Manchester United Set to Swap Alexis Sánchez and Chris Smalling for Inter’s Milan Skriniar

FC Internazionale v Genoa CFC - Serie A
Milan Skriniar is the subject of a complex swap deal involving Manchester United’s Alexis Sánchez and Chris Smalling | Chris Ricco/Getty Images

Manchester United are set to offer both Alexis Sánchez and Chris Smalling to Serie A runners-up Inter in exchange for centre-back Milan Skriniar.

The 25-year-old Slovakia international joined Inter from Sassuolo in the summer of 2017 for close to £30m. Skriniar has been a consistent starter since his San Siro arrival and his ability to play on either the left- or right-hand side of three-man defence has made him a vital part of Antonio Conte’s team this season.

Milan SkriniarMilan Skriniar
Only three outfield players have played more minutes for Inter than Milan Skriniar this season | Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Sánchez has been Skriniar’s teammate for this campaign after arriving on loan in the summer. Smalling has also spent the 2019/20 season on loan in Serie A, making 37 appearances for Roma across all competitions.

In an attempt to get two ageing players off the wage bill and bolster their defence at the same time, Manchester United have offered Smalling and Sánchez to Inter, with Skriniar coming the other way according to the Italian publication Calcio Mercato.

This complex swap deal has supposedly arisen after talks to take Smalling to Roma broke down as the two clubs failed to agree on a transfer fee for the former Fulham centre-back. The Serie A side were thought to be offering €15m for Smalling while his parent club was demanding as much as €25m after add-ons.

Chris SmallingChris Smalling
Chris Smalling has scored three goals in 30 Serie A appearances this season | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Manchester United have also been negotiating a separate deal to take just Sánchez to Inter although finances have again complicated proceedings with the Chilean’s sizeable £400,000-per-week salary understandably a sticking point.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are considered to be unwilling to extend the loan deal of either Sánchez or Smalling as Manchester United hold out for a permanent transfer.

All three of Roma, Inter and Manchester United are still in this month’s Europa League. With the registration deadline for the tournament’s squad’s falling on Monday 3 August, Smalling will be unable to compete for Roma in the competition unless the clubs swiftly come to an unlikely resolution.

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Serie A Roundup: Juventus’ Campaign Ends in Defeat While Milan, Roma & Napoli Win

Diego Perotti, Chris Smalling, Federico Fazio, Roger Ibanez, Riccardo Calafiori
AS Roma players celebrate during their 3-1 victory over Juventus | Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Saturday night represented the first half of a gripping final weekend of Serie A action, as 10 teams all took to the field for the last time in this wonderful campaign.

With the title, Champions League places and Europa League spots already sewn up, there was little – other than pride – to play for at the top end of the table. But Italy’s giants were keen to sign off in style, and put on a fantastic show for its lucky viewers.

SSC Napoli v SS Lazio - Serie ASSC Napoli v SS Lazio - Serie A
Players get involved in a scrap during Lazio’s trip to Naples | Marco Rosi – SS Lazio/Getty Images

But how did Saturday night’s action go down? Don’t worry, 90min has got you covered.

We’ll start with the nine-time successive reigning champions, who welcomed AS Roma to Turin, a side which was yet to pick up a single point at Juventus’ new stadium. That all changed on Saturday evening, however.

Juve went ahead inside five minutes through Gonzalo Higuain, and nothing out of the ordinary appeared to be on the cards. But Roma turned the game on its head, first through a Nikola Kalinic equaliser, and then a quick-fire Diego Perotti brace, running out eventual 3-1 winners.

For I Giallorossi, this will give them plenty of confidence ahead of their Europa League contest with Sevilla. As for I Bianconeri, the less said, the better.

That result meant that Inter would end the season only a point behind Juventus, if they could overcome an impressive Atalanta side. And Antonio Conte’s men did just that. It was a very routine 2-0 victory for I Nerazzurri, who took the lead inside the first minute of the match through Danilo D’Ambrosio, before Ashley Young doubled the advantage soon after.

Atalanta rarely threatened to get back into the game, and it was job done for Conte and co.

With the top three all accounted for, that left Lazio. The Eagles, cemented in fourth spot, had little to play for, although star striker Ciro Immobile was gunning to become Serie A’s all-time highest goalscorer in a single season, needing a brace to secure his status in Italian football history.

Unfortunately, the 30-year-old could only manage to bury an equaliser, cancelling out Fabian Ruiz’s early strike, as Napoli went on to win 3-1 at Stadio San Paolo. A Lorenzo Insigne penalty gave the hosts the lead in the second half, and Matteo Politano provided the 90th minute cherry on the cake.

Elsewhere, Milan continued their fantastic run of form, beating Cagliari 3-0 at San Siro to end the season in sixth place. A Ragnar Klavan own goal gave I Rossoneri a head start, before Zlatan Ibrahimovic atoned for an earlier missed penalty by notching a second.

Samu Castillejo completed the rout to hand Stefano Pioli the perfect finale to an impressive debut campaign.

