to land Rafael Leao too.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA AND MILAN PLOTTING SWAP DEAL

Chelsea and Milan are considering a swap deal whereby Rafael Leao would join the Blues, claims Calciomercato.

Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi would be part of the deal, although the Italian champions would still demand a £90million fee for the Portuguese.

According to the report, Milan will use their Champions League game on Wednesday against the Blues at Stamford Bridge to talk with Pulisic, along with Trevoh Chalobah.

ROUND-UP

– 90min claims that West Ham midfielder Declan Rice is top of Chelsea's transfer wish list. The Hammers slapped a £120m price tag on the England international in the off-season, although that will likely drop as the length of his contract shortens.

– Football Insider claims Arsenal have reached an agreement in principle with 21-year-old winger Bukayo Saka on a new contract. Saka's current deal expires in 2024.

Everton are eager to use the option-to-buy trigger in Conor Coady's loan deal from Wolves, claims The Times. Coady would cost the Toffees less than £10m.

Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper could be sacked by owner Evangelos Marinakis, according to The Mail, with The Guardian linking Rafael Benitez with the role along with ex-Burnely boss Sean Dyche.

– Fabrizio Romano reports that former Inter and Lazio midfielder and Red Star boss Dejan Stankovic has reached a full agreement with Sampdoria to become the Italian Serie A club's new manager to replace the sacked Marco Giampaolo.

Jose Mourinho is set to be offered a new contract by Roma, potentially keeping him in the Italian capital until 2026, reports La Repubblica.

– Sport1 claims ex-Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has declined the opportunity to take over at Bayer Leverkusen amid their poor start to the season.

Sampdoria have parted company with head coach Marco Giampaolo after Sunday's 3-0 home defeat to Monza.

It brings an end to Giampaolo's second spell at the club, having also been in charge between 2016 and 2019, but after recording just two points from their first eight games of the Serie A season, the 55-year-old has departed again.

After returning in January to replace Roberto D'Aversa, Giampaolo took charge of 24 Serie A games, winning five, drawing three and losing 16.

The former Milan and Torino coach was finally relieved of his duties after goals from Matteo Pessina, Gianluca Caprari and Stefano Sensi condemned Samp to a hefty loss to newly-promoted Monza at the Luigi Ferraris Stadium.

A statement on the club's website read: "U.C. Sampdoria have announced that they have relieved coach Marco Giampaolo of his duties.

"The club would like to thank Marco and his staff for the dedication and professionalism they showed while working for Sampdoria."

Sampdoria travel to Bologna on Saturday.

Stefano Pioli "will work something out" after the "decisive figure" of Rafael Leao was ruled out of next weekend's clash with Napoli following a red card in the 2-1 win over Sampdoria.

Leao had been sensational in the first half at Stadio Luigi Ferraris, setting up Junior Messias' sixth-minute opener with one of three key passes – a total not bettered by anyone on the pitch.

However, his match ended just two minutes into the second half when he received a second booking after he struck Alex Ferrari in the face when attempting an overhead kick. 

Samp pulled level through Filip Djuricic, but Milan sealed a fourth win in six Serie A games this season when Olivier Giroud powered home from the penalty spot after Gonzalo Villar had handled in the area.

The champions have now won three successive Serie A games against Sampdoria for the first time since September 2016.

Second-placed Milan are level on points with leaders Napoli, who visit San Siro on Sunday, and Pioli accepted he might have to play a different way in the absence of Leao. 

"Both teams are missing a lot, but we're missing Leao and Ante Rebic; both players who cover that role," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"We had to play 50 minutes with 10 men. We know there's a big Champions League game coming up [at home to Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday], so we'll focus on that first and then see what to do against Napoli.

"Rafa is becoming a decisive figure in our attack, but we have other alternatives and will work something out with different characteristics.

"I saw Leao joking around a lot in the warm-up, but I told him he tends to play well when he's that relaxed and he said 'don't worry, boss'. In hindsight, I should've worried.

"It's disappointing. I had told him to be careful on the yellow, but he wanted to attempt this move. Never mind, someone else will play."

Samp went agonisingly close to rescuing a point in a late scramble as Mike Maignan twice denied Manolo Gabbiadini either side of a Fabio Quagliarella effort that struck the post.

Pioli was thrilled with his side's ability to grind out the result and believes it is evidence they are moving in the right direction.

"We played a good first half and could've scored more goals, but this was a hard-fought victory," he added.

