Inter Keep Alive Interest in Arsenal Defender But Push Transfer Talks Back to Next Summer

Any future attempts by Internazionale’s to sign Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi could be pushed back until next summer, as any chance to lure him to Serie A in January looks far too unrealistic according to reports. 

The Milan outfit are long-term admirers of the Gunners defender and have previously tried to hold talks with his agent with a view to bringing him to Italy during the winter. 

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the German defender was close to confirming the switch to Inter earlier this summer, but nothing was concluded.

However, his glorious return to the team, which saw him crowned derby hero after scoring in Arsenal’s 2-0 win against Tottenham, have led both him and Inter to reconsider the deal. 

Therefore, Gazzetta says, he will probably remain in London until the end of the season and will decide his future only then. 

Despite Inter’s interest, Mustafi has a good relationship with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, who could be a key factor in his decision. 

Mustafi would not be new to Italian football, as he played for Sampdoria before switching to Valencia in 2006.

Although Juventus were also reported as interested in the Germany international earlier this summer, reports in Italy suggest that Inter would be the only destination he is considering other than Arsenal. 

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Cagliari vs Inter Preview: Classic Encounter, Team News, Prediction & More

Inter are determined to continue their impressive title tilt and pledge to remain unbeaten for the 14th game of Serie A as they face mid-table opponents Cagliari this weekend.

The Nerazzurri regained the second place behind Napoli following a neat 2-0 win against Atalanta, while also profiting from Juventus’ defeat to Sampdoria. 

FC Internazionale v Atalanta BC - Serie A

Although technically and mentally advantaged compared to Cagliari, Inter cannot afford to make mistakes and let the home side lead the game. 

After five consecutive losses, however, the Sardinian side have managed to improve their performances, are now enjoying a good moment and will at least try to obtain a draw against the Nerazzurri.


Classic Encounter

Inter devastated the hosts last year with an outstanding 5-1 win, but Cagliari fans may still proudly remember how they humiliated Inter three years ago at San Siro, where they scored four goals.

Cagliari Calcio v SSC Napoli - Serie A

Under the lead of eclectic manager Zdenek Zeman, the Sardinians obtained their first three points in the league when they visited Walter Mazzarri’s then mediocre side in September 2014. 
Cagliari took the lead after only ten minutes with Marco Sau, whose goal was, however, evened shortly afterwards by former Roma and Juventus man Pablo Osvaldo. The Italian profited from Rodrigo Palacio’s assist to make it all square at San Siro. 
Yet, a broken team like 2014’s Inter struggled to keep up with Cagliari’s pace and with Zeman’s style of play, after Yuto Nagatomo’s expulsion. Before the end of the first half, Albin Ekdal had scored three beautiful goals, leaving the Nerazzurri’s confused defence with a lot to work on.
Luciano Spalletti has managed to keep his team all in one piece as they head to Cagliari on Saturday night. Youngster Zinho Vanheusden will be ruled out for the next four months after picking up a knee injury.
The hosts should equally have all players available apart from 22-year-old talent Alessandro Deiola, whose physical conditions are yet to be confirmed. 
Potential Inter Starting Lineup: Handanovic, D’Ambrosio, Skriniar, Miranda, Vecino, Gagliardini, Candreva, Borja Valero, Perisic, Icardi
Potential Cagliari Starting Lineup: Rafael, Romagna, Andreolli, Ceppitelli, Faragò, Ionita, Cigarini, Barella, Padoin, Pavoletti, Joao Pedro
Prediction
Inter can count a long series of positive encounters with Cagliari and, if they keep playing like they’ve done so far, they will win comfortably.

However, Cagliari, and Sardinians in general, are traditionally very proud people and will fight to score.

Cagliari 1-3 Inter

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How Record Breaking Zlatan Ibrahimovic Has Fared in the Champions League With Each of His 7 Clubs

Zlatan Ibrahimovic set a Champions League record when he came off the bench for Manchester United in the closing stages of this week’s clash with Basel.

Having played in, and won, the Europa League last season, it was Ibrahimovic’s Champions League debut for United, his 7th different club in the competition overall.

No one else has turned out for quite so many different top sides in Europe’s elite competition.

Here’s a look at how the superstar Swede has fared at each of them…

1. Ajax

Champions League Best: Quarter Finals (2002/03)

Appearances: 19

Goals: 6

Ibrahimovic’s first Champions League season saw him score five times in 13 games as Ajax successfully navigated two group stages to get the last eight of the competition.

