Niko Kovac is confident Ivan Perisic will make a positive impact after joining Bayern Munich on loan from Inter, despite him being the club's "second choice".

Bayern made no secret of their desire to buy Leroy Sane from Manchester City, but the Germany winger - now sidelined for up to seven months with a knee injury - stayed with the Premier League champions.

With Chelsea's teenage England international Callum Hudson-Odoi reportedly set to sign a new contract at Stamford Bridge, Bayern were forced to move down their list of transfer targets.

They turned to Kovac's fellow Croatian Perisic, the former Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg winger who found himself surplus to requirements at Inter following the appointment of Antonio Conte as the club's new head coach.

Perisic will spend the 2019-20 season on loan at the Allianz Arena, with the deal including a purchase option, but some fans have expressed anger at what they consider to be an unimaginative signing.

Kovac, though, thinks his own first term at Bayern shows Perisic could be a shrewd addition.

"I was also the second choice [for Bayern] and we won the double, so… It's like this: we made this choice all together," Kovac told a news conference on Wednesday. 

"We analysed and spoke about a lot of names. He [Perisic] was already on the list. I brought him up back then, because I know Ivan, I know what he's capable of, I know what kind of skills he has, and we all know what he's achieved in Germany.

"Personally, I have a good connection to [Perisic's former coach] Dieter Hecking, who told me many things from his time in Wolfsburg. And from the national team, I know his status in Croatia.

"He's one of the top three players in our national team and as you know, the best player in the world is Croatian [Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric]. So, Ivan is certainly a top player and I'm happy to have him."

Perisic faces the daunting task of succeeding Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, both of whom departed the Bundesliga champions at the end of last season after trophy-laden spells in Munich.

"He's very skilled, he's good with both feet, he's very aggressive, has a strong header and is a team player," Kovac added of the versatile forward.

"That's why we reacted immediately, even though we had him on our list before. I'm glad he's here and I'm sure he'll give us exactly what we need on the wings - that kind of drive that we need for our play."

Perisic is unavailable for the opening Bundesliga game of the season against Hertha Berlin on Friday due to serving a suspension that carries over from last season.

"I wish it weren't the case," said Kovac of the ban. "But you have to accept the suspension, even though it doesn't exist in this form in Germany. But if that's the case, we accept it!"

Ivan Perisic had no doubts about joining Bayern Munich once the Bundesliga champions came calling, even if he was not their first-choice target.

Perisic signed for Bayern on Tuesday, arriving on an initial one-season loan from Inter, with an option to buy.

Bayern had looked set to make a move for Leroy Sane throughout the transfer window, but any possibility of signing the Manchester City winger was ended when the 23-year-old sustained knee ligament damage in the Community Shield clash with Liverpool on August 4.

The move for Perisic was made swiftly, though not all Bayern fans have been pleased by the transfer, with coach Niko Kovac hitting out at suggestions the Croatia forward was not of the standard required.

Although Perisic acknowledged he was not Bayern's primary candidate, the former Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg man insisted it was a simple decision to move back to the Bundesliga.

"It happened really quickly. Everybody knows what happened [with Sane], and I hope he recovers well and quickly," Perisic told a news conference ahead of Bayern's opening Bundesliga fixture on Friday.

"But when they called me, I took only a few hours to take my decision with my family. When a club like Bayern call, you cannot say no.

"That's the reason I’m here. I want to do the best here every day, each game and I hope it's going to be a successful year."

Perisic will have to compete with Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry and youngster Alphonso Davies for a spot in Kovac's side, though at 30, he adds some more experience to Bayern's attack following the departures of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery.

"I'm coming here to be part of the team, and to play. There are a lot of games, and at this level you cannot play all the games," Perisic said.

"We need everybody, at least 17, 18 players if you want to be on top. You know during the season there's going to be injuries, so we'll need everybody."

Perisic scored eight Serie A goals for Inter, who he joined in 2015, last term, though believes his form was hindered due to a lack of rest following Croatia's run to the World Cup final.