"We had to grit our teeth when we went down to 10 men and the lads worked hard on every ball. Sampdoria had already drawn with Juventus and Lazio here, so it was by no means easy.

"We had told ourselves we wanted to make fewer technical errors and I think we did that today, so we're on the right track."

Milan withstood Rafael Leao's red card early in the second half to beat Sampdoria 2-1 and maintain their unbeaten start to the Serie A season.

Stefano Pioli's champions were dominant in the first half at Stadio Luigi Ferraris and went in at the break a goal up thanks to Junior Messias' early strike – his first of the season.

However, Leao received a second yellow card two minutes after half-time for a high foot, giving Samp the impetus to level through Filip Djuricic shortly before the hour mark.

Rather than concede again, though, Milan snatched all three points in the 67th minute when Olivier Giroud slammed in from the penalty spot after Gonzalo Villar had handled in the area.

The Rossoneri went ahead in the sixth minute when Messias finished from 12 yards following a flowing move involving Giroud and Leao, although goalkeeper Emil Audero will feel he should have done more.  

Djuricic whipped against the crossbar from 20 yards soon after, before Charles de Ketelaere was denied a first Milan goal when his bundled effort was ruled out for offside after a lengthy VAR review.

Milan were dealt a blow immediately after the break when Leao received a second booking after he struck Alex Ferrari in the face when attempting an overhead kick. 

And Samp took advantage of their numerical advantage in the 57th minute when Djuricic headed home Tommaso Augello's cross inside the six-yard box.

But Milan had the final word as Giroud hit the roof of the net from 12 yards after the VAR had spotted a handball by Villar, prompting a pitchside review from referee Michael Fabbri.

Samp still came agonisingly close to rescuing a point in a late scramble as Mike Maignan twice denied Manolo Gabbiadini either side of a Fabio Quagliarella effort that struck the post.

Instead, a frustrating defeat ended with coach Marco Giampaolo sent off for remonstrating with Fabbri.

Stefano Pioli hinted Divock Origi could make his first Serie A start when Milan go to Sampdoria on Saturday, as he emphasised the importance of competition in his Rossoneri squad.

Origi joined Milan in July after leaving Liverpool on a free transfer, but has been a peripheral figure during their promising start to the new campaign. 

With the likes of Rafael Leao, Junior Messias and Olivier Giroud preferred by Pioli, Origi has made just three substitute appearances in the league, playing a total of 47 minutes.

But speaking ahead of the trip to Sampdoria, Pioli said the Belgium international is ready to make his full debut.

Asked whether it was time for Origi to feature more heavily, Pioli said: "I think so, because he is better and has had time to pick up the pace.

"We have various solutions. Charles [De Ketelaere] is doing everything I am asking of him, he is inserting himself more and more and better and better, I am happy with his performance. 

"Brahim [Diaz] has certain characteristics to give us numerical superiority. It is inevitable that you always ask me about who does not play, but I always choose based on the game.

"We have to play with energy for 95 minutes. At the end of the game we must have no more energy."

Milan have only been beaten once in Serie A this year, with Spezia prevailing in January). No other team has lost fewer games than the Rossoneri across the top five European leagues in 2022.

The Rossoneri have also averaged 2.29 points per game this calendar year, a figure bettered only by Liverpool (2.4) and Manchester City (2.38) across the continent's biggest leagues.

Milan enjoyed a busy transfer window after ending their 11-year wait for the Scudetto in May, bringing in the likes of Origi, De Ketelaere and Sergino Dest. Pioli, however, insists a renewal of his squad was not necessary, highlighting the need for competition in every position.

"I don't like the term turnover. It's not only the first 11 who are chosen," he added.

"I know that I have strong players, a very specific identity and I am sure that everyone, when called upon, will give their all. 

"Tomorrow I will field what, in my opinion, is the best formation: I go ahead for what I see and for what I feel. It is not that if I rotate, I do it as a bias. I put players on the field to win games."

Meanwhile, Milan have been forced to recover from a series of slow starts this season; each of Udinese, Atalanta, Inter and Salzburg (the latter in the Champions League) have opened the scoring against the Rossoneri in recent weeks.

But Pioli is impressed with the character the Serie A champions have shown when overcoming those deficits, adding: "As an approach, we only made a mistake with Udinese, but it is clear that it is a fact that we want to reverse. 

"Then, however, the great awareness of the team is confirmed. Despite the disadvantage, they continue to believe in themselves to change the game." 

