Former Serie A winner Antonio Di Gennaro
has said that Inter Milan can’t afford to lose the services of Mauro Icardi in
the near future unless they are able to recruit a replacement with the same
level of pedigree. The Nerazzurri captain currently has more than two years
remaining on his existing deal but his future has still come under scrutiny
with the tempting £96m release clause inserted into his contract.
Speaking to RMC Sport, Di Gennaro suggested
that the Nerazzurri would find it difficult to replace Icardi, given players of
the same capacity would command significant wages. He added that the San Siro
outfit should seek to commit the Argentine to a long-term deal with the
economic demands of the striker being within the affordable range.
He told: “If you want to replace someone like him then Inter would need a player of the same level who would have a very big salary. I think that a club that is planning very well like Inter cannot lose someone like Icardi. Inter has it in their mind to keep Icardi and I think there is not so much of a gap on the economic level. If everyone has the same will and agreement can be found.”
Icardi’s release clause has certainly kept
the likes of Chelsea and Real Madrid interested over the past few months and
this has increased the urgency from Inter’s end to resolve the marksman’s
future. Still, they have not been able to find the breakthrough with the
player’s wife and agent and the next few months could give an indication over
the progress made.
Icardi has not enjoyed the same vein of form as
the previous campaign but he has nonetheless contributed nine goals in the
Serie A including a few late winners. The striker’s consistency has also caught
the eye of Argentina of late with manager Lionel Scaloni regularly calling him
upfor international friendlies.
French midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko has
admitted that he is open to remaining with AC Milan beyond the conclusion of
the ongoing campaign. The 24-year-old joined the Rossoneri on a season-long
loan from Chelsea during the summer but his beginning was far from impressive
with manager Gennaro Gattuso questioning his abilities with the ball.
However, the Frenchman has since made impressive progress at the heart of the midfield amid the club’s injury crisis at the centre of the park and he has already made 20 appearances during the first half of the season. Speaking to Milan News, the former Monaco man has acknowledged that he is pleased to have made progress with the Rossoneri after enduring a difficult start where his future with the club was questioned.
He added that he is pleased to commit his long-term future to the Rossoneri, although the final decision has to be taken by the San Siro giants, who have the option to buy him at the end of the season, he told: “I don’t think anything special has changed. I’ve carried on training and working hard, and when you do that things change. I’m happy because I’m playing well with the team. The future? I’m happy here but it’s not my decision, it’s Milan and Chelsea’s. We’ll talk at the end of the season to see what we can do.”
Meanwhile, Milan ended the calendar year on a high after securing a 2-1 comeback triumph over SPAL at the San Siro. The Rossoneri had recently gone through some unwanted history after going four winless matches without finding the scoresheet but they managed to put the disappointment to bed against SPAL, where Gonzalo Higuain scored the match-defining goal. With the outcome, the Rossoneri have been able to close the gap on the Champions League positions with just one point separating them fourth-placed Lazio.
Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly has revealed his ambition of winning the Scudetto with the Naples outfit after they failed to do so during the previous campaign. The Serie A outfit were on course to end Juventus’ dominance for the Scudetto last term but their challenge feel apart during the final months which saw them finish second with a six-point deficit.
Despite the outcome, Koulibaly was recently named among the African Player of The Year contenders and speaking about the same, he said: “The most important thing is that I always try to improve so I can show everyone that I can be one of the best defenders in the world. For me, when I scored this goal I was really happy. I really want to win something with Napoli, they give me a lot of love and confidence. I want to give something back to them and I hope it will be the Scudetto.”
» ( Read more of Kalidou Koulibaly hoping to repay Napoli with Scudetto… )
Former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has indicated that he is not in a hurry to return to management. The 48-year-old was recently being fancied to take over the managerial vacancy at Real Madrid but he happened to dismiss the speculation shortly after which caretaker Santiago Scolari was recruited by Real Madrid on a permanent basis.
In an interview with Sky Sports, Conte has suggested that he is prepared to wait for the right opportunity ahead and does not have the immediate thought to returning to management, he said: “For a manager of my level it is better to wait instead of jumping on a train. I prefer to wait for June and to start a path with a new team, a new project. For the moment, I don’t feel the urge to go back to work. Maybe in a two or three months I will feel the desire and I’ll say something different from what I am saying now.”
