Picking the Best Potential Inter Lineup to Face Crotone on Saturday

?The visit of Crotone on Saturday offers Inter the chance to break their nine game winless streak, in an attempt to curtail their traditional mid-season woes. Having typically started out strong in the title race, they now sit in fourth, and face a battle to maintain their UEFA Champions League place.

In those nine games, the Nerazzurri have only managed four goals, a problem they’ve had all season. This is exemplified by the fact that, behind their talismanic striker Mauro Icardi, their joint-third highest goalscorer is centre-back Milan Skriniar, with three.

With a full-strength squad, and some key new additions, here is the best possible Inter lineup:

Torhüter

  • Handanovic

    Handanovic1

The veteran Slovenian custodian, now 33, has been Inter’s number one since 2012, and that won’t change this Saturday. ?

Verteidigung

  • João Cancelo

    João Cancelo7

  • Škriniar

    Škriniar37

  • Miranda

    Miranda25

  • D'Ambrosio

    D’Ambrosio33

As opposed to their woes offensively, Inter have been relatively sound defensively all season, conceding the third lowest amount of goals in Serie A.

The previously mentioned third highest goalscorer Milan Skriniar has been somewhat of a revelation, and his stock continues to rise despite the troubles surrounding him.

Elsewhere, veteran Brazilian Miranda will retain his position alongside the Serbian, with Danilo D’Ambrosio and Joao Cancelo making up the back four.

Mittelfeld

  • Rafinha

    Rafinha8

  • Valero

    Valero20

  • Vecino

    Vecino6

Inter’s high profile acquisition of Barcelona’s Rafinha, brother of Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara, ?during the January transfer window was a response to their goalscoring deficiency, and they’ll be hoping he can hit the ground running with a score at San Siro this Saturday in his home debut.

Both of last summer’s additions from Fiorentina, in Borja Valero and Matias Vecino, will look to start alongside the 24-year-old Brazilian.

Sturm

  • Candreva

    Candreva87

  • Icardi

    Icardi9

  • Perisic

    Perisic44

?Despite an admirable record of 18 goals in 22 Serie A appearances, Mauro Icardi has only collected one of those scores in his last five games, a veritable drought for the consistently prolific 24-year-old. 

Either side of him will be Antonio Candreva and Ivan Perisic, both looking to wrestle back some of the form that saw them heavily linked with Chelsea and Manchester United last summer.

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Report Claims Inter Have Beaten Real Madrid, Atletico & Bayern to Signature of Argentinian Wonderkid

?Inter Milan have won the race ahead of three fellow European superpowers for young Argentine striker Lautaro Martinez, with the player expected to make the switch in the summer, according to reports. 

The 20-year-old had been closely monitored by Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid, with the latter previously submitting a bid of around €12m (£10.5m) in order to secure the highly thought of talisman’s services. 

However, according to ?AS, the Serie A side have pipped their continent rivals to the youngster after activating his €18m (£15.8m) release clause, with the deal expected to be tied up in June. 

It is thought that Inter prospered from their relationships with Racing Club, where Martinez currently plays, manager Diego Milito, who is still a favourite amongst the San Siro hierarchy following his five-year spell with the Italian side from 2009-2014.

The report claims that Nerazzurri are keen to bolster their attacking line up this summer ahead of the apparent imminent sale of their star-striker Mauro Icardi, who has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid. 

There were hushed whispers that Florentino Perez and Zinedine Zidane were keen to land the 24-year-old on deadline day following their struggles to find the back of the net in La Liga so far this term, however no such move materialised. 

It is thought, however, that Los Blancos will return to their interest following the conclusion of this season, with a figure in the region of €100m (£87.8m) reportedly required in order to prise the Argentine away from Inter. 

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Inter vs Crotone Preview: Classic Encounter, Key Battle, Team News & More

?With the annual Inter wintercollapse in full swing – their current run totals nine games without a victory – the proposition of 17th placed Crotone visiting the San Siro on Saturday should offer some hope of curtailing their torrid form.

However, Inter’s fans will still be wary of the Calabrian side, considering the acrimonious ?draw with 18th placed SPAL last weekend.

Indeed, Crotone’s recent record of seven points from their last six games in the league is significantly better than the Nerazzurri’s return in the same period, a miserly four.


Classic Encounter

With Crotone promoted to Serie A for the first time in their history in the 2016/17 season, the pair have only squared off against each other three times.

FC Crotone v FC Internazionale - Serie A

Undoubtedly the standout fixture within these three fixtures was Crotone’s infamous 2-1 victory over the Milan side at the back end of last season, perhaps second only to the 3-1 defeat of Lazio on the last day of the season – which kept them up – in terms of the club’s most cherished wins.

