Nicolo Barella Set for €50m Move to Inter as Italian Side Beat Chelsea and Napoli to Midfielder

?Inter have reportedly won the race for Cagliari star Nicolo Barella, beating the likes of Napoli and Chelsea to the Italian’s signature.

The 21-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge in recent weeks, and the speculation only intensified as Cesc Fabregas was granted a transfer to Monaco. It was rumoured that Chelsea had agreed a deal to sign Barella, but it now appears as though they have lost out to Inter.

News of Barella’s imminent move to Inter comes from ?Calciomercato, who state that ?Inter and Cagliari will soon have finalised all the terms of the deal. They will pay an initial €40m, as well as a further €10m depending on Barella’s performances.

He will be allowed to remain with Cagliari until the end of the season, which is thought to have been a deciding factor in Cagliari’s decision to pursue the deal. Barella has already given his consent to the move, and the two sides now coming to the end of their negotiations.

Cagliari are set to sign Boca Juniors midfielder Nahitan Nandez in a €15m deal, and the deal for Barella will be confirmed once the signing of Nandez has been officially finalised.

Nicolo Barella

?Chelsea are still on the hunt for a replacement to ?Fabregas, with only Jorginho capable of operating in the centre of Maurizio Sarri’s midfield. Barella was one of several names to be linked with the club, with Zenit Saint Petersburg’s Leandro Paredes also reportedly on Chelsea’s wish list.

This season, Barella has made 21 appearances for Cagliari and even earned his first cap for the Italian national team. He has started Italy’s last four matches, including two appearances in the UEFA Nations League.

Nicolo Barella

He is regarded as one of the county’s hottest prospects and has drawn comparisons to ?Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, as a result of his creativity and power. He has been used primarily as a central midfielder, but has also proven to be an option in both more attacking and defensive roles on the pitch.

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Picking the Best Potential Inter Lineup to Face Sassuolo in Serie A on Saturday

Inter host 11th-placed Sassuolo in the league at the San Siro on Saturday as they look to keep pace on with Napoli in the race for second place. 

The Nerazzurri, who sit third in Serie A, have won their last three matches in all competitions and face a Neroverdi outfit, who have gone four matches without a victory.

Here’s the potential lineup Luciano Spalletti could select for Saturday’s encounter.

3. Goalkeepers and Defenders

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Samir Handanovi? (GK): The keeper has been in impressive form this campaign, managing to keep ten clean sheets in 19 league games this campaign, including three in his last four. He isn’t usually called upon, considering his side have the second best defensive record in the league, conceding just 14 goals, but when he is summoned, he usually does his part to keep the Nerazzurri in front.

Šime Vrsaljko (RB): The full back has had his injury concerns this campaign but seems to be back to full fitness and has contributed to goals too (two assists). He has started five of the last six matches and has been on the losing side just once, when he has started. He has also helped to keep four clean sheets when he’s played the entire ninety.

Milan Škriniar (CB): The Slovakian has been pivotal to Inter’s defence this season. He has been such an important player, which is evident, considering he’s played all but twice this campaign, helping his side keep nine clean sheets in 17 league appearances.

Stefan de Vrij (CB): The Dutchman has made 19 appearances in all competitions and has helped to keep eight clean sheets. He has become a reliable figure under Spalletti, starting eight of the last ten matches and also possesses an aerial presence in the opposing box, contributing to two goals (a goal and an assist).

Kwadwo Asamoah (LB): The Ghanaian has become a real favourite of Spalletti’s on the left side of defence, as a result of his attacking nature and quality from out wide. The Italian has faith in the full-back, which is evident by the fact, that Asamoah has played ten of the last 12 games in all competitions. He may have provided just one assist, but the full-back has done his defensive duties and has helped his side keep eight clean sheets.

2. Midfielders

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Matteo Politano (RM): Politano has impressed for Il Biscione since joining in the summer. The Italian, who had a decent start to the campaign, hasn’t been among the goals as of late, but Spalletti seems to be an admirer of the 25-year-old, who has featured in every game for Spalletti’s men. Politano has been involved in six goals in 26 appearances.

Matías Vecino (CM): The Uruguayan has struggled with muscular injuries this campaign, but has still contributed for the Nerazzurri, with a goal and four assists in 19 appearances in all competitions. He has featured in three of the last four games and has done well in a deeper role, being able to keep possession under pressure and finding players in key attacking areas.