Chelsea have reportedly locked in on Everton's Anthony Gordon and are desperate to get a deal done before the deadline, going as far as including both Armando Broja and Conor Gallagher in their latest offer.

Gordon - who scored his first goal of the season in his side's 1-1 draw against Brentford at the weekend - has seen his stature rise meteorically, with the 21-year-old now considered a real chance to represent England at the World Cup later this year.

Chelsea have already had an offer of £50million plus add-ons rejected, and after previous rumours hinted that Everton wanted one of Gallagher or Broja on loan to make it happen, a stunning new report claims the Stamford Bridge side are willing to take it a step further.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA WILLING TO PART WAYS WITH GALLAGHER AND BROJA IN GORDON DEAL

The report from Football Insider states Chelsea are willing to send Gallagher and Broja to Everton on permanent moves, as well as adding £25m in cash, making the total offer value in the range of £85m.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has been clear about how highly he values 20-year-old Broja and 22-year-old Gallagher, with both players coming on as substitutes in the first two Premier League fixtures.

However, Broja has been left on the bench the past two games, and Gallagher's two starts have resulted in a 3-0 loss to Leeds United and a red card against Leicester City just 28 minutes into the action.

So far this season, only Raheem Sterling against Leicester has registered more than one shot on target in a single game, while Gordon has had at least two shots on target in each of his past three outings, including five against Nottingham Forest and four against Brentford.

ROUND-UP

– Sky Sports Italia is reporting Juventus have interest in Aston Villa's Douglas Luiz if they can not secure Leandro Paredes from Paris Saint-Germain.

– In their search for strikers, Chelsea are said to be considering Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha, although Barcelona's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remains the priority, according to the Guardian.

– The Daily Mail claims that after reportedly accepting a deal in the range of £80m (€95m) from Manchester United for Antony, Ajax are hoping to bring Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech back to the Eredivisie.

Liverpool's midfielder hunt has brought them to Sheffield United's 24-year-old Norwegian international Sander Berge, per the Yorkshire Post.

–The Evening Standard is reporting Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks is finalising a move to Sampdoria after initially holding out hope of a Premier League club swooping in.

Sampdoria director Carlo Osti has confirmed the club are set to sign Harry Winks on loan from Tottenham.

The Spurs academy graduate has fallen down the pecking order under Antonio Conte, leading the 26-year-old to seek further playing opportunities.

Capped 10 times by England, most recently in 2020, Winks started only nine Premier League matches last season and the signing of Yves Bissouma from Brighton and Hove Albion has provided further competition in midfield.

Winks was reportedly holding out for a loan move to a Premier League side but suitors had not come forward, which appears to have resulted in him taking the opportunity to move to Italy.

Speaking following Sampdoria's 4-0 defeat to Salernitana, which left the side with just one point from their opening three Serie A matches, Osti confirmed Winks is due to arrive imminently.

"We have an agreement with Tottenham, we are defining the last details with the agents, we hope to conclude as soon as possible," he Sky Sport Italia.

Winks will join a growing British contingent in Serie A which includes Fikayo Tomori at Milan and both Tammy Abraham and Chris Smalling with Roma.

Goalkeeper Mattia Perin said Juventus' draw with Sampdoria left "a bad taste in our mouth" and showed where Massimiliano Allegri's side must improve.

Juventus were looking to join Napoli, Inter and Roma on six points from two games at the start of the Serie A season on Monday, but could only manage a 0-0 stalemate on their travels.

They failed to break down a Sampdoria side who lost 2-0 to Atalanta on the opening weekend of the season, and coach Allegri said his players would need to train hard ahead of Saturday's enticing tussle with Roma.

Perin said of the result: "This draw should serve as a lesson to understand which areas we need to work on. 

"Obviously, it leaves a bad taste in our mouth, but it will be an extra incentive to better prepare for the next game.

"Surely not having conceded a goal for the second consecutive matchday is an excellent sign and confirms how much good we are doing in training."

Perin also told Juventus' website: "We knew it would not be easy to come and play at the Marassi, against a team as difficult to face as Sampdoria. Now, our goal is to continue training with the same determination as we have shown up to now."

 

Allegri could soon have reinforcements on the way, with Barcelona forward Memphis Depay a confirmed target. Vice-president Pavel Nedved strongly hinted Juventus also have other players in their sights when he spoke shortly before kick-off at Sampdoria.

