Inter are closing in on a permanent deal for Manchester United forward Alexis Sanchez, and are prepared to put €20m on the table for the Chilean.
Sanchez joined Inter on loan in the summer, following Romelu Lukaku to San Siro, but while his former United teammate hit the ground running immediately, injury problems threatened to derail Sanchez’s stay altogether.
A foot issue limited him to just five competitive appearances before the turn of the year, but even after returning in January, Antonio Conte opted to start him just once before lockdown, as the strike force of Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez continued to thrive.
The break seems to have served him well, however, as he has looked a renewed player in his four appearances since. He has scored twice and assisted another two, playing a particularly starring role in the 6-0 thrashing of Brescia, and is fast becoming a valuable player for Conte’s side.
According to Goal, that value is to be recognised in the form of a good offer from the faltering Serie A title challengers. In a bid to keep him at the club beyond the summer, they will reportedly go as high as €20m – around £18m.
That’s an offer United would surely jump at due to the staggering financial turnaround it would ultimately create. As well as the short-term windfall, a permanent deal would clear his £391,000 per week wages from the bill, saving the club a further £20m+ per year.
His current terms at Old Trafford run until 2022, and his salary means that a permanent move to any club other than Inter this summer looks highly unlikely.
Having joined from Arsenal in a swap deal for Henrikh Mkhitaryan in January 2018, his transfer will likely go down as one of the worst in the club’s recent history, and there will be plenty at United relieved that an end is now in sight.
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Mauro Icradi has taken a swipe at his former employers Inter, claiming he moved to French champions Paris Saint-Germain ‘to win titles’.
The former Inter captain has spent the past year on loan in the French capital having spent six seasons with the Nerazzurri. A deal has now been agreed between the two sides for Icardi to move to PSG on a permanent basis, with Inter receiving a fee believed to be €58m including add-ons,
Despite notching 111 Serie A goals in his time with Inter, the Argentina international didn’t win a single piece of silverware in his time at the club, while his single season in Ligue 1 has already gleaned a league title.
Now, Icardi has claimed he felt he had to leave Inter in order to further develop his career. He told PSG TV: “It was important for me to take a big step in my career.
“I am 27 years old, I spent a lot of time in Italy. I wanted to come to a club like Paris Saint-Germain to win titles and to get to a higher level. It is for these reasons that I wanted to change clubs and evolve in my career.”
The Argentinian played a key role in PSG’s triumphant 2019/20 league campaign, scoring 12 goals and contributing four assists in his 20 league appearances. Icardi’s five goals in six Champions League games have also helped the club progress to the quarter-final stage of the competition.
The 27-year-old will no doubt have a huge part to play in any future success PSG enjoy, with veteran striker Edinson Cavani leaving the club in the near future. The Uruguayan took the decision not to sign a short-term deal which would have seen him eligible to compete in the Champions League in August.
Cavani leaves the club after seven years in Paris. The former Napoli man became PSG’s all-time leading goalscorer in that time, with 200 goals in just 301 appearances.
By this time of year, we’d normally be in the full flow of summer. But everything in 2020 has been pushed back several months by the coronavirus crisis, which means it is only now, as the 2019/20 campaign finally nears its end, that fans are beginning to cast their eye to new kits for next season.
Here’s a rundown of every confirmed and leaked Premier League kit for 2020/21 so far, as well as a handful of others from Europe’s biggest clubs.
Home (leaked): The 2020/21 Arsenal home kit looks as though it will use a darker shade of red than the Gunners are typically used to. There is a graphic pattern, which is currently a common theme in shirt design, while the sleeve cuffs appear unusually large.
Away (leaked): The 2020/21 Arsenal away kit is said to be inspired by the iconic marble halls at the club’s former home at Highbury. The shorts are expected to be maroon, paired with white socks, making it a similar look overall to the 2007/08 away strip.
Third (leaked): Peach/light orange trim is a nice complement to the dark blue base colour of Arsenal’s expected third shirt. The graphic is subtle yet serves to give it a definite wow factor.