"The last year was a really difficult one after the final. I had not even 20 days for recovery," he added.

"When I returned to Inter I was back in the side for the first game of Serie A. That was the reason the season was many ups and many downs.

"When you look at all the players who played in the final, you will see maybe one or two that had a really good season.

"But this season I had a really good pre-season with Inter, with the new coach [Antonio] Conte he is a really hard worker, and it's going to help me a lot here."

Bayern Munich have signed Ivan Perisic on a season-long loan from Inter, with an option to make the deal permanent next year.

The 30-year-old joined Inter in 2015 and has been a regular starter during his four years at San Siro, scoring eight goals in Serie A last term.

He will provide competition to Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman at the Allianz Arena and could be included in Bayern's opening league game against Hertha Berlin on Friday.

Head coach Niko Kovac has been in the market for at least one new wide forward following the departures of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben at the end of the 2018-19 campaign.

Bayern's hopes of signing Manchester City's Leroy Sane in this transfer window were effectively scuppered last week following the news he will be out for six to seven months after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury to his right knee.

Perisic has previously played in the Bundesliga, initially for Borussia Dortmund before joining Wolfsburg midway through the 2012-13 season.

He has made 82 appearances for Croatia and starred at the 2018 World Cup, scoring in the semi-final against England and in the final defeat to France.

"I am very happy to be back in Germany," Perisic told Bayern's official website. 

"Bayern is one of the biggest clubs in Europe. We want to attack not only in the Bundesliga and in the DFB-Pokal, but also in the Champions League."

Bayern's sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic added: "Ivan will help us with his many years of experience at an international top level immediately. 

"He is technically strong and flexible in attack. I'm sure Ivan will integrate quickly as he already knows the Bundesliga and our coach Niko Kovac well."

Bayern Munich have signed Ivan Perisic on a season-long loan from Inter, with an option to make the deal permanent next year.

 

Niko Kovac revealed Ivan Perisic is poised to join Bayern Munich after undergoing a medical with the Bundesliga champions.

Perisic has been linked with a move away from Serie A side Inter following Antonio Conte's arrival and the Croatia international had a medical in Munich on Monday.

The former Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg winger is expected to join Bayern on an initial season-long loan deal, which reportedly includes the option to make the move permanent.

Asked about Perisic, Bayern head coach Kovac told reporters following Monday's 3-1 win over Energie Cottbus in the DFB-Pokal: "He [Ivan Perisic] was at the medical check today. And if all this goes well and the last papers are sent back and forth [with Inter], then he will become one of our players."

Kovac has been on the lookout for reinforcements in the wide areas following the departures of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben at the end of 2018-19.

Bayern were hoping to sign Germany international Leroy Sane before the Manchester City star suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

"Regardless of our transfers, there are other clubs that buy players. And I don't like the way these [players] are handled to some extent when you put them in the second or third category," Kovac said.

"We should respect each of them. That's what we stand for and that's what I stand for. And that's what I expect from everyone else. Because it's always easy to criticise someone.

"First you don't get this player, then you don't get the other, and then you have an X, Y or Z solution. I don't think that's nice. That's my personal opinion. Maybe some people share this opinion with me."

Kovac was speaking after defending champions Bayern beat fourth-tier side Energie thanks to goals from Robert Lewandowski, Kingsley Coman and Leon Goretzka.

"My team did a good job," Kovac said. "We could have retained possession a bit more in the second half but taken altogether I'm satisfied. Energie gave it everything, it was a great spectacle.

"We dominated possession. strangled our opponents but had to watch out for counters again and again. The final pass in the last third must be more precise. We could have done better."

Ivan Perisic looks set to complete a move to Bayern Munich after undergoing a medical with the Bundesliga champions.

The 30-year-old has long been linked with a move away from Serie A side Inter and is expected to join Bayern on an initial season-long loan move, with an option to make the deal permanent next year.

Perisic was pictured leaving a hospital in Munich on Monday and told Bild: "Yeah, I just had the medical check-up."

Niko Kovac has been in the market for at least one new wide forward following the departures of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben at the end of the 2018-19 campaign.