After the game, Allegri preferred to focus on the players already at his disposal, saying: "The club will take care of the market, we have to work. We have to look at the positive things, not the negative ones."

Adrien Rabiot had a goal disallowed due to Dusan Vlahovic straying offside, and Allegri said Juventus had shown "little patience" in the first half before improving after the interval.

Striker Vlahovic only managed three touches in the first half and had just nine across the full 90 minutes.

No player to take the field for 90 minutes in a Serie A game has had fewer touches since David Trezeguet had eight for Juventus against Catania in May 2008.

"We would have liked the three points, but the positive aspect is that in these first two matchdays we haven't conceded a goal," Allegri added.

"We are growing in condition and we will continue to work hard to get ready for the match on Saturday evening against Roma."

An uninspiring performance from Juventus saw them held to a goalless draw at Sampdoria as they failed to make it two Serie A wins from two.

Massimiliano Allegri’s men were looking to make it seven consecutive Serie A victories against their opponents from Genoa, but they were unable to break down a resolute defence.

Adrien Rabiot thought he had opened the scoring in the second half, but the goal was ruled out following a VAR check and Samp held on for their first point of the season.

Monday's stalemate means the Bianconeri go fourth as they dropped points after lacking a cutting edge.

The hosts nearly went in front after just six minutes when a sublime through ball from Abdelhamid Sabiri picked out Mehdi Leris in the box, but the midfielder’s dink struck Mattia Perin’s hip and hit the crossbar.

Emil Audero then made an important stop to tip a deflected Filip Kostic effort, which was destined for the top corner, over the bar.

After the interval, Rabiot thought he had broken the deadlock with an excellent first-time left-foot finish, but the VAR ruled it out as Dusan Vlahovic was offside in the build-up.

Juve pushed for a winner late on, but could not find one as Sampdoria held on for an impressive point.

Adrien Rabiot will play for Juventus at Sampdoria on Monday, just days after his move to Manchester United collapsed, manager Massimiliano Allegri has confirmed.

The Bianconeri boss has also not ruled out further arrivals before the transfer window shuts, after a busy off-season for the Serie A heavyweights.

Rabiot looked set to bring the curtain down on his time in Turin with a move to the Premier League earlier this month, with new United boss Erik ten Hag looking to bolster his ranks after a slow start to the new campaign.

But despite the two clubs agreeing a fee, it was reported that the deal fell through when terms could not be successfully brokered with the player.

It means Rabiot looks destined to remain at Allianz Stadium for another season - and now Allegri has confirmed the France international will feature in Monday's clash with Sampdoria.

"Rabiot will play tomorrow," he stated. "On the transfer market, [with] players, it is normal that there are chances that they can leave and that the club will ask if the player is available."

Having scraped their way to Champions League football again last term, Allegri has strengthened with the recruitment of Angel Di Maria, Filip Kostic, Bremer and Paul Pogba in the transfer window, the latter returning from United.

But the Frenchman's injury record will see him miss the first few weeks of the season, and his boss is keeping his powder dry when it comes to further additions.

"Regardless of the transfer market, we must do our best with the squad we have available," he added. "We are doing a lot these months. without being distracted."

Juventus playmaker Angel Di Maria faces at least 10 days out of action after suffering an adductor injury in the 3-0 victory over Sassuolo.

The Argentina international made his debut for the Serie A giants and opened the scoring before providing an assist for Dusan Vlahovic's second goal of the night – after the forward made it 2-0 from the penalty spot.

Concern for Di Maria arose in the second period, however, as the former Paris Saint-Germain man was forced off through injury.

Juventus have now announced Di Maria's situation will be reviewed in 10 days' time, meaning he must miss next Monday's clash against Sampdoria.

A club statement read: "Angel Di Maria underwent radiological examinations this morning ... which revealed a low-grade lesion of the adductor longus muscle of the left thigh. The extent of the injury will be re-evaluated in 10 days."

Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri stated after the final whistle that he was not worried about the potential setback for his recruit.

Allegri told DAZN: "Unfortunately, these things happen in football. He had this adductor issue a week ago too. Perhaps I should've taken him off when we were 3-0 up, but he was enjoying himself out there."

Jose Mourinho is surprised Roma are being talked up as Serie A title contenders given "only Sampdoria and Lecce spent less than us".

The Giallorossi finished sixth last season and won the inaugural Europa Conference League in May.