Home: They may not even be a Premier League team by next season, but Bournemouth are already wearing their 2020/21 home kit following its launch last month – and it’ll be available to buy on the club’s store.
Home: Chelsea say the herringbone-knit pattern featured on their 2020/21 shirt is inspired by fine London tailoring. It features dark blue trim rather than typical white trim, and is the first Chelsea jersey to feature mobile network Three as the primary sponsor. It’s available from 9 July on Nike’s website.
Away (leaked): Not a great deal is known about Chelsea’s 2020/21 away kit other than its expected colour scheme. It is thought that the main colour will be a light shade of blue, matched with darker blue trim, and likely some sort of design graphic.
Third (leaked): The third kit Chelsea will wear next season incorporates a striped design that no matter how hard you try looks distinctly like something Crystal Palace would wear. The stripes fade out halfway through the jersey, which is arguably more bizarre.
Home (concept): We know that Everton have entered into a new kit deal with cult brand Hummel and we know that car seller Cazoo will be the primary sponsor – and we’ll find out more when it’s released on Friday.
Home (leaked): The new Liverpool home shirt, the first made by Nike following the switch from New Balance, takes things back to the 1990s. The green trim on the V-neck and sleeve cuffs is similar to that which featured on a home kit worn from 1993 to 1995.
Away (leaked): The away kit Liverpool will be wearing for 2020/21 is ‘hyper turquoise’. The striking graphic design is said to have been inspired by the iconic Shankly Gates at Anfield and a release date is expected some time in August.
Goalkeeper (leaked): Jerseys will come in black and yellow for Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker next season, but there is more to the design than simply plain colours. You may not that the overall design is the same as the earlier Chelsea goalkeeper shirt.
Home (leaked): A mosaic design will make up the new 2020/21 Manchester City, with mosaics a distinct part of the modern Manchester art scene. City have had blue home shorts in the past, but they are expected to stay white next season.
Home (leaked): Manchester United’s expected new home shirt is not a dissimilar look to the club’s 2016/17 blue away strip. The patterning breaks up the base colour for a much more bold and interesting design than simply plain red.
Away (leaked): Although it might look black at first glance, United’s rumoured 2020/21 away kit is actually ‘legacy green’. Of the three, shirts the club will use next season, it is expected to be the first to drop because it was originally scheduled for a May release.
Third (leaked): The ‘dazzle camo’ pattern of United’s expected third shirt for next season has had plenty of people talking and will be a new and unique direction. The print actually finds its roots in 20th century naval warfare when ships were painted a similar way as a defence tactic.
Goalkeeper (leaked): United have a few bold and ‘out there’ goalkeeper shirts over the last 10 years, but this rumoured design for 2020/21 might be the most garish of the lot. The graphic pattern under the arms and on the side panels are a bit love/hate.
Home (leaked): This image of the 2020/21 Spurs kit that has been widely circulated online appears to be a counterfeit version of the real expected design. Like most clubs, Spurs will have a graphic design incorporated into the shirt, while yellow returns as a trim colour.
Away (leaked): The expected Spurs away kit for next season is predominantly dark green, featuring pale yellow logos. The rest of the trim will be black, but there is also going to be an element of pink trim to it as well.
Third (leaked): Yellow has been a Spurs colour in the past and will return as the 2020/21 third strip, featuring both yellow shorts and yellow socks in addition to the shirt. The club crest and Nike will be positioned centrally.
Home: West Ham launched their 2020/21 shirt on the club’s 125th anniversary, with a special badge marking the landmark. The actual design, meanwhile, pays tribute to the golden era of the 1960s when Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters were wearing claret and blue – and is available on the club’s store immediately.
Home (leaked): Wolves are expected to adopt a black sleeves look in 2020/21, which would only be the second time they have ever done so. Black sleeves previously appeared on Wolves jersey in 2014/15 and from 1996 to 1998.
Home (leaked): Yellow will return as a prominent trim colour to Barcelona’s 2020/21 home shirt. The thick neckline in particular brings back memories of the 2010/11 season when Barça could lay genuine claim to being the greatest team of all time.
