Achraf Hakimi only moved to Inter from Real Madrid at the start of the 2020-21 season.

But the future of the Morocco international is already making headlines.

Will Hakimi still be an Inter player at the end of the campaign?

 

TOP STORY – HAKIMI WANTED IN ENGLAND

Manchester City are interested in signing Inter star Achraf Hakimi, according to Calciomercato.

Hakimi has established himself as a key player for Antonio Conte's Inter after arriving from Real Madrid.

But Inter – in the spotlight amid reported financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic – are facing a battle to keep Hakimi, with Chelsea and Arsenal also chasing the Morocco international.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato says Napoli want to bring back former head coach Maurizio Sarri. Gennaro Gattuso is under pressure and Sky Sport Italia claims the two parties will part in June. Sarri left Napoli for Chelsea in 2018. Former boss Rafael Benitez has also been linked.

Lionel Messi could help bitter rivals Madrid. According to El Chiringuito, Messi's proposed switch from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain could aid Madrid in their quest to prise Kylian Mbappe to the Santiago Bernabeu. Mbappe has also been linked to Liverpool.

- Fabrizio Romano says Liverpool, City, Chelsea, Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus are interested in Erling Haaland, but Borussia Dortmund have no intention of losing both the Norwegian and Manchester United target Jadon Sancho at the end of the season.

Real Madrid have flatly denied there is any "tension" with Inter concerning an alleged agreement over deferred payments for the transfer of Achraf Hakimi.

The full-back moved to San Siro last July for a reported fee of around €40million, which was to be paid in four instalments.

It has been claimed in Italy and Spain that, due largely to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Madrid agreed with Inter's request to defer the first payment of €10m, which had been due last month, until March 30.

However, according to a story in Corriere dello Sport on Saturday, Madrid insisted on "a series of guarantees" over the outstanding balance and that the LaLiga champions could even move to bring Hakimi back if Inter appear unable to keep up with payments.

In a subsequent statement, Madrid said there was no basis to claims of a dispute with the Nerazzurri and that relations between the clubs remain positive.

"In relation to the story published by Corriere dello Sport regarding alleged tension between our club and Inter Milan, Real Madrid wishes to clarify that these reports are completely false," the statement said.

"At no point in time has Real Madrid asked Inter Milan for an alleged guarantor, as the aforementioned publication states.

"The terms of the player's transfer to Inter fall within the standard and normal contractual relationships between football clubs. 

"This is particularly true in this case with Inter Milan, with whom Real Madrid has always and continues to enjoy an excellent relationship on account of its status as a historic club and one that is a friend of ours."

Hakimi's agent, Alejandro Camano, told FCInter1908.it that he did not know anything about the rumoured dispute between the clubs.

"We haven't received any calls from Madrid," he said. "Achraf is happy at Inter and is only focused on doing his best for Inter.

"His goal is to win with the Inter shirt, and he's not thinking about anything else."

Hakimi has enjoyed a strong first season in Italy, with six goals and four assists in 24 appearances in all competitions.

Inter managed to keep the pressure on Serie A pacesetters Milan with a sixth successive league win in their 2-1 victory over Spezia on Sunday.

Antonio Conte's men were by no means impressive at San Siro as they initially struggled to break down the away side, but in the end goals from Achraf Hakimi and Romelu Lukaku were enough to keep them a point behind city rivals Milan.

Inter had scored 30 goals in their first 12 Serie A matches of the season for only the ninth time in their history, but there was no sign of such potency during a drab first half that saw the Nerazzurri fail to exert any real control over their promoted visitors.

They briefly clicked into gear early in the second period and that brought Hakimi's opener before Lukaku doubled the lead from the spot with 20 minutes to go, rendering Roberto Piccoli's late strike a mere consolation.

Inter's start was relatively bright, as Ashley Young saw a threatening left-wing cross tipped just wide by Ian Provedel and Lautaro Martinez headed Marcelo Brozovic's free-kick over soon after in the 12th minute.