The Bavarian giants' hopes of signing Manchester City's Leroy Sane were scuppered last week following the news he will be out for six or seven months after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

Perisic will provide competition to Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman and could join in time to feature in Bayern's opening league game, as they take on Hertha Berlin on Friday.

The Croatia international has previously played in the Bundesliga, initially for Borussia Dortmund before joining Wolfsburg midway through the 2012-13 season.

He signed for Inter in 2015 and has been a regular starter during his four years at San Siro, scoring eight goals in Serie A during 2018-19.

Neymar may be close to securing his return to Barcelona after all.

After leaving Barca for a world-record fee in 2017, Neymar has made it clear he wants out of Paris Saint-Germain and re-joining the LaLiga champions has emerged as an option.

While Real Madrid have been linked, Neymar could be granted a Camp Nou comeback.

 

TOP STORY – PSG EYE COUTINHO IN NEYMAR TRANSFER

Paris Saint-Germain would accept Philippe Coutinho in a deal that would send Neymar back to Barcelona, reports RMC Sport.

Neymar sat out Sunday's 3-0 Ligue 1 victory over Nimes amid links to Barca and LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

Talks between PSG and Barca have hit an impasse as the French champions look to recoup most of the €222million they invested in Neymar two years ago.

Barca have already invested heavily in the transfer market, however, talks between the two clubs have accelerated thanks to the possible inclusion of Coutinho and cash. At the other end of the spectrum, Sport says talks have stalled as PSG demand three players in addition to a fee.

 

ROUND-UP 

- Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is top of Inter's wish list before the transfer window shuts in Europe. Tuttosport claims Mauro Icardi's possible exit to either Juventus or Napoli would finance a deal for the Serbia international, who was tipped to move to Manchester United if Paul Pogba left for Real Madrid. Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic is also a target for Inter, according to reports in Spain.

- The window may have closed in England, however, The Sun says Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard wants to sign Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell when the club's transfer ban ends.

- Inter winger Ivan Perisic is scheduled to undergo a medical at Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, according to Corriere dello Sport. Former Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg star Perisic is poised to return to Germany via Bayern on a season-long loan deal with the option to buy.

- Tuttosport says Juventus full-back Luca Pellegrini is set to re-join Cagliari on loan. Pellegrini – who spent the second half of last season on loan at Cagliari – only arrived in Turin from Roma in June.

Napoli are poised to sign PSV star Hirving Lozano, according to Calciomercato. The Mexico international's agent Mino Raiola has reportedly travelled to Naples to wrap up a deal.

Barcelona are trying to find a way to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou – without paying a cent.

With Real Madrid reportedly emerging as frontrunners to sign the star forward, Paris Saint-Germain confirmed on Saturday they were in "advanced" talks regarding a deal for the Brazilian.

It remains to be seen as to which of the LaLiga giants Neymar ends up at, but Barcelona are struggling to find a deal, looking to complete one in which they pay with players only.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA DON'T WANT TO PAY EVEN €1 FOR NEYMAR

Barcelona are looking to secure a deal for Neymar that would see them give up only players, according to Marca and Le Parisien.

The French daily reports that kind of deal is "unimaginable" for PSG, who are looking for at least €200million for Neymar – which would see them make a €22m loss.

Meanwhile, AS say PSG and Real Madrid have opened talks regarding a move for Neymar, including the option of a one-year loan deal.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Mauro Icardi no longer wanted at Inter, a possible switch to Napoli has been mooted. Corriere dello Sport say Icardi is willing to make the move to Napoli, who are looking to sign a forward. Icardi has also been linked to Juventus.

- That comes as Napoli seemingly stop their pursuit of Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez. The Serie A club have given up on signing James and will instead focus on PSV forward Hirving Lozano, according to AS.

- David de Gea looked certain to extend his contract at Manchester United just last month. However, the Mirror reports the Premier League club are yet to reach an agreement with the goalkeeper, casting fresh doubt over the Spain international's future at Old Trafford.