» ( Read more of Antonio Conte in no rush to return to management… )
Massimiliano Allegri claimed that Juventus had one of their best games of the campaign as they produced a strong 2-0 victory over Udinese during the weekend. Cristiano Ronaldo and Rodrigo Bentancur were on the scoresheet for the defending champions, as they opened up a nine point lead over Napoli following the weekend matches.
Ronaldo was returning back to the starting lineup after missing out on the midweek Champions League game due to a suspension. He also managed to score for the first time since the infamous rape allegations against him have been opened up. » ( Read more of Allegri Lauds Juve’s Win Over Udinese… )
Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti has suggested that his side are destined to improve despite making a good start to the Serie A season. The Naples outfit have already acquired nine points from the first four games of the new campaign but Ancelotti has lamented the need for improvement as the season goes along.
Speaking after the 1-0 win over Fiorentina, Ancelotti said: “Napoli are destined to improveand we must do so quickly.We now have a lot of games coming and that will help us. They are all of a high level and all in all we are ready. So many reasons [for the change of formation]. It reduces the defensive role of Insigne. The team can defend well in either system and I’m more used to the other way of playing but I don’t see problems with this. We were solid, compact, and sometimes a bit disjointed and off balance.”
» ( Read more of Carlo Ancelotti – Napoli are destined to improve… )
Juventus manager Max Allegri has urged the fans to show patience towards summer signing Cristiano Ronaldo, who failed to score for the second game on the bounce. Miralem Pjanic and Mario Mandzukic found the net during the league clash against Lazio and this ensured that the club picked up the perfect tally of six points from their opening two games.
Speaking after the match, Allegri spoke about the nature of the game whilst stressing that the supporters need to have more patience with Ronaldo, he said: “We rushed things a bit at the start. There was a risk that we could get ahead of ourselves with all the excitement among the fans around Cristiano’s home debut. We needed to show a bit more patience. At times our play is too frenetic and at others we go to sleep, but we need to move the ball more quickly when the opposition tire. That said, we will improve and I’m pleased because this is an important win in our first match against a direct rival.”
» ( Read more of Juventus boss calls for patience with Cristiano Ronaldo… )
Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has stressed that he has no plans of leaving the Citizens despite the ongoing speculation over his future. The Germany international has been linked with a potential move to Barcelona in recent weeks as they seek a replacement for Andres Iniesta but Gundogan remains content with his club situation.
Speaking to Arab News, Gundogan highlighted that he has two more years remaining on his existing deal and he has no desire to leave the club, unless they decide otherwise, he said: “I have plenty of time on my current contract, two years to go.But it also depends on the club if they want me to stay. Everyone can see and feel I am really happy here.With the way we play, with the people around me, in the city, in the community, I really enjoy it here and really enjoy my life. I’m happy.It was great to win the Premier League title, but there are plenty of things still to achieve.”
» ( Read more of Ilkay Gundogan has no plans to leave Manchester City… )
AS Roma striker Edin Dzeko is pleased to have played an influential role in his side’s progress to the semi-final stage of the Champions League. The Giallorossi clinched a shock 3-0 win over Barcelona in the second leg of their quarter-final tie, and this ensured their progress to the final four of the elite competition on the away-goal rule.
Speaking after the game, the Bosnian was happy to have snubbed a move to Chelsea during the winter transfer window in order to prolong his stay in Rome, he said: “It wasn’t easy, but I stayed here and am very happy to be here. I think the club is glad, too. Let’s not talk about [the move]. Money doesn’t matter. This was the best, but even better may well be yet to come. It proved we can play against anyone, as Barcelona are such a strong side. We put three goals past them and could have had more. I have never seen Barcelona struggle so much. We pressed them constantly from the first minute.” » ( Read more of Edin Dzeko Pleased To Have Stayed With AS Roma After Barcelona Shock… )
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has stressed that he is committed to the Blues for the remainder of his contract despite talk of him rejoining Italy in the summer. Speaking ahead of the Manchester City game, the 48-year-old reiterated his stance with his Blues contract only expiring in the summer of 2019, he said: “I think I have already answered this question, nothing has changed compared to the past… especially my answer, it has not changed.”
Conte has come from some criticism from the club’s faithful this term, but most of it has been in patches where the Premier League holders have struggled to find a winning momentum. The worst possible streak came during their defeats at the hands of Watford and Bournemouth, but the Italian managed to steady the ship with a strong performance against Barcelona in the Champions League.
» ( Read more of Antonio Conte Dismisses Talk Of Becoming Italy’s Next Manager… )