Third (leaked): A pink shirt with black and green trim will be part of Barcelona’s wardrobe in 2020/21. The shirt is expected to be worn with black short, and matched with green socks that feature the pink trim. It’s not a combination that seems to obviously go together.
Home (leaked): Pink trim looks set to adorn the new Real Madrid 2020/21 home kit. The V-neck design looks like a throwback from adidas to the early 1990s, while the sleeve cuffs, not visible in this image, are expected, to have a pink and black pattern.
Away (leaked): Real had a vivid pink change strip in 2014/15 and a coral third kit last season. On both occasions the trim colour was white, but 2020/21’s pink kit will feature navy blue trim instead. The design itself is actually very plain and simple, leaving the colour to do the work.
Third (leaked): Real will stick with the pink theme for the third kit as well, serving as trim for an otherwise black design. Intrigue comes from quite a distinctive graphic.
Home (leaked): Atletico Madrid’s trademark stripes look like they will be given a very traditional makeover for 2020/21. The collar and button are a distinct throwback to the past and it is noticeably a darker shade of blue trim and recent times.
Home (leaked): Gold is expected to be the trim colour of choice for Juventus in 2020/21. The home shirt also moves away from having very bold and defined black and white to more of an abstract look that makes seem a bit more raw and artistic.
Away (leaked): The away kit Juventus are expected to wear in 2020/21 appears much plainer and simpler, although there is a little bit of flair in the sleeve cuffs to add something else to it.
Third (leaked): ‘Artistic’ doesn’t quite cut it to describe Juve’s expected third jersey. The striking combination of orange and black is a complementing contrast that may even have the effect of players appearing as a blur as they run.
Home: The new 2020/21 shirt swaps Inter’s traditional stripes for wavy zigzags to bring a fresh perspective to a classic look. It is inspired by the city of Milan and design movement that developed and thrived there in the 1980s – and is available on Nike’s website now.
Away (leaked): Inter seems to be really going for it in 2020/21 and will definitely get noticed every time they walk onto the pitch. There is no obvious symmetry to the colour of the lines on the white background, although on closer inspection you can tell they alternate.
Third (leaked): Is this the ultimate throwback? The hooped Inter jersey from the Ronaldo years could be about to make a comeback more than 20 years on. Pictures of the Brazilian superstar wearing a kit like this are iconic.
Home: Bayern have brought back a classic and simple design for 2020/21. Fans have fought a campaign for home colours to be red and white only and the club listened, which means navy blue may never be seen on a Bayern home shirt again. Catch it now on adidas’ website.
Home: Dortmund’s electrifying new home shirt has caused a stir on social media since its launch. It is also the first to feature new sponsor 1&1 on the front – and is available now from the club’s online store.
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Real Madrid have confirmed the sale of Achraf Hakimi to Inter, in a move that is expected to be worth up to €45m.
Hakimi’s majestic form during his two-year loan spell at Borussia Dortmund saw him emerge as a potential transfer target for a whole host of European clubs this summer, with Real Madrid willing to let the Moroccan depart on a permanent basis this time around.
However, it’s Inter who have won the race after the Nerazzurri agreed on an initial €40m fee – including €5m in add ons – with Los Blancos and moved swiftly to convince Hakimi that the blue and black side of Milan was the right place to further his career.
Full details have not yet been released but it’s understood he’s penned a five-year deal in Milan.
Inter fans can look forward to welcoming one of the most exciting full-back prospects on the planet, one who won’t take long to displace Victor Moses on the right-hand side of Antonio Conte’s back five – a role in which he’s made it clear he’s suited to.
Speaking to the BBC last month, the Moroccan said: “I think I like the right-back role – but I like to go on the attack all the time. I like to play as a winger too, and sometimes I feel as if I want to play as a striker. But I think right-back is good.”
He was vague in that interview about his future, saying at the time: “I think next I need to relax a little bit. For my head and my body. Then after I need to think about everything – what I have and what is better for me. I want to continue to play, like I have done since I was 17 years old.
