Joao Mario Insists Inter ‘Want to Win From the Start’ as New Serie A Campaign Beckons

?With Internazionale’s league campaign kicking off against Fiorentina at San Siro on Sunday night, midfielder Joao Mario has admitted that preparations are now getting serious as his side gear up for the start of their new campaign. 

Inter have hit the transfer window to bolster their squad this summer in order to improve on their seventh place in the Serie A last season, and after an impressive pre-season as a team Mario is confident that they can get off to a winning start under new manager Luciano Spalletti.

Entering his second season with the club, the Portuguese midfielder told the club’s website ahead of the new campaign: “The season is starting and we have to put into practice what we have been preparing in these past weeks.

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“I want to continue doing well. It’s a nice difference to be involved with all of the preparation, I’ve worked with the team and I’m at 100 per cent.

“It’s a match with lots of subplots but what matters is winning and we want to do well in our first league match at San Siro. 

“We have to show to the fans what we are capable of and who we are, so we can give them the first three points.”

With no European football this season, Inter will be able to put all their effort and concentration in their league campaign, as well as looking to mount a challenge for the Coppa Italia – a competition they have failed to win since 2011. 

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Scouting Report: 7 New Serie A Additions Worth Keeping an Eye on This Season

Serie A has had one of the busiest transfer windows in its recent history, with many predicting that this could be the most competitive season in many years – with both Milan clubs looking especially strong.

2017/18 will also be the last season only the top three clubs will gain Champions League football, and as from the 2018/19 season, the top four clubs will gain a place in Europe’s elite competition. 

Serie A will commence this weekend and here are a look at seven new additions to Italy’s top flight that will be worth keeping an eye on this season

1. Douglas Costa – Juventus

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Perhaps the most exciting new addition to Italy’s top flight this season is Brazilian winger Douglas Costa. 

The reigning Serie A champions Juventus have signed Costa initially on loan from Bayern Munich with the option of making the transfer permanent for €40m at the end of the season.

Costa will bring flair and skill to last season’s Champion League finalists in their quest to win a seventh straight Serie A title.

2. Andre Silva – AC Milan

AC Milan v CSU Craiova - UEFA Europa League Third Qualifying Round: Second Leg

Andre Silva arrives at the San Siro with much expected of the 21 year-old, AC Milan splashed out €38m on the Portuguese international and handed him the number nine shirt upon his arrival. 

Silva scored 16 goals in 32 league appearances for Porto last season and has eight international goals from 13 caps for Portugal. Although Silva is seen as a long-term investment, he will be expected to hit the ground running for a new-look Milan side this season.

3. Ricardo Rodriguez – AC Milan

AC Milan v CSU Craiova - UEFA Europa League Third Qualifying Round: Second Leg

Ricardo Rodriguez joins AC Milan for a fee of €17m following a five-year spell in the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg.

The technically gifted left-back has 43 senior caps for Switzerland and played every minute for his nation in their Euro 2016 campaign.

Rodriguez will wear the number 68 shirt at AC Milan – which he chose because of his mother’s birth year.

4. Lucas Leiva – Lazio

SS Lazio v SPAL - Pre-Season Friendly

Following a decade in England at Liverpool, Lucas has swapped the Premier League for Serie A, having joined Lazio this summer for a fee of £5m. 

Lucas, who has 27 caps for Brazil, will bring a wealth of experience to Lazio, as they look to challenge for a Champions League spot this season.

The 30-year-old will be deployed in a defensive midfield role as a direct replacement for another Lucas – Biglia – who Lazio sold to AC Milan earlier this summer.

5. Jordan Veretout – Fiorentina

Sporting CP v Fiorentina - Pre-Season Friendly

Fiorentinan signed Jordan Veretout from Aston Villa for a fee of €7m on a four-year contract this summer. 

Veretout spent last season on loan at Ligue 1 side St Etienne and following an impressive spell was snapped up by the Serie A side.

Veretout is a former France Under-21 international and at the age of 24, the box-to-box midfielder will still harbour hopes of a senior call up.

6. Salvatore Sirigu – Torino

Italy v Republic of Ireland - Group E: UEFA Euro 2016

Salvatore Sirigu is the only man on this list that has previous Serie A experience, having played for Palermo between 2006 and 2011.

Within his five seasons in the French capital with Paris Saint-Germain, Sirigu made 145 appearances and won four Ligue 1 titles with the club, before being sent on loan to Sevilla last season.