At the bottom of the table, Brescia bowed out of Serie A with a 1-1 draw against Sampdoria, confirming their spot in 19th position. Samp went a goal to the good just before half-time through Mehdi Leris, but an Ernesto Torregrossa penalty meant the hosts salvaged a point before departing the top flight.

Plenty of talking points then, and there’s still so much to come tomorrow!

Results:

Brescia 1-1 Sampdoria

AC Milan 3-0 Cagliari

Atalanta 0-2 Inter

Juventus 1-3 Roma

Napoli 3-1 Lazio

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Lautaro Martínez’s Barcelona Move on Pause – Club Must First Raise Funds Through Sales

Lautaro Martinez
Barcelona must sell before they can afford to buy Martínez | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Barcelona’s pursuit of Lautaro Martínez has been placed on pause as the club attempt to raise funds to sign the Inter striker – who is prepared to wait patiently for a move to Camp Nou.

The Catalan giants have had their eye on Martinez all season in a bid to freshen up their ageing forward line.

Lautaro MartinezLautaro Martinez
Barcelona have been lined with Martínez for some time | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

However, the forward comes with a hefty price tag, and Barcelona need to fix their own well documented financial issues before entering the transfer market.

According to Spanish news outlet Sport, the negotiations between Barcelona and Inter are currently frozen. The Spanish side need to offload a number of squad players and generate some income in order to meet financial fair play regulations and salary caps before they can consider making a move for Martinez.

The report states that the key would be to sell a member of their forward line for a significant fee before the deal can get the green light.

Barcelona have been keen to sell striker Martin Braithwaite in the summer, just five months on from his controversial move from Leganes. However, the former Middlesbrough man will likely be loaned out or sold for little more than the €18m Barcelona paid for him in January, which would not be sufficient to fund a move for Martinez.

Martin BraithwaiteMartin Braithwaite
Braithwaite is one of a number of players Barcelona are looking to offload | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Teenage starlet Ansu Fati has been linked with a big money move elsewhere, with Manchester United reportedly interested. However, Barcelona have no intention of selling the 17-year-old.

There has also been speculation about an exit for Ousmane Dembele. The Frenchman endured has endured an injury plagued three years at Camp Nou, with Barcelona reportedly valuing him at €60m.

Philipp Coutinho looks likely to depart the club in the summer, with a return to the Premier League on the cards.

Despite his Barcelona move now dependent on whether they can generate funds, Martinez remains keen to join the club, and would be willing to wait a further year before securing a move to Camp Nou.

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The Inter Players Tottenham Should Target in Exchange for Tanguy Ndombele

Tanguy Ndombele
Tanguy Ndombele’s future at Tottenham is uncertain | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Let’s face it, Italian clubs are usually skint. No matter who they are, what they’ve won and who they’re owned by, they love a deal that doesn’t involve a fixed transfer fee (or better, a swap deal disguised as an unrelated purchase and sale that puts money on the books, see: Arthur/Pjanic).

With Daniel Levy equally as keen to keep the budget tight where possible at Spurs, a deal between themselves and Inter could either be a match made in heaven. Or a complete disaster.

With Antonio Conte’s Inter are beginning to look like one of Europe’s most dangerous sides, pushing Juventus closer than ever in this season’s race for the Serie A, a move for Spurs’ record signing – and, more recently, outcast – Tanguy Ndombele could be the final piece of the jigsaw.

Ndombele only signed for the last summer in a club-record £62m deal, but the chances of him leaving after just one season are high, with Jose Mourinho replacing Mauricio Pochettino mid-season and…not overly keen on the midfielder.

Inter have a wealth of talent themselves that Spurs could poach in return. Such as…

Milan SkriniarMilan Skriniar
Skriniar would be an experienced addition | Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

It wouldn’t be a Jose Mourinho team if he didn’t try to improve the defence somehow. Skriniar would no doubt bolster Tottenham’s options at the back, and prove an ideal replacement – upgrade, even – for the outgoing Jan Vertonghen.

Skriniar allows them to shift to a back three if necessary, too, and would likely put Toby Alderweireld in a fight to keep his place in a side. A solid addition.

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D’Ambrosio is still in fine form despite not getting any younger | AFP Contributor/Getty Images

Spurs fans are borderline desperate for a new starting right-back, and they could do with some extra legs in their ranks.

They’ve been linked with a move for young Max Aarons, but with the way Ryan Sessegnon’s career has gone in north London as a young full-back, he might be inclined to head elsewhere. D’Ambrosio, at 31, is an experienced head and again an ideal Mourinho signing, who would offer quality in rotation.

Of course there would be money involved here, too. There’s no way Levy swaps a 23-year-old record signing for a 31-year-old full-back.

Nicolo BarellaNicolo Barella
Barella has impressed since moving to Inter | Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Reports suggested that Spurs had a longstanding interest in Roma’s Nicolo Zaniolo, but look set to miss out as I Giallorossi have no intentions to sell.