“I want to play all the time like I have done over these last two years with Dortmund. If I play regularly, I think I can be a good player – you learn more and become better.I don’t care where, you know. I think only that wherever I go, I go to play.”
I know it feels like a lifetime ago, but close your eyes and try to remember just how good Alexis Sanchez used to be. The Chilean star was a ball of energy, industry and determination, with a spark and talent that could simply win matches on its own.
The winger grew into his Arsenal career, posting the best numbers in his final full season with the club. That was 24 league goals and five assists, if you were wondering. Those statistics deserve extra credit when you consider just how average Arsenal were in his last years at the club, and how much of their success was down to his individual brilliance.
But that’s where the Alexis Sanchez story takes a turn. From action hero to Greek tragedy, the 31-year-old has suffered a monumental fall from grace ever since the January of 2018. The decline began with a move to Manchester United, and with all the talk surrounding whether he’d justify the astronomical wages he was receiving, the forward seemed set up for failure from the off.
A poor first half-season with the Red Devils left many questioning his motives for the switch, and just how up for the fight he was. And suspicions that he had become too comfortable collecting his pay packet every week intensified during the 2018/19 campaign, when he managed only one goal in 20 appearances, and generally looked miles off the pace.
And that was that. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Man Utd revolution had no space for the flagging Chilean, and in desperate need of shifting a chunk of his salary off the books, the Premier League side sent Sanchez packing to Italy.
Inter were the gamblers on this occasion, eyeing an opportunity to help one of this generation’s greatest talents to recapture his stellar form of yesteryear. I Nerazzurri went all in on the winger, but they hadn’t accounted for a joker in the pack.
Rotten luck. Inter coach Antonio Conte took his time bedding Sanchez into the fold, and it was in his third appearance that we began to see flashes of the electric star of old. Scoring an instinctive maiden goal and running Sampdoria ragged, the winger was playing some of his best football in 18 months, before receiving his marching orders for two bookable offences.
It was a hammer blow having delivered such a dominant display, but it was a possible sign of things to come.
Sanchez picked up a nasty injury on international duty, and was subsequently kept out of action until mid-January. Since then, he has been trying to get back up to speed, but he’s taking his time. A costly risk from Inter, then?
Well, a mistake they’re considering making twice, by the sounds of things. Despite another 12 months of frustration for Sanchez, I Nerazzurri are being linked with another season-long loan for the Man Utd man, given that his future appears to be far from Old Trafford.
And although many will be left scratching their heads at the possibility of Sanchez securing a second stint in Serie A, there is some method to the madness.
Managers love rescuing the careers of underachieving performers, and Conte is no exception. During his time at Chelsea, he managed to turn Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses into world beaters, while generally building a side greater than the sum of its parts.
And the Italian will be confident that given an entire summer of working with Sanchez, and following the first year of learning his trade in Italy, he’ll be better placed to hit the ground running this time round.
Not to mention, on the rare occasion that he has taken to the field fully fit, he’s threatened to remember how to play football – including a match-winning display against Brescia on Wednesday evening. And for anyone who is still daring to question Sanchez’s hunger, he’s playing for the one manager who can light a fire under just about anyone. Desire won’t be an issue.
With Inter spending big on wing-backs (shock) in Achraf Hakimi this summer, and looking to secure the jewel of Italian football in Sandro Tonali, there may not be a lot of money left in the pot to improve their attacking options.
So extending Sanchez’s loan would give Conte one less headache in the market, while simultaneously allowing them to pour cash into other more valuable areas in the team. And having a player of the Chilean’s positional flexibility is a manager’s dream.
The ex-Barcelona star can play out wide, through the middle or as a second striker, providing his coach with a plethora of opportunities to introduce him into proceedings from the substitute’s bench. And as far as impact subs go, he would be one of the best.
But Sanchez still has the ability and quality to nail down a starting spot in this Inter side, and help turn them into the title contenders they should have been this season. More importantly though, should Conte decide to take a chance on him again, it’ll show that he has the drive and the heart to get back to the top of European football.