Unfortunately for Ibrahimovic, the following season ended with a group stage exit.

2. Juventus

Champions League Best: Quarter Finals (2004/05, 2005/06)

Appearances: 19

Goals: 3

Both seasons Ibrahimovic spent with Juventus in the Champions League ended at the quarter final stage, with elimination coming at the hands of eventual winners Liverpool in 2004/05 and eventual runners-up Arsenal in 2005/06.

On a personal level, the Swede also struggled for goals, failing to score at all in 2004/05.

3. Internazionale

Champions League Best: Last 16 (2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09)

Appearances: 22

Goals: 6

Despite Inter’s dominance at a domestic level, Zlatan would go no further that the Last 16 stage in the Champions League during his time with the Nerazzurri.

Rather cruelly, Inter went on to lift the iconic trophy for the first time in 45 years the season that he left the club for Barcelona, trading places with Samuel Eto’o.

4. Barcelona

Champions League Best: Semi Finals (2009/10)

Appearances: 10

Goals: 4

Ibrahimovic joined a Barcelona side in the summer of 2009 that had just won the Champions League as part of a treble, while he left a Barça team in the summer of 2010 that would then go on to win it again come the end of the season.

In the Swede’s sole season at Camp Nou, his Champions League dream was ended by his former Inter teammates at the semi-final stage.

5. AC Milan

Champions League Best: Quarter Finals (2011/12)

Appearances: 16

Goals: 9

By the time he reached AC Milan, Zlatan had started to move away from the rash and inconsistent talent he had previously been known to be, and was a more mature and polished goalscorer.

But despite goals galore in Italy, it didn’t help him go any further in Europe. Competition newcomers Tottenham knocked the Rossoneri out at the Last 16 in 2010/11.

6. Paris Saint-Germain

Champions League Best: Quarter Finals (2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16)

Appearances: 33

Goals: 20

Ibrahimovic has played more Champions League games for Paris Saint-Germain, scoring many more goal, than for any other club in his long career after spending four years in France.

Each time, his journey came to an end in the quarter finals. Former club Barcelona were responsible knocking his PSG side out on two of those four occasions.

7. Manchester United

Champions League Best:unknown (2017/18)

Appearances: 1

Goals: 0

Only time will tell what the 2017/18 Champions League campaign has in store for Ibrahimovic and Manchester United.

A long-term knee injury meant he was forced to miss the first four games of the group stage. But his return, particularly with a view to the knockout rounds in the new year, will be a huge boost for the United squad as an extra attacking option.

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Arsenal Alerted to January Availability of Inter Star & Euro 2016 Winner

?Joao Mario is being made available for transfer by Italian giants Internazionale, with Arsenal reportedly eyeing a surprise move for the midfielder during the January transfer window.

The Portugal international only joined the Nerazzurri 18 months ago in a £40m deal from Sporting CP, but has found establishing himself as a first team regular challenging at the San Siro.

Italian football website Tuttosport reports Inter are willing to accept a reduced bid of £26m for the 24-year-old midfielder, who is no longer in manager Luciano Spalletti’s plans after the club’s impressive start to this season’s Serie A campaign. 

Portugal v Switzerland - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier

Inter remain undefeated and second, two points adrift of current leaders Napoli.

Euro 2016 winner Mario has made a total of 39 appearances for Inter, but managed just three starts in Serie A this season.  It is understood he would consider a move to England, to secure more regular football.


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Portugal have qualified for next summer’s World Cup in Russia and Mario recognises he needs to be playing regularly and at a high standard to prove to national coach Fernando Santos that he deserves to be selected for the country’s final squad. 

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Picking a Best Starting XI of Players Offloaded by Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho is regarded as one of the best managers of his generation – and rightly so. The Portuguese boss is a serial winner, having collected trophies from all over Europe – be it in his native country, England, Spain or Italy; he wins.

However, Mourinho has been known to make a few ‘mistakes’; in which he’s sold top quality players because they don’t fit his system, or they’re now too old, or he simply doesn’t rate them.

So what better to do than create a line-up of some of the best players he has gotten rid of?


*Disclaimer* – We’re rating these players through their ability at the height of their careers; not when they were sold, nor their footballing ability as of this very moment.

So, let’s get the ball rolling from the back…

1. Goalkeeper – Petr Cech

Petr Cech has individual awards coming out of his scrum cap.