Borja Valero (CM): The Spaniard has become a reliable member of Spalletti’s squad, considering he’s played in the last 19 games in all competitions. He has excellent passing, can spread the ball out to the opposite flank to initiate opportunities and knows when to press the opponents. He has also provided one assist.

Ivan ?Periši? (LM): The Croat hasn’t had the best of campaigns, but he has looked more like his usual self in recent games. Periši? has contributed to eight goals in 24 appearances, including three assists against Benevento alone in his last outing, and will look to kick on in the second half of the season. 

1. Forwards

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Lautaro Martínez (ST): The Argentine has done well in his debut season in Italy. He has contributed to six goals in 16 appearances – (five goals and one assist) – including three in his last three. The first of three was the winner against Napoli at the San Siro, before he grabbed a brace against Benevento in the Coppa Italia. He has thrived alongside compatriot Icardi and could form a fine partnership going forward.

Mauro Icardi (ST): Icardi has been instrumental for Inter this campaign, continuing last season’s form which saw him finish as joint top scorer in the league. He already has 14 goals and three assists in 23 appearances overall and his goal against Benevento ended a run of three games without netting, which provide him with some confidence going into the game against Sassuolo.

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Inter Ready to Offer Contract Extension to Premier League Target Milan Skriniar

?Inter will offer a new contract to defender Milan Skriniar in the next few days as a reward for his excellent form since moving to San Siro in 2017.

Signed from Sampdoria for around €20m, Skriniar quickly established himself as one of the best defenders in Serie A, leading Inter to Champions League qualification as part of a tight defence.

The Nerazzurri are well-placed to finish in the top four again this season, and Skriniar’s continued consistency has earned interest from European giants including ?Manchester City and ?Manchester United.

Milan Skriniar

According to ?Calciomercato, Inter will put a stop to these rumours by offering Skriniar a new contract worth €3m a year. The club have informed Skriniar’s representatives of their intentions and the two parties will meet to discuss these fresh terms in early February.

Skriniar is keen to commit his future to ?Inter, having repeatedly stated his commitment to the club. Earlier this month, he reacted angrily on social media to reports in the Slovakian media claiming he could move to Manchester United.

“You write things that you don’t even know,” Skriniar said, sharing an image of the offending newspaper. “You are sh***. Now write an article on this.”

Luciano Spalletti

?Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked with Skriniar, but Inter manager Luciano Spalletti warned them that no club in the world can afford him.

“Nobody has the money to pay for Skriniar. He is priceless,” said Spalletti. “He is staying here, because nobody can afford him.”

Skriniar has missed only two league matches this season and Inter’s defensive record is the second-best in Serie A behind only leaders Juventus.

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Wanda Nara Set for Showdown Talks With Inter on Friday Over Mauro Icardi’s Contract Extension Saga

?Mauro Icardi’s wife and agent Wanda Nara is set to meet with Inter’s sporting director face-to-face on Friday, in hopes of resolving the contract saga that has been going on since the start of the season. 

Icardi is said to have rejected the club’s initial advances last summer, which contained a €6.5m a year pay package, with a request of a whopping €9m a year, more than double his current salary.

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The two parties have subsequently sparred repeatedly through the media, with Nara recently going as far as to say they were “very far from producing an agreement”, while also claiming: “We have a very good relationship with the two biggest clubs in Spain who, are very interested in Mauro, as well as one in France and one in England.”

However, according to Sky Sports Italia, as relayed by ?Calciomercato, the public war of words is finally set to end with a face-to-face meeting on Friday between Giuseppe Marotta and Wanda.

Aside from the salary, a huge stumbling block in the negotiations has reportedly been the buy-out clause present in the Argentine’s current deal. While the ?Nerazzurri are desperate to remove it altogether, the player and his representatives are trying to maintain its inclusion, even if it is at a much higher figure. 

That figure currently stands at €110m, but it will only come into effect in the first two weeks of July, and can only be activated by clubs outside of ?Serie A. 

Mauro Emanuel Icardi

After being fined €100,000 for turning up to the first training session of the New Year late, it took ?Icardi just three minutes to make ammends in Inter’s first game of 2019, with the opener in the 6-2 victory over Benevento in the Coppa Italia. 

Their first league clash of the year will take place this Saturday, against Sassuolo at San Siro.

