Inter ‘Still Interested’ in Mesut Ozil as Arsenal Boss Unai Emery Refuses to Rule Out Exit

?Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil has been linked with a possible January move to ambitious Serie A side Inter, after his total omission from the Gunners’ squad for Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup quarter final exit against Tottenham brought about fresh speculation about his future.

Ozil at last signed a new long-term Arsenal contract 11 months ago to make him the club’s highest paid player on reported wages of £350,000-per-week. But the German appears to be out of favour with manager Unai Emery, who prefers a high energy style from his players.

AFC Bournemouth v Arsenal FC - Premier League

Ozil was dropped at the end of August and again in October. He then returned to the team and had a mesmeric performance as captain when Arsenal beat Leicester, but lacklustre outings in the weeks that followed, still as captain, appeared to lose him the trust of Emery.

The 2014 World Cup winner was subsequently left on the bench when the Gunners travelled to Bournemouth last month and then missed three games, including huge clashes against Tottenham and Manchester United after complaining of back trouble.

?Ozil then played just 20 minutes off the bench as a substitute in the recent 3-2 loss against Southampton and was out of the squad altogether for the match against Tottenham.

A report from the Daily Mail notes that Inter are among several clubs ‘still interested’ in Ozil, with the newspaper describing Emery’s decision to drop the German for tactical reasons as the ‘biggest hint yet’ that he is willing to cut Ozil loose.

In a big derby game against Spurs that could have seen Arsenal move a step closer to winning major silverware, Emery felt his highest paid player wasn’t necessary, yet the line-up did include Aaron Ramsey, a player who refused to sign a new contract and will be leaving in summer.

Emery dodged questions about Ozil’s Arsenal future after the game.

“My focus now is analysing this match and also Saturday against Burnley is very important. We are going to assess every player, how they are tomorrow in training and for a difficult match against Burnley on Saturday,” he said, via ?, when asked if Ozil could soon leave.

“I am thinking about the match on Saturday, and not thinking about another situation.”


Radja Nainggolan Urges Inter to Sign Liverpool & Chelsea Transfer Target Nicolò Barella

Inter midfielder Radja Nainggolan has urged his side to sign Cagliari superstar Nicolò Barella as his ‘heir’ at San Siro ahead of the January transfer window.

Italy international Barella has been on the rise in recent years and is often being linked with a move to the Premier League. Liverpool have most notably been linked with making an offer, but Maurizio Sarri’s arrival has seen Chelsea enter the fray for his signature.

AS Roma v Cagliari Calcio - Serie A

Nainggolan doesn’t want to see Inter lose out on the Italian prospect however, and has said that the Nerazzurri could sign Barella as his long-term replacement.

My heir at Inter? In Italy, I really like Barella from Cagliari, bad and clean, angry and with a winning mentality,” Nainggolan told Undici (via TEAMtalk). “I see myself as a youngster in him.”

Barella, who has a €45m price tag, has previously spoken about comparisons between the two midfielders, admitting that he would love to follow in the footsteps of Nainggolan and replicate his success.

I think people say we’re similar because we always give 100 per cent on the field,” Barella said. “I hope to have a career like his but I still have so much to learn to reach those levels.”

The 21-year-old midfielder has already registered 91 appearances across all competitions for his hometown side Cagliari. Barella scored six goals last season, including against Lazio and AC Milan, to help the Rossoblu fight their way out of a relegation battle.

Benevento Calcio v Cagliari Calcio - Serie A

This season, Rolando Maran’s side are only five points above the relegation zone, although a favourable run of games between Christmas and February should give Cagliari enough points to stay afloat for another season.


Wanda Nara Claims Inter Hitman Mauro Icardi Came Close to Joining Rivals Juventus Last Summer

?Mauro Icardi’s wife, and agent, Wanda Nara has revealed that the striker was close to joining Juventus last summer as negotiations over a new deal with Inter continue to roll on. 

The Nerazzurri captain has been in crushing form this season, providing 13 goals and two assists in 19 appearances across all competitions, helping to push Inter into third place in Serie A. 

He has long been linked with a move to the Old Lady as a result of his continued good form, with Nara revealing on Tiki Taka on Italia 1, a show on which she is a regular contributor, that a deal was effectively in place that would have seen Icardi move in opposite directions to Gonzalo Higuain.

“All that is said is not true, there was not yet an offer for Mauro. In the last window of the market he had a foot outside, in Turin, with Juventus paired with Ronaldo,” Nara said, as quoted by Eurosport.

“Exchange with Higuain? Juventus to convince me told me that he would team up with ?[Cristiano] Ronaldo, and It really came in. They told me that Icardi would be the only number 9.”