In a must win game for the Calabrians then fleeting chances of survival, Crotone produced a masterful display at the Ezio Scida stadium to topple Stefano Piolo’s side. 

I Rossoblu got off to a flying start, with Diego Falcinelli scoring both goals in quick succession. The first, on the 18th minute, was a cooly slotted penalty that proved to powerful for Handanovic, who went the right way.

FC Crotone v FC Internazionale - Serie A

The second, only four minutes later, was a sumptuous dink over the Slovakian keeper, following an incisive counter attack. 

Inter did manage to get one goal back, with D’Ambrosio heading in from a corner in the 65th minute, but it was to no avail, as the Crotone players held out for the victory, and a deserved place in the club’s history books.


Key Battles

Mauro Icardi vs Alex Cordaz

Inter’s tometic striker, and club captain, has been on a veritable goaldrought in recent times, considering the lofty standards he has consistently set himself over the last few seasons.

With one score in his last five appearances in Serie A, the Argentinian will be hoping to add to the 18 he’s already collected in the league, although he’ll face stiff opposition in the form of Crotone keeper, and captain, Alex Cordaz.

The 35 year old is an equally talismanic figure at his club, and if he was to accrue his fifth clean sheet of the season at San Siro, it would surely be one of his most impressive.

Rafinha vs Rolando Mandragora

With new loanee signing Rafinha recently arriving from Barcelona, the Brazilian will be looking to make his home debut for the club, after coming on in the 90th minute in last weekend’s draw with SPAL.

Inter will be hoping the 24-year-old can come in and hit the ground running, with increased goals and productivity from the midfield the reason he has been brought in.

Attempting to check Rafinha’s influence on proceedings will be Crotone’s defensive midfielder Rolando Mandragora. The coveted 20 year old, who is on loan from Juventus, will have to impose himself well if he is to stop the Brazilian’s considerable threat. 


Team News

Inter currently have a full strength side, with only Marcelo Brozovic teetering on the edge of possible suspension, with one more yellow card needed to sideline the Croatian.

Crotone are also tantalisingly close to an injury free squad, with centre-forward Marco Tumminello their only absentee, after rupturing his cruciate ligament back in September. He is expected to return in March. 


Potential Inter Starting Lineup: Handanovic;D’Ambrosio, Miranda, Skriniar, Cancelo; Rafinha, Valero, Vecino; Perisic, Icardi, Candreva

Potential Crotone Starting Lineup:

Cordaz; Martella, Capuano, Ceccherini, Sampirisi; Barberis, Mandragora, Benali; Ricci, Budimir, Stoian


Prediction

While it’s fair to say Inter have struggled to score goals this season, with centre-back Milan Skriniar their third highest scorer with three, that’s nothing compared with Crotone’s troubles in finding the net.

The Calabrians have registered just 17 goals in 22 games, with striker Budimir their top scorer with a meagre five. This disparity, as well as the sheer necessity for an Inter victory, should result in all three points going the way of the Nerazzurri. 

Prediction: Inter 2-0 Crotone

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Report Claims Inter Made Shock Deadline Day Loan Move for Chelsea’s Danny Drinkwater

?As the January transfer window has closed for another year, details have started to emerge of the deals that nearly happened. 

One such deal that was apparently on the table but never went through involved a loan move to Italy for Chelsea’s Danny Drinkwater. 

There was a lot of speculation surrounding Inter midfielder Marcelo Brozovic. The Croatian midfielder was reportedly the subject of interest of Arsenal and Everton. The Toffees even reportedly considered a swap deal for Brozovic which would have involved Morgan Schneiderlin going the other way. 

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-CAGLIARI-INTER MILAN

However, La Liga side ?Sevilla emerged as the favourites to sign Brozovic after a loan deal had reportedly been agreed between the two clubs. Had that deal gone through, Inter’s replacement of choice was apparently Chelsea’s Danny Drinkwater.

According to Corriere dello Sport (via ?SportWitness) Inter apparently held talks with Drinkwater himself over a proposed loan move, who only moved to Chelsea last summer. 

This approach is thought to be only for a loan considering the current financial constraints Inter find themselves under.

FBL-ENG-FACUP-CHELSEA-NORWICH

No such deal for Drinkwater ever materialised, and now rumours suggest that Inter have blocked Sevilla’s approach for Brozovic. 

Drinkwater signed for the Blues on the deadline day of the summer transfer window in a £35m move from Leicester City. While injury kept him out at the start of the season, he is yet to cement himself as a starter under Antonio Conte. 

The 27-year-old Englishman has managed only ten appearances in the Premier League this season, with just three of those being starts.