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Inter vs Sassuolo Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

Inter return to league action after their Coppa Italia exploits, with a league game against Sassuolo at the San Siro on Saturday.

The Nerazzurri are hoping to remain in the hunt for the Scudetto and could temporarily close the gap on second-placed Napoli, who face Lazio on Sunday, to two points. 

Meanwhile, the Neroverdi, who were eliminated from the Coppa Italia at the hands of the Neapolitans on the weekend, come into the game on the back of three successive defeats in all competitions and are hoping to get back to winning ways against Inter, who they defeated on the opening day of the campaign.

Check out 90min’s preview of the game below.


Where to Watch

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When Is Kick Off? Saturday 19 January
What Time Is Kick Off? 19:30 (BST)
Where Is it Played? Stadio San Siro
TV Channel/Live Stream? Eleven Sports 2
Referee? TBC

Team News

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Having rested several first-team players in the Coppa Italia, ?Inter manager Luciano Spalletti may choose to revert to some of his more familiar faces with Samir Handanovi?, Stefan de Vrij, Kwadwo Asamoah, Borja Valero and Matteo Politano set to return to the starting line-up.

However, the Italian may choose to keep the likes of Antonio Candreva and Lautaro Martínez, who both scored twice against Benevento on the weekend.

Antonio Candreva,Lautaro Martinez,Marcelo Brozovic

Sassuolo have a lengthy list of absentees including Marlon, Gian Marco Ferrari, Federico Di Francesco and Claud Adjapong, who are all out due to injury. Full-back Rogério was also replaced by Cristian Dell’Orco in the latter stages of their encounter against ?Napoli and is a doubt for Saturday’s fixture.


Predicted Lineups

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Inter Handanovi?; Vrsaljko, Škriniar, De Vrij, Asamoah; Politano, Vecino, Valero, ?Periši?; Martínez, ?Icardi.
Sassuolo Consigli; Lirola, Magnani, Peluso, Rogério; Locatelli, Sensi, Duncan; Berardi, Boateng, Boga.

Head to Head Record

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The Neroverdi have the better record going into the game, winning seven of the previous 11 meetings, with Il Biscione triumphing on just four occasions.

Sassuolo have won the last four successive meetings against the Nerazzurri, all by a one-goal margin, and have been victorious in their last three visits to the San Siro.

Domenico Berardi

Inter’s last victory over Sassuolo came in December 2016, a 1-0 win away at the MAPEI Stadium, but Inter have put seven past Sassuolo on two previous occasions, home and away, and could repeat the feat, having put six past Benevento on the weekend.


Recent Form

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Inter are unbeaten in their last six matches in all competitions, winning four of the last five games, including their last three matches.

Mauro Emanuel Icardi

Sassuolo are currently four matches without a victory and have lost the last three matches in all competitions. Their last victory came against 19th-placed Frosinone in mid-December.

Here’s how each team has performed in their last five fixtures:

Inter Sassuolo
Inter 6-2 Benevento (13/1) Napoli 2-0 Sassuolo (13/1)
Empoli 0-1 Inter (29/12) Sassuolo 2-6 Atalanta (29/12)
Inter 1-0 Napoli (26/12) Roma 3-1 Sassuolo (26/12)
Chievo 1-1 Inter (22/12) Sassuolo 1-1 Torino (22/12)
Inter 1-0 Udinese (15/12) Frosinone 0-2 Sassuolo (16/12)

Prediction

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Inter will have several of their usual starters back in contention for the game against Sassuolo, who are without key defensive options.

Nerazzurri skipper Icardi is in terrific form this campaign, with 14 goals and three assists in 23 appearances overall and got back on the scoreboard against Benevento after a run of three games without netting. If he is in the mood against Sassuolo, La Beneamata could win the game convincingly.

Mauro Emanuel Icardi

However, the Neroverdi will take confidence knowing they have won the last four successive meetings against Inter and have managed to win the last three previous encounters against Inter at the San Siro.

They showed great spirit against Napoli in the Coppa Italia and were unfortunate to have a goal harshly disallowed for hand ball by VAR, when they were 1-0 down.

The Neroverdi will certainly provide a test for Spalletti’s men, but the third-placed side should have enough firepower to overcome a weakened Sassuolo side.

Prediction: Inter 2-1 Sassuolo

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