Roma pulled off a huge coup by signing Paulo Dybala on a free transfer and have since brought in Georginio Wijnaldum on a season-long loan deal.

Mile Svilar and Zeki Celik have also joined the Eternal City giants, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan the most-high profile player to depart – joining Inter as a free agent – and Jordan Veretout also moving on to Marseille.

A 1-0 friendly victory over Tottenham and a 5-0 rout of Shakhtar Donetsk have increased the hype ahead of Roma's first Serie A match of the season at Salernitana on Sunday, but Mourinho is playing down expectations.

The Roma head coach told reporters on Saturday: "There are teams that have an economic potential that is not comparable, I'm not saying the distance between Earth and Mars, but there are people who spend €100-150million per season. 

"We go play and do the best we can. In the championship we finished in sixth place, our squad improved, we lost Mkhitaryan and Veretout, but we took on players with whom we improved, but other clubs also did. 

"For this reason, during this period where I didn't need to talk to journalists, it amazes me when it comes to us in one way, but not about the others. Roma can be a candidate for the Scudetto if they have won 18 titles. 

"Only Sampdoria and Lecce spent less than us. Milan and Inter finished with 25 and 23 points ahead of us and improved. There is a lot of noise around us for an interesting match against Tottenham and Shakhtar. 

"We talk about us, while there is silence around other teams. Lazio spent €39 million, are they candidates for the Scudetto?"

Brentford have announced the signing of Denmark midfielder Mikkel Damsgaard in a reported £12.6million (€15m) transfer.

Damsgaard leaves Serie A, where he had played for Sampdoria since 2020.

The 22-year-old scored only two goals in 46 league games in Italy, providing four assists, but he caught the eye at Euro 2020 last year as Denmark reached the semi-finals.

Damsgaard scored twice, including a spectacular first goal in the 2-1 last-four defeat to England, as well as adding an assist.

Brentford coach Thomas Frank said of Damsgaard, who has signed a five-year contract: "Mikkel is, in my opinion, another classic Brentford signing.

"He is a young player with big potential to develop further. We know we can help Mikkel reach his highest level, we have the staff here that have experience in doing that."

Damsgaard will hope to help plug the creative gap left by Denmark team-mate Christian Eriksen, who left Brentford for Manchester United after a successful short-term spell at the club last season.

Chelsea are hoping to raid Leicester City for both Wesley Fofana and Jamie Vardy during this transfer period, with the former reportedly telling the club he wants out, while the latter's contract is set to expire in 12 months.

Fofana, 21, has emerged as one of the most valuable young defenders in the Premier League despite missing most of this past season with a broken leg. He has represented France's Under-21s, and appears on track to a long international career at the senior level.

Vardy, 35, has scored at least 13 goals in each Premier League season since 2014-15, and if he indicates he has no interest in signing a new contract to stay in Leicester, this transfer window will be their last opportunity to cash-in on the club legend.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA SET SIGHTS ON DYNAMIC LEICESTER DUO

While Vardy will likely have a significant say in his future due to his contract situation, the same cannot be said for Fofana, who recently signed an extension that ties him to the club through 2027.

90min reports both Chelsea and Manchester United are monitoring Vardy's situation, with the thought that he could potentially be a relatively cheap replacement option after Romelu Lukaku was shipped out on loan to Inter, as well as Timo Werner having one foot out the door.

There is no word about an asking price for Vardy, but according to ESPN, Leicester are adamant Fofana is not available at any price, despite previous rumours that they value him at £85million. 

Meanwhile, the Mirror claims that since the Stamford Bridge side's interest became clear, the centre-back has been actively pushing for the move to Chelsea, and he has removed any mention of Leicester from his social media pages.

 

ROUND-UP

– Sky Sports is reporting that Sampdoria have accepted Brentford's £16.7m bid for 22-year-old Danish midfielder Mikkel Damsgaard.

– According to 90min, if Tottenham cannot secure Roma forward Nicolo Zaniolo, they will switch attention to Wolves winger Adama Traore.

– Football League World is reporting Sevilla and Wolves will battle it out for the signing of 23-year-old striker Ben Brereton-Diaz from Blackburn Rovers.

– Fabrizio Romano claims Sevilla are also interested in United full-back Alex Telles, who is said to be behind both Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia in the club's pecking order. 

– The Guardian is reporting Chelsea are interested in Southampton's Kyle Walker-Peters, and that an offer between £35m and £40m could get the deal done.

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