However, with the Argentine subsequently remaining in Milan despite the considerable money offered by I Bianconeri, new contract negotiations have continued to rumble on at Inter, with contrasting reports from both sides on their status.

Speaking on these talks, Wanda proclaimed: “We are far away, or rather, we are not as close as they say: nobody called me to ask for the renewal, the front page of the Gazzetta dello Sport annoyed me (speaking of signing at the beginning of 2019).

“I am the first to want renewal. It is not a questionnaire of figures, I think Inter can pay for the renewal. What does Higuain take, for example? 

“[I was] contacted in the middle of the Champions League, but my priority was to wait until the end of the group. You saw how much I also cared, so much so that at the end of Inter-PSV I cried. The priority goes to Inter.”

FC Internazionale v Udinese - Serie A

That last line of affirmation is in tune with the one sung by ?Inter’s sporting director Piero Ausilio, though little else was, as the executive sought to dismiss almost all the allegations levelled by Icardi’s agent and spouse.

“I have been very honest, I said how things stand. Icardi received a new contract two years ago and signed it. The most recent proposal was two months ago, he received it and at this moment has not accepted,” Auselio retorted, as quoted by Goal.

“That does not mean we cannot go forward. As far as we are concerned, we want to continue the negotiations and continue working together. Inter and I will only do our talking in the office, in our headquarters, not on social media or on television. Beppe Marotta and I are at their complete disposal.

“As for the claims we wanted to sell them to ?Juven?tus, I respond with a laugh and a no comment. It’s better not to give names to suggestions like that at Christmas time. I can happily say ?Icardi will never go to Juve. You were dragged into this issue by some fairytale comments, but it’s not an issue.”


Diego Simeone Reiterates Desire to Manage Inter Once Atletico Madrid Tenure Ends

?Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has reiterated his desire to manage Inter at some point in his career claiming, ‘it will happen’. 

Simeone, 48, moved to the San Siro in 1996 as a player having left Atletico Madrid, and helped 

the club win the UEFA Cup in 1998, before leaving the following campaign for fellow Serie A side Lazio.

Claudio Villa Archive

Despite enjoying success with Los Rojiblancos during his time as manager, the Argentine has 

talked up his return to ?Inter at some point of his managerial career, although he’s also suggested that he’s in no rush to leave the Wanda Metropolitano. 

Speaking to Italian radio station Radio Anchi’o, as quoted by ?AS, he said: “I think I have been very clear about this, I must have said it 2,000 times, about my return to Inter. There’s no need to say it again. It will definitely happen.

I keep going day-by-day calmly [at Atletico Madrid]; I’ve got a year left on my contract and we’re doing our jobs very well.”

Atletico Madrid v Deportivo Alaves - La Liga Santander

Simeone has won the ?La Liga title, Europa League and reached two Champions League finals since arriving as ?Atletico Madrid manager in December 2011.

Having enjoyed success with his unmistakable brand of pragmatic football, Simeone defended his approach, insisting it’s the players within the squad that determines your style of play. 

He added: “I want to carry on in the same line, the same one that we have been working on for 12 or 13 years. The club gives you your style. 

Every club has a history behind it that we have to respect: Inter, Juventus, Athletic, Barcelona… every club has its own personality. After that it is the players in a squad that guide you towards a certain style. It is the players that carry you towards that, not the coach.”


Europa League Last 32 Draw: Remaining Clubs & UCL Dropouts Learn Fate as Knockouts Begin

?The draw for the last 32 of the 2018/19 Europa League has been made, with the 24 group stage winners and runners-up joined by eight Champions League dropouts as this season’s competition reaches the knockout rounds.

The 12 group winners along with the four best Champions League dropouts were seeded for the draw and were paired with one of the 12 group runners-up or remaining four Champions League sides. Seeds also have the added advantage of playing the second leg of their tie at home.


Country protection was in place, while it was not possible for teams who qualified from the same Europa League group to be drawn against each other.

2018/19 UEFA Europa League Last 32 Draw in Full:

Viktoria Plzen vs Dinamo Zagreb?
?Club Brugge vs Red Bull Salzburg
?Rapid Vienna vs Internazionale
Slavia Prague vs ?Genk
?Krasnodar vs Bayer Leverkusen
?Zurich vs Napoli
?Malmo vs Chelsea
?Shakhtar Donetsk vs Eintracht Frankfurt
Celtic vs ?Valencia
?Rennes vs Real Betis
?Olympiacos vs Dynamo Kyiv
Lazio?? vs Sevilla
Fenerbahce vs Zenit St Petersburg?
??Sporting CP vs Villarreal
?BATE Borisov vs Arsenal
?Galatasaray vs Benfica

First legs will be played on Thursday 14th February, with return legs to take place a week later on Thursday 21st February. The draw for the Last 16 will then follow on 22nd February.