- With previous target Leroy Sane suffering a serious knee injury, Bayern Munich are turning their attentions elsewhere as they still look to sign replacements for departed stars Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery. The Bundesliga champions have reached an agreement with Inter to sign Ivan Perisic, according to Corriere dello Sport.

- Radamel Falcao is nearing a Monaco exit. The forward is set to sign a three-year deal worth €6m per season with Galatasaray, according to AS. However, the Ligue 1 club want to sign a replacement before letting Falcao leave, and are expecting to land Wissam Ben Yedder from Sevilla.

- Dani Olmo is expected to make a move from Dinamo Zagreb to one of Europe's biggest clubs during this transfer window. Sportske Novosti report Bayern Munich and Everton offered €28m for the Spain youth international and Manchester United put in a bid of €25m to land Olmo. However, Dinamo Zagreb are hoping Olmo can help them reach the Champions League group stage before selling the 21-year-old.

Arsenal's quiet transfer window seems to be about to spark into life.

Widespread reports on Monday claimed Dani Ceballos is on the verge of joining the Gunners on loan from Real Madrid.

William Saliba could follow him to Emirates Stadium by the end of the week, too.

 

TOP STORY - CEBALLOS BOUND FOR ARSENAL

Arsenal are close to completing the loan signing of Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid.

AS report the midfielder could head to London on Tuesday for a medical, with Marca saying the 21-year-old is excited about the prospect of spending a season under Unai Emery.

Various UK media outlets have also stated Ceballos is not far from finalising a deal, while the BBC's David Ornstein says Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba could follow him to north London before the week is out.

 

ROUND-UP:

- Barcelona are to open talks with Lionel Messi to try to extend his contract beyond 2021, according to ESPN.

Jiangsu Suning have joined Chinese rivals Beijing Guoan in the race for Real Madrid outcast Gareth Bale but must offer wages of £1million per week, reports the Telegraph.

- Fotosport in Turkey say Galatasaray have made an approach to sign Fred on loan from Manchester United.

- Inter are still eager to sign Romelu Lukaku and have offered Manchester United a choice of €78m or €55m plus winger Ivan Perisic, FCInternews.it suggests.

Ademola Lookman is expected to arrive in Germany in the next 36 hours to finalise a transfer from Everton to RB Leipzig, say Sky Sports.

- Marca claim Atletico Madrid would prefer to sign Real Madrid's James Rodriguez than Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen.

- Atletico Madrid are likely to earn a total of €57m when Angel Correa finalises his move to AC Milan, Sky Sport Italia say.

- Corriere dello Sport claim Napoli are pushing to sign Mauro Icardi from Inter, with James Rodriguez poised for Atletico Madrid.

Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri is pushing the Serie A champions to sign Tottenham full-back Danny Rose, according to the Daily Mail.

Antonio Conte says it is his "will and hope" that Inter sign Romelu Lukaku but concedes a potential transfer is out of his hands.

Lukaku missed Manchester United's 1-0 win over Inter on Saturday, just hours after widespread reports that the Red Devils had turned down a £54million bid from the Serie A side for the Belgium international.

Inter look set to sell Mauro Icardi during the close season and Conte has made no secret of his desire to bring Lukaku to San Siro.

Speaking after the defeat to United in Singapore, Conte again revealed his desire to link up with the 26-year-old.

"He is a United player and for this reason we must show great respect for the club, for the player and also for my own players," he told a media conference.

"Lukaku is a player that I like because I consider him a player that could improve our team. On one side is my hope and my will and on the other side we will see what we find with the club."

Conte, meanwhile, has suggested that Ivan Perisic does not fit into the system that he wants to play at Inter.

The Croatia star was introduced as a half-time substitute against United but Conte was not impressed with his contribution, believing it fell short of the standard set by Dalbert on the left flank.

"We are working but the answers are not positive," the Inter boss said of Perisic. "I don't think he is adapting to the role that I asked him to do.

"The only place he can play right now is as a striker. On the other hand, I saw Dalbert applying himself greatly in this match.