Czech Republic’s most capped player also holds the Premier League’s most clean sheets, and the former Chelsea stopper has picked up an impressive four Golden Gloves in the same division.

One of modern football’s finest goalkeepers, Mourinho removed Cech from Stamford Bridge to make way for the increasingly brilliant (and considerably younger) Thibaut Courtois – quite a smart move.

2. Centre Back – David Luiz

It was actually Mourinho who brought David Luiz into Chelsea only months before he departed the club for the first time. 

Upon his return, he sold the crazy haired defender to Paris Saint-Germain in 2014 for a world record fee for a defender. As excuses go, that’s a pretty good one. £50m is a lot for a controversial, attacking minded centre-half; although he can strike one hell of a free-kick every now and then.

Perhaps the manager was still haunted by those dark few months that led to his dismissal by having the Brazilian in his squad.

Funnily enough, the summer after Jose had left Chelsea (for the second time) Luiz returned again, where he remains.

3. Centre Back – Leonardo Bonucci

This is where Mourinho massively messed up. Granted, he wouldn’t be at Inter by the time the defender really started showing his true ability, but Leonardo Bonucci has become one of the best centre backs on the planet in recent years, and Jose sold him to Serie B side Treviso for a tiny €500.

Comical.

4. Centre Back – Marcel Desailly

Regarded as one of the finest French defenders of all time, Desailly was one of the first to go when Mourinho arrived at Stamford Bridge the first time.

In fairness to Jose, Desailly was a shade of his former self when he arrived into London, and at 36 years old, he couldn’t really offer much to his new boss.

But still, it’s Marcel Desailly.

5. Right Midfield – Arjen Robben

Hasn’t Arjen Robben always seemed old? Even at Chelsea in 2004 as a 20-year-old, just look at that hairline.

Mourinho and the Dutchman spent roughly the same amount of time at Stamford Bridge in the Portuguese chief’s first stint there. In fact, Mourinho probably didn’t even want to sell Robben, but when a big team like Real Madrid comes calling with a £24m offer (at the time that was a lot of cash), there’s very little you can do.

6. Centre Midfield – Kevin de Bruyne

This is absolutely brilliant. Mourinho must hate himself for letting this one go.

Kevin de Bruyne – currently regarded as the best player in the Premier League (and increasingly so around Europe), was sold to Wolfsburg by Mourinho in 2014 because he didn’t train well enough, and now plays for the Manchester United manager’s rivals Manchester City.

If only you could turn back time.

7. Centre Midfield – Frank Lampard

Chelsea legend Frank Lampard saw his time with the club run to an end during Mourinho’s second stint in west London.

In fairness to Jose, it wasn’t his decision to ship the English midfielder off to the MLS for a couple of years – but he’s still one talented player departing a club under Mourinho.

8. Left Midfield – Mohamed Salah

We’ve got a bit of a Chelsea theme running through here, don’t we?

Here’s another player who may well come back to haunt Mourinho, with Mohamed Salah now sitting at the top of the Premier League’s goal scoring charts for Liverpool.

The Egyptian was deemed surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge, which meant only one thing to Jose…the boot.

9. Striker – Hernan Crespo

Yet another victim of Mourinho’s vicious transfer dealings at Chelsea. Hernan Crespo, one of the greatest strikers to walk the planet in the last 20 years, was deemed surplus to requirements upon the arrival of Didier Drogba.

Three loan spells later and Crespo was released from Chelsea – free to join Inter. Inter who incidentally, then signed Mourinho – who ended Crespo’s career with the San Siro outfit as well.

10. Striker – Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Speaking of Inter, how could anyone forget Zlatan Ibrahimovic? Mourinho axed the Swede in exchange for €46m and Samuel Eto’o in the summer of 2009 (which, to be fair, was a brilliant deal at the time).

Perhaps this was a deal that Mourinho was reluctant to make happen, considering he re-signed Zlatan for Manchester United last season – and they’ve both always spoken very fondly of each other.

How romantic.

11. Striker – Raul

Once again, a club legend offloaded by the relentless Jose Mourinho.

After 16 years at the Santiago Bernabeu, The Portuguese boss saw Raul leave the club in 2010, following a long spell on the sidelines through injury.

However, it can also be argued that at this point, Raul’s days at the top level were all but over – but then again, that’s not so fun is it?

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