If Ndombele was to leave, another midfielder would need to come in. Barella is only 23 and an energetic presence in the centre of the park. He’d run his socks off in a Mourinho side and would get stuck in with the physicality of the Premier League, while also being able to set through Spurs’ forwards with long balls.

Barella has only just joined the club permanently though, meaning the deal would be a difficult one to pull off.

Marcelo BrozovicMarcelo Brozovic
Brozovic has managed three goals and seven assists in total this season | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Mourinho tends to build teams with players at their peak rather than developing younger talents, and Marcelo Brozovic could be the ideal candidate.

At 27, he’s more experienced than Ndombele and Barella, and would support the younger duo of Gedson Fernandes (yeah, remember him?) and Giovani Lo Celso.

Brozovic would provide Tottenham with creativity from deep, going forward and taking on a long-range shot or creating a chance for others. With the age difference, however, perhaps Spurs could demand a little bit of cash alongside him for Ndombele’s services.

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Atalanta vs Inter Preview: How to Watch on TV, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

Josip Ilicic, Alessandro Bastoni
Atalanta and Inter lock horns on Sunday as they both look to take second place in Serie A | Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Atalanta take on Inter on Saturday evening in a huge clash to decide who takes second place for the 2019/20 Serie A season.

The third-highest scoring team in Europe, La Dea have been unbeaten since the league’s restart and will be determined to finish off the domestic season strongly ahead of their upcoming Champions League quarter final against Paris Saint-Germain.

Atalanta have been impressive since Serie A restarted in JuneAtalanta have been impressive since Serie A restarted in June
Atalanta have been impressive since Serie A restarted in June | BSR Agency/Getty Images

As for Antonio Conte’s side, they’ve only lost once after returning to action. The Milan side have recently produced their best football of their campaign and just need to avoid defeat to ensure a first top-two finish for nine years, given that they currently sit a point ahead of their opponents.

When Is Kick Off? Saturday 1 August
What Time Is Kick Off? 19:45 (BST)
Where Is it Played? Gewiss Stadium
TV Channel/Live Stream? Premier Sports 2

The hosts will be without star player Josip Ili?i?, who is sidelined with physical discomfort. They’ll also not have the services of centre back José Luis Palomino, who misses out with a muscle injury. Gian Piero Gasperini otherwise has a full squad to choose from, with Albanian defender Berat Djimsiti set to return to the starting lineup.

As for the Nerazzurri, midfielder Matías Vecino is absent, while Stefano Sensi is a doubt having just returned to training after recovering from a muscle problem. Conte has a big dilemma up front, with Lautaro Martínez making a strong case to be picked alongside one of Romelu Lukaku or Alexis Sánchez.

Lautaro Martínez scored off the bench in Inter's most recent 2-0 win over NapoliLautaro Martínez scored off the bench in Inter's most recent 2-0 win over Napoli
Lautaro Martínez scored off the bench in Inter’s most recent 2-0 win over Napoli | MARCO BERTORELLO/Getty Images

Atalanta: Gollini; Djimsiti, Caldara, Šutalo; Castagne, De Roon, Freuler, Gosens; Pašali?; Zapata, Gómez.

Inter: Handanovi?; Škriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni; Candreva, Barella, Brozovi?, Biraghi; Eriksen; Martínez, Sánchez.

Atalanta have not lost a single game since Serie A’s restart, making them one of the most in-form teams on the continent. They were made to work for their recent 2-1 win at Parma, with captain Papu Gómez scoring late on to keep them in contention for a runners-up finish.

Their visitors this weekend picked up a very good 2-0 win at home to Napoli and have kept three consecutive clean sheets in their last three matches. All three of their star forwards in Lukaku, Martínez and Sánchez have scored in their last two games, setting them up nicely for Saturday’s clash.

Here’s how both sides have fared in their last five fixtures.

Atalanta

Parma 1-2 Atalanta (28/7)
Milan 1-1 Atalanta (24/7)
Atalanta 1-0 Bologna (21/7)
Verona 1-1 Atalanta (18/7)
Atalanta 6-2 Brescia (14/7)

Inter

Inter 2-0 Napoli (28/7)
Genoa 0-3 Inter (25/7)
Inter 0-0 Fiorentina (22/7)
Roma 2-2 Inter (19/7)
SPAL 0-4 Inter (16/7)

This is an incredibly hard game to call, given the excellent form of both sides and their star players.

Atalanta’s attack have made them a joy to watch, and given they’re on the verge of scoring a century of goals within a single Serie A season, they appear unstoppable at the moment.

But if any team is going to keep them out, Conte’s Inter has a strong chance. The Nerazzurri boast the best defence in the league having conceded just 36 goals, and will be determined to perform well against their potent opponents. With their forwards also in great form, they’ll likely score themselves.

It promises to be an exciting, high-scoring draw for both sides to round off their domestic campaigns with, before they look to topple Juventus next season.

Prediction: Atalanta 2-2 Inter

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