"We have to improve so much from all points of view. We have a lot of work to do and we will do it."

One of the most in-demand players this off-season, Matthijs de Ligt's future could be about to come clearer.

A reported target for Barcelona, Manchester United and Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain are right in the mix to lure the Ajax captain to the French capital.

It is set to be a busy couple of weeks for agent Mino Raiola…

 

TOP STORY – PSG JUMP AHEAD IN DE LIGT RACE

According to Gianluca Di Marzio, Ligue 1 holders Paris Saint-Germain are in "advanced talks" for Matthijs de Ligt's signature.

After helping Netherlands reach the Nations League final, De Ligt is believed to be close to swapping Ajax for Paris - where PSG are craving Champions League success.

The report claims a deal could be finalised "shortly" after the looming return of director Leonardo from AC Milan, with LaLiga champions Barcelona the only other team in the mix.

 

ROUND-UP

- Premier League champions Manchester City and their rivals Manchester United could be pipped to the signing of Benfica sensation Joao Felix by Atletico Madrid, according to The Mirror.

- Tuttosport's front page features Mauro Icardi and fellow Argentine star Paulo Dybala. The story claims Juventus are the only team capable of signing Icardi from Serie A rivals Inter following Antonio Conte's arrival, with Dybala reportedly included in the potential deal.

- According to Tuttomercatoweb, Inter winger Ivan Perisic is a target for Premier League side Leicester City. The 30-year-old Croatia international has also been linked to Arsenal and Manchester United.

Napoli are preparing a €50million bid for PSV star Hirving Lozano, La Gazzetta dello Sport reports. The Italian side, who have also been linked to Real Madrid outcast James Rodriguez following a two-year loan spell at Bayern Munich, tracked the Mexico international throughout the 2018-19 campaign.

Tottenham are set to make a new offer for Real Betis and Argentina star Giovani Lo Celso, according to The Mirror. Spurs – who are looking to invest following an unexpected Champions League final berth – reportedly had a £53m bid knocked back for the midfielder.

- According to The Sun, Manchester United target Aaron Wan-Bissaka has asked Crystal Palace to grant him a move to the Red Devils. United – who are also reportedly eyeing Leicester City centre-back Harry Maguire – have already had an offer turned down. Moving further up the field and Sport claims Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have made contact with Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic following their sixth-place finish in the Premier League.

Ivan Perisic scored one goal and made the other as Croatia overcame Wales 2-1 in Euro 2020 qualifying in Osijek on Saturday.

Zlatko Dalic's side had lost their last Group E game against Hungary in March, but got back on track thanks to James Lawrence's first-half own goal and Perisic's 48th-minute strike following some shambolic Welsh defending.

Lawrence was unlucky to put through his own net, failing to sort his feet out when racing back towards goal, and the Anderlecht defender was one of three Wales players whose failure to clear allowed Perisic to increase the hosts' lead.

Substitute David Brooks' deflected effort 13 minutes from time gave Ryan Giggs' men hope of a comeback but they could not force an equaliser as the World Cup finalists held on for victory.

An eventful opening saw Perisic twice blaze over, either side of Harry Wilson volleying an even more presentable chance straight at Dominik Livakovic from Gareth Bale's quick-thinking long throw.

And Wales were made to pay for that miss in the 17th minute as Perisic got in behind down the left and drilled a low cross towards Andrej Kramaric that Lawrence deflected in.

Kramaric fired off-target as Croatia sought a second prior to half-time, although they were almost caught cold as Livakovic saved from Will Vaulks and then thwarted Ben Davies' rebound.

Within three minutes of the restart, Croatia doubled their lead as Wales gave the ball away and failed three times to clear their lines, allowing Perisic to rifle home.

Bale shot straight at Livakovic when well placed but the Croatia goalkeeper was completely wrong-footed when Brooks' attempt flicked off Domagoj Vida's head and in.

Brooks' weak effort in stoppage time proved the last chance for a dramatic leveller, though, as Wales were made to rue leaving themselves a mountain to climb in searing 30-degree heat.

