Conte set for face-to-face talks with Inter chief Zhang

By Sports Desk May 15, 2021

Antonio Conte will meet Inter chairman Steven Zhang "as soon as possible" as the Scudetto winners look to keep the coach at San Siro, it was revealed on Saturday.

Worries over Inter's financial stability have been raised in recent weeks, with the Serie A champions not immune from the money worries that have blighted clubs globally during the COVID-19 crisis.

The club have asked players to accept a pay cut as part of a cost-cutting exercise, while the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez have been linked with moves away.

Giuseppe Marotta, CEO for the sporting side of the club, recently insisted all existing contracts will be respected by Inter should the players reject the club's request.

But amid such talk there is also concern about whether Conte sees his future with the Nerazzurri, and Marotta hopes the planned talks with Zhang prove beneficial.

"He is a winner and he has shown it here too," Marotta said of Conte.

"Coaches like this are very ambitious and his cycle has started very well and he will want to improve it."

Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, Marotta said: "As soon as possible there will be a meeting with the president, I hope we can continue."

Marotta was interviewed on the evening Inter lost 3-2 to Juventus, the club at which he and Conte first worked together.

Should Conte seek to leave Inter, where his contract runs to the end of next season, there would likely be several clubs interested in recruiting the 51-year-old.

He was linked in Spanish media on Saturday as a possible successor to Zinedine Zidane, whose time at Real Madrid looks to be coming to an end, although Raul is said to be a favourite for that position, should it come up.

Conte did not hold a news conference before the recent game against Roma, nor ahead of the Juventus clash, with Inter instead putting out match-focused comments from the coach on their website and club television station.

That meant Conte avoided being asked any uncomfortable questions by journalists about his or the club's future.

Assistant coach Cristian Stellini handled media duties following the Juventus game and was asked about Conte's well-being, saying: "He's in a calm frame of mind."

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    ROUND-UP

    - Goal claims that Barcelona are working on a plan to raise €100million (£83m) in funds to lure Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland to the Catalan club. The Blaugrana are determined to win the race to sign Haaland despite interest from wealthy giants Real MadridManchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

    - Bayern Munich's 32-year-old forward Thomas Muller has drawn interest from Newcastle United and Everton as he approaches the final year of his contract, claims Sport Bild.

    - L'Equipe claims that Bruno Guimaraes had told Lyon he wants to join Newcastle after the Magpies tabled a bid.

    - The Sun reports that Manchester United have put their search for a new manager on hold as they consider whether to make Ralf Rangnick's stay permanent.

    - Staying at United, numerous reports in England suggest Jesse Lingard is angry with the club as their demands have put off Newcastle's attempt to sign the player on loan.

    - Ousmane Dembele wants to stay at Barcelona after all, according to Sport. The France international's representatives met with Barca boss Xavi this week.

    - Tottenham's Tanguy Ndombele is set to join Valencia on loan, reports Telefoot.

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