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8 January Transfer Deals From Around Europe That May Have Gone Under the Radar

This season’s January transfer window did not disappoint as the Gods of football once again ?produced some tasty transfer deals to stir up the ongoing drama this campaign.

Deals for the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Philippe Coutinho, Alexis Sanchez and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang understandably stole this month’s headlines in the ?Premier League.

But what was going on elsewhere on the continent? Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting deals from Europe’s other top leagues that you may have missed.

8. Sandro Wagner

From: TSG 1899 Hoffenheim

To: FC Bayern Munich

Fee: €12m

Germany forward Sandro Wagner came full circle upon the completion of his return to boyhood club ?Bayern, as the striker re-signed for the club who had let him go a decade earlier. 

Wagner made four Bundesliga appearances for the Bavarians during the 2007/08 season, before stints at MSV Duisburg, Werder Bremen, 1. FC Kaiserslautern, Hertha Berlin, Darmstadt 98 and finally 1899 Hoffenheim – where Wagner earned a place in Germany’s national side.

His goalscoring antics triggered former employers Bayern to make a move to secure their former youth teamer as backup to Robert Lewandowski.

7. Lassana Diarra

From: Free Agent

To: Paris Saint-Germain

Fee: Free Transfer

Perhaps one of the stranger January deals involves Ligue 1 heavyweights PSG swooping for former Chelsea, Arsenal, Portsmouth and Real Madrid midfield anchor Lassana Diarra. 

The 32-year-old was unattached following the termination of his contract with UAE Pro-League club Al Jazira, prompting Unai Emery to secure the services of the well-travelled Frenchman on a free transfer, with FFP regulations looming over the French capital.

6. Rafinha

From: Barcelona

To: Inter 

Fee: Loan

Brazilian Rafinha finally ended his seven-year stint in Catalonia with a move to Italian giants Inter. 

The playmaker had long been linked with a move away from Barça having found consistent game time hard to come by at the Nou Camp, with the likes of ?Arsenal and ?Liverpool reportedly showing an interest. 

Inter, however, won the race for his signature in a deal which involves a €35m option to buy the player permanently at the end of the season.

5. Iñigo Martinez

From: Real Sociedad

To: Athletic Bilbao

Fee: €32m

Without doubt the window’s most controversial move saw Real Sociedad stalwart I?igo Martinez cross the Basque-divide to sign for bitter rivals Athletic Club. 

Athletic triggered the central defender’s €32m release clause following ?the sale of Aymeric Laporte to ?Manchester City sparking outrange among Sociedad fans who have highlighted the hypocrisy of the move with Martinez previously stating on record that he would never sign for a rival.

Real Sociedad have even offered change shirts with Martinez’s named printed on the back for free to irate fans.

4. Pietro Pellegri

From: Genoa

To: Monaco

Fee: €25m

Monaco won the hotly anticipated race for the signature of Italian wonderkid Pietro Pellegri ahead of Italian champions Juventus

The 16-year-old had been the subject of interest from a host of Europe’s top clubs – including Arsenal – before a January tussle ensued between Monaco and ?the Old Lady.

The Ligue 1 holders eventually secured a deal for Pellegri with one eye on the future, splashing €25m on the teenage star who has just 10 first team appearances to his name thus far in his career.

3. Marc Bartra

From: Borussia Dortmund

To: Real Betis

Fee: Undisclosed

Spanish central defender Marc Bartra made a return to his homeland after sealing a deal with La Liga side Real Betis. 

As a graduate of the famous La Masia, Bartra appeared 59 times in Spain’s top flight for ?Barcelona between 2010 and 2016 before switching to the Bundesliga with a move to ?Dortmund

After just one full season in Germany, Bartra now clearly sees his long-term future in Spain with Betis having signed a five-and-a-half year deal at the Estadio Benito Villamarín.

2. Robin van Persie

From: Fenerbahçe

To: Feyenoord

Fee: Free Transfer

Former Arsenal and ?Manchester United forward RVP made an emotional return to where it all began for him as a professional; re-signing for Dutch champions Feyenoord. 

The 34-year-old agreed to terminate his contract with Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahçe in order to secure a return to his former club where he previously bagged 22 goals as a teenager between 2001 and 2004.

1. Vitolo

From: Las Palmas

To: Atletico Madrid

Fee: Expiration of Loan

And finally, a deal which had already been agreed during the summer window eventually came into fruition last month. ?

Atletico‘s capture of Vitolo from Sevilla in July had to be put on hold until the new year due to the club’s transfer ban, meaning the winger was sent out on loan to former club Las Palmas for the opening half of the season. 

Vitolo has appeared on nine occasions in La Liga so far this season – scoring once – and will now be looking forward to the belated beginning of his career in the Spanish capital with Atléti.

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