 

What does it mean? Croatia back on course

Dalic's men have picked up home wins either side of that loss to Hungary and are momentarily top of the group. Wales, meanwhile, are back to earth with a bump following their opening win over Slovakia in March.

Perisic proves problematic

The Inter winger was a constant thorn in Wales' side, tormenting right-back Connor Roberts with relentlessly penetrating runs. Whenever Luka Modric picked up the ball in space in midfield, Perisic would set off at a canter, and the Real Madrid maestro would often find him.

Wales contribute to their own downfall

Lawrence's own goal was unfortunate, but the manner of the second – and so soon after half-time – will surely have irked Giggs. Having lost possession just outside their own area, Joe Allen, Lawrence and Roberts all had chances to clear before Perisic pounced.

What's next?

Wales travel to Hungary for their next clash on Tuesday, while Croatia are not in action again until September – a tricky trip to Slovakia.

Could Daniel Levy be about to loosen Tottenham's purse strings?

According to the Mirror, Tottenham are set for a spending spree to ensure manager Mauricio Pochettino does not quit.

Pochettino has been linked to Juventus and Manchester United, and the Argentinian is in a strong position after leading Spurs to their first Champions League final – without signing a player in 2018-19.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS TO SPLASH THE CASH

Show me the money is the message from Pochettino, and chairman Levy is set to listen.

Tottenham have already reportedly had bids rejected for Real Betis star Giovani Lo Celso and in-demand Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele.

After two consecutive windows without spending anything, Spurs are also eyeing Fulham sensation Ryan Sessegnon and Celta Vigo striker Maxi Gomez, according to reports.

With the new stadium built and finally occupied, Pochettino may now have a substantial transfer kitty to preserve Tottenham's position in the Premier League top four.

 

ROUND-UP

- Inter boss Antonio Conte could be about to finally link up with Romelu Lukaku. After Conte saw Lukaku snub Chelsea for Manchester United in 2017, the Belgium striker is prepared to take a pay cut to join Inter, according to Sport Mediaset. The €70million transfer fee is reportedly a sticking point, with the Serie A side willing to offer Ivan Perisic as part of a potential deal.

- Real Madrid will not have it easy when it comes to their pursuit of Christian Eriksen. Per AS, Florentino Perez and Levy met prior to the Champions League final with Eriksen believed to be on the agenda. The Tottenham midfielder is a target for Madrid, who are looking to overhaul their squad with Chelsea's Eden Hazard and Manchester United star Paul Pogba. Madrid's interest in Pogba could see the Spanish giants offer Gareth Bale as part of a swap, according to The Times.

- LaLiga champions Barcelona are apparently nearing a transfer for Valencia forward Rodrigo Moreno. Sport say Barca are in negotiations to sign the 28-year-old, who has a €120million release clause.

- According to Tuttosport, Maurizio Sarri will have a decisive meeting with Juventus on Wednesday. The Chelsea coach is reportedly poised to succeed Massimiliano Allegri and a potential switch to Turin could see the Italian champions raid his former club Napoli for star defender Kalidou Koulibaly. Juve have also been linked with an €85m bid for Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt.

- It looks like Manchester United will have to spend big to prise Manchester City target Joao Felix from Benfica. The Portuguese champions are demanding more than £100m, according to Correio da Manha.

Ivan Perisic cancelled out Stephan El Shaarawy's stunner as Inter protected their six-point lead over Roma in a 1-1 draw at San Siro on Saturday.

Victory for either side would have given a new complexion to the scramble for top-four places but the Nerazzurri did neighbours AC Milan a favour by eking out a well-earned draw.

Croatia international Perisic netted seven minutes after Mauro Icardi's second-half introduction to hold Claudio Ranieri's men, who took an early lead through playmaker El Shaarawy's 14th-minute arrow.

Roma's inability to see out the result means they remain a point adrift of the fourth-placed Rossoneri, who earlier settled for the same scoreline at Parma.

Lautaro Martinez replaced the benched Icardi in attack and forced Antonio Mirante to turn a header against the upright in the eighth minute.

