Antonio Conte Tipped to Leave Inter With Massimiliano Allegri in ‘Pole Position’

Antonio Conte
Conte is under pressure from the Inter board | Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Reports in Italy suggest Inter are likely to part ways with Antonio Conte this summer, with former Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri lined up as a potential replacement.

Conte’s Inter finished the Serie A season with a 2-0 win over Atalanta, ending the campaign just a point behind champions Juve.

The standings fail to tell the full story, however: their title chances had realistically collapsed before lockdown, and they sat seven points behind Juve a week ago, at the point Maurizio Sarri’s team secured the league for a ninth straight season.

Since arriving in the summer, Conte has spent more than £170m on new signings, but has nonetheless been openly critical of the Inter board. CEO Beppe Marotta was forced to publicly distance himself from Conte’s comments in the wake of the Atalanta win, which took aim at president Steven Zhang, claiming that he had been given ‘no protection’ from those above him.

These claims look to have crossed a line with the Inter hierarchy, and Sky Italia report that unless something ‘changes sensationally’, Inter will move in another direction this summer.

Allegri, who has been out of work for more than a year, is said to be in ‘pole position’, as Zhang looks for a new manager to implement his vision for the club.

Speaking to Sky Italia following the Atalanta win, Conte said: “Neither my work nor the players’ work was acknowledged, I found little protection from the club when making comparisons. If you want to reduce the gap with Juventus you have to be strong on the pitch but above all off it.

“We will have to talk to the president who is in China now. I don’t like people jumping on the bandwagon now, we have to be there for the good times and bad and this has not happened at Inter. I understand that, if you are weak, it is hard to protect your team and coach.”

Pretty remarkable stuff from a guy who’s signed Romelu Lukaku, Christian Eriksen, Nicolo Barella, Diego Godin and Alexis Sanchez all in the last year, but each to their own.

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

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Inter players celebrating their group stage win over Ludogrets. | NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/Getty Images

Inter and Getafe head to Gelsenkirchen on Wednesday night in a winner-takes-all round of 16 Europa League tie.

The one-legged affair will take place at Schalke’s Veltins Arena, with the winner going on to face either Rangers or Bayer Leverkusen in the quarter finals.

Schalke's Veltins Arena will host the two sides on Wednesday night. Schalke's Veltins Arena will host the two sides on Wednesday night.
Schalke’s Veltins Arena will host the two sides on Wednesday night. | Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Inter, who are one of the favourites to win the tournament, are coming off an impressive 2-0 victory away at high-flying Atalanta as their Serie A campaign drew to a close. Antonio Conte’s side secured second place, with just one point separating them from champions Juventus.

Getafe ended their La Liga campaign with a 1-0 loss away to Levante, sealing an eighth place finish. The Azulones have been largely unimpressive domestically since their return to action, recording just one win in 11 matches.

When Is Kick Off? Wednesday 5 August
What Time Is Kick Off? 20:00 (BST)
Where Is it Played? Veltins Arena
TV Channel/Live Stream? BT Sport (UK), fuboTV (US)

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Dynamic midfielder Stefano Sensi has resumed full training. | Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

After a string of injuries hampered his playing time toward the end of the regular season, midfielder Stefano Sensi is targeting a return to the first team on Wednesday night. The 24-year-old has returned to full training following a muscular injury and is believed to be available for selection.

For Getafe, centre back Erick Cabaco is unavailable as he’s not registered to play in the competition. Stoke loanee Oghenekaro Etebo is recovering from a muscle injury and is unlikely to feature.

Etebo is recovering from an injuryEtebo is recovering from an injury
Etebo is recovering from an injury | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Inter: Handanovic; De Vrij, Bastoni, Godin; Candreva, Eriksen, Brozovic, Young; Sanchez, Lukaku, Martinez.

Getafe: Soria; Damian Suarez, Djene, Timor, Olivera; Nyom, Arambarri, Maksimovic, Cucurella; Mata, Molina.

Conte narrowly missed out on the Scudetto. Conte narrowly missed out on the Scudetto.
Conte narrowly missed out on the Scudetto. | Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Despite missing out on the Scudetto in Conte’s debut season, Inter can look back on their domestic form with pride. The Nerazzurri have won three of their last five matches and head into Wednesday’s tie riding a three match winning streak. Conte’s side have also been defensively sound of recent, keeping clean sheets in four of their last five fixtures.

On the other hand, Getafe are suffering through a dismal run of form. The Azulones reached the dizzying heights of third in La Liga before taking their foot off the gas and dropping down into eighth. Getafe’s last win came at the end of June, beating Real Sociedad 2-1, but since then Jose Bordalas’ side have registered just one goal in six matches.

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Jose Bordalas’ side have ended their domestic campaign horribly. | GABRIEL BOUYS/Getty Images

Here’s how the two sides have fared in their last five outings.

Inter

Atalanta 0-2 Inter (1/8)
Inter 2-0 Napoli (28/7)
Genoa 0-3 Inter (25/7)
Inter 0-0 Fiorentina (22/7)
Roma 2-2 Inter (19/7)

Getafe

Levante 1-0 Getafe (19/7)
Getafe 0-2 Atletico Madrid (16/7)
Alaves 0-0 Getafe (13/7)
Getafe 1-3 Villarreal (8/7)
Osasuna 0-0 Getafe (5/7)

With Getafe’s lack of scoring threat and Inter’s impenetrable defence of late, it’ll likely be a long night for the Azulones. Expect the Serie A side to secure safe passage through to the next round.

Prediction: Inter 3-0 Getafe

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

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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.

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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.

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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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