Sirigu is now back in Serie A with Torino as a replacement for England goalkeeper Joe Hart, who spent last season on loan in Turin.

7. Hakan Calhanoglu – AC Milan

AC Milan v Borussia Dortmund - 2017 International Champions Cup China

Calhanoglu is another new signing for AC Milan as the Turkish international joins from Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen following a three year spell at the club where he scored 17 League goals in 79 Bundesliga appearances. 

In February 2017 Calhanoglu was banned by FIFA from playing for a duration of four months due to a breach of contract relating to his time at German side Karlsruhe. Calhanoglu, who has been given Milan’s number 10 shirt, will be looking to make up for lost time as he kick starts his career in Serie A.

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West Ham Set to Continue Spending via Ambitious Swoop for Man City Outcast

?West Ham boss Slaven Bilic is set to make a summer swoop for Manchester City defender Elaquim Mangala.

The Croat is keen to bolster his sides backline following their opening day drubbing to Manchester United and sees Mangala as the perfect man to fill the void.

?ESPN have reported that the France International is being targeted by the Hammers, who are set to be rivalled by Inter to complete a loan deal.

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The 26-year-old joined City in 2014 after an impressive spell at Porto for a fee of £31m but struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League making a number of high profile errors.

Despite featuring 64 times in all competitions, Mangala found himself out of new manager Pep Guardiola’s plans at the start of last season and was allowed to join La Liga outfit Valencia on loan.

After featuring 34 times for Valencia, it led to a return to form for the centre back showing why City chose to part with the cash they did for the former France U21 captain.

Manchester City v West Ham United - Pre Season Friendly

He returned to Manchester in June hoping to force himself in Guardiola’s plans for this season, and was an unused substitute in Saturday’s win over newcomers Brighton.


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However, big money arrivals of Kyle Walker, Danilo and Benjamin Mendy coupled with the return to full fitness of captain Vincent Kompany means Mangala isn’t part of the Spaniards plans and looks set on a move to London or Milan.??

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Valencia Ready to Swap Promising Defender in Order to Land Inter Star in 2-Way Loan Deal

?Valencia and their young Portuguese right-back Joao Cancelo have agreed to an exchange of loans with Inter midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia, according to Sky Sport Italia.

Negotiations are reported to be ongoing, with the main sticking point being the cost of the options to buy for the two players.

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Cancelo has been heavily linked with a move away from Valencia since the signing of Montoya earlier in the summer, as he wants to ensure regular football.

Premier League clubs such as Chelsea and Tottenham are said to have been amongst Cancelo’s potential suitors, but Valencia are prepared to turn down a €30m offer from Spurs to ensure that they land Kondogbia.

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The midfielder, who has also been a target of Spurs, as well as Liverpool, is back in training with Inter, albeit separately from the main group. The Frenchman made 24 appearances in the league last season.

The two clubs have already agreed a €13m deal for Inter’s Colombian centre-back Jeison Murillo to join Valencia, though the move is currently being put on hold by Inter boss Luciano Spalletti until he can find a suitable replacement.

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His side begin their Serie A campaign against Fiorentina this weekend, but face a severe shortage of central defenders.

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Anthony Martial Warned Off Move to Serie A by France World Cup Winner Emmanuel Petit

?Anthony Martial has seen chances limited at Manchester United since Jose Mourinho took over, but the Frenchman has been told to remain patient with the Red Devils – despite interest from Inter Milan – by compatriot Emmanuel Petit.

Petit, a former midfielder who represented both Chelsea and Arsenal in England, was part of the France team that won the World Cup in 1998. And like Martial, he played for AS Monaco before moving to the Premier League.

Petit is of the opinion that there’s too much uncertainty over Inter at the moment, and Martial would be much better off staying at Old Trafford.

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“Manchester United, they are building a team to play for the title this year,” Petit said to SFR Sport (via ?Goal).

“They will play the Champions League, he [Martial] will have playing time and the competitions will be long until the end of the year.

“So going to Inter which is under reconstruction, there are a lot of uncertainties at this level there. It’s a risk to take but I think he has the qualities to claim to play more at Manchester United.

“Whether it is on the left side or even in the centre, he has already shown that he has the instinct of a scorer.”

Martial came off the bench to score against West Ham on Sunday, helping United to a 4-0 victory over Slaven Bilic’s side, notching an assist as well.

New signing Romelu Lukaku registered a brace in his Premier League debut, while Paul Pogba also got on the score-sheet for the Red Devils, who are now huge favourites to win the title next year.


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