Perisic fluffed the follow-up to that chance and soon received a lesson in composure from El Shaarawy, who cut inside two defenders and brilliantly fired beyond Samir Handanovic.

Federico Fazio then produced a crucial last-ditch challenge on Matias Vecino, before Danilo D'Ambrosio nodded wide at close range.

Inter were given a reprieve of their own after the restart when Lorenzo Pellegrini failed to find the target at the end of a quick break.

Ex-Giallorossi boss Luciano Spalletti turned to Icardi in the 54th minute but it was an unmarked Perisic restoring parity in the 61st minute, making amends for his earlier miss by heading in D'Ambrosio's cross.

Martinez volleyed over with the chance to add a quickfire second and the spoils were shared after Inter captain Handanovic parried away Aleksandar Kolarov's late opportunity, the left-back stumbling under a nudge by Keita Balde.


What does it mean? Nerazzurri preserve status quo

Inter took a handy lead over Roma into this match but, with Juventus their next opponents, knew they had to avoid defeat to stay in pole position for third spot.

A draw will do, even if the time they spent in the attacking third might have warranted more than a point.

Fazio unfazed against Inter attack

Greater responsibility fell on the experienced Fazio's shoulders following defensive partner Kostas Manolas' pre-match withdrawal.

The 32-year-old stepped up for Roma, marking his 100th appearance with a performance that included 10 clearances, while little blame for the equaliser can be apportioned to a player who was busy grappling with Icardi.

Cengiz underperforms 

There is no doubting Cengiz Under's ability as a player but this was not his most memorable match.

The talented attacking midfielder made just eight passes and lost each of his six duels before being replaced by Nicolo Zaniolo at half-time.

What's next?

Inter entertain freshly minted Scudetto winners Juventus next Saturday, the same day as Roma's clash with Cagliari at Stadio Olimpico.

Jose Mourinho is the ideal coach to reunite the Inter dressing room following the damage caused by the Mauro Icardi affair, according to Luigi Simoni.

Icardi made his first appearance in almost two months on Wednesday to help lead Inter to a 4-0 win at Genoa that strengthened their grip on third place in Serie A.

It was the first time Icardi had been involved since being stripped of the club captaincy amid reports of problems with the club's hierarchy, which left him ostracised from Luciano Spalletti's squad.

Ivan Perisic is rumoured to have had a furious argument with the Argentina forward after his wife and agent, Wanda Nara, spoke on TV about "personal problems" between the team-mates.

Mourinho found his relationship with senior players at Manchester United had deteriorated significantly before he was sacked last December, with Paul Pogba said to be chief among those who fell out with the manager.

But former Inter boss Simoni thinks the man who delivered the treble to San Siro in 2009-10 would be able to restore harmony to the dressing room.

"We need to rebuild the atmosphere," Simoni, who won the UEFA Cup with Inter in 1998, told FCInternews. "Mourinho would be ideal, as he was good at creating a rock-solid group during his Nerazzurri experience.

"Of course, returns are always complicated, but in the event of a separation with Spalletti, whom I respect, I would bet on the Portuguese. I'm in favour of his return."

Simoni, who was a popular figure with players and fans in his brief spell in charge, thinks Icardi and Perisic are likely to leave given the damage that seems to have been caused to the squad's morale.

"Situations like these break dressing rooms," he said. "The management was a bit absent. Immediate action was needed to quell the problem.

"You need harmony within the group to get results. You don't win and you don't go far if there are problems in the dressing room.

"Players today are more individualistic. They think of themselves first, and then of the good of the team.

"That Inter [of 1997-98] had so many strong and prominent personalities. The boys created a fantastic harmony. [Former president Massimo] Moratti always tells me, 'There was never an Inter where all the players got on so well together as in 97-98'.

"There needed to be an effort from the club to protect the coach, who was left alone. It's not possible for there to be problems in the dressing room without the club immediately putting a halt to them.

"I imagine that, at the end of the season, Icardi and Perisic will leave."

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