But otherwise Spezia coped admirably with the hosts' frontline and spent long periods dictating the tempo, even shading Inter in the possession stakes at the halfway point.

Spezia were carved open in the 51st minute, however.

Young's long ball was knocked down by Lukaku to Martinez, who in turn fed Hakimi with a throughball and the wing-back found the bottom-right corner with a precise finish from a tight angle just inside the box. 

Inter effectively wrapped up the win when M'Bala Nzola blocked a cross with his arm and, following a VAR review, Lukaku coolly converted the kick.

Piccoli pulled one back for Spezia deep into stoppage time, reaching a deflected cross ahead of Matteo Darmian to prod home, though it came too late to be anything more than a consolation.

 

Inter head coach Antonio Conte compared Romelu Lukaku to an NFL quarterback, while he also hailed two-goal hero Achraf Hakimi following Saturday's 3-1 win over Bologna.

Conte's Inter closed the gap on Serie A leaders and city rivals Milan to two points thanks to Lukaku and full-back Hakimi at San Siro.

Inter star Lukaku broke the deadlock in the 16th minute before Hakimi doubled the advantage on the stroke of half-time.

Emanuel Vignato's 67th-minute goal threatened to make things tense for Inter, but Hakimi's second wrapped up proceedings as the Nerazzurri took their tally to 26 goals in the first 10 Serie A games of the season for the first time since 2009-10.

Conte heaped praise on in-form forward Lukaku, who has scored eight goals in his first nine league appearances this term – the Belgium international has scored more than seven goals before the 11th match of the season for the first time in his career.

Lukaku has also scored in all of his first four home appearances in Serie A in 2020-21, joining Christian Vieri as the only Inter players to achieve the feat in the league's three-point-win era.

"I believe he can still get stronger," Conte told DAZN. "I described him as a rough diamond when he arrived and felt that work would help him become one of the best strikers in the world.

"He is on the right track, as he has everything, the physicality of a centre-forward, but also the pace and power of an American Football quarterback.

"He is doing well, has understood what needs to be done, is humble and works for the team. I am very happy with him."

Hakimi, who arrived from LaLiga champions Real Madrid ahead of the current campaign following two successful seasons on loan at Borussia Dortmund, became the only Serie A defender this term to score at least two goals and provide two assists.

"This lad is 20 years old and had just two seasons at Dortmund, where they play a much less tactical style of football. Haki is working hard, he has realised the difference between playing in Italy and Germany, where the opponents don't study you as much, where they don't identify your characteristics as precisely," Conte added.

"I think he is in the right team and with the right coach to become one of the best in the world in his role. It will require a lot of work, but I'm very happy, because this type of performance will boost his confidence, whereas errors in the past might've dented his self-belief.

"He needs a balance, it's going to be a process and I am glad he got this personal satisfaction of a brace."

Christian Eriksen, who is out of favour and heading for a January exit just a year after swapping Tottenham for Inter, was a stoppage-time substitute against Bologna.

"My rapport with Christian is the same as all the other players. I will never tire of explaining that what I do and the choices I make are for the good of Inter," Conte.

"The last thing I do is look at the face of the player, it's about everything else. Eriksen is working and he is at our disposal."

Inter closed the gap on Serie A leaders Milan as Achraf Hakimi scored twice to help Antonio Conte's team to a 3-1 victory over Bologna.

With Milan not playing until Sunday, Inter took the chance to move to within two points of their city rivals as they claimed a third straight league win.

Romelu Lukaku got the ball rolling with his 12th goal of the season in all competitions, before Marcelo Brozovic's sublime pass played in Hakimi for a second.

Emanuel Vignato's 67th-minute goal threatened to make things tense for Inter, but Hakimi's second – a fine finish at the culmination of a fantastic run infield – wrapped things up.

Inter's early dominance told 16 minutes in when, having initially missed his attempted volley from Ivan Perisic's cross, Lukaku reacted sharply to curl a finish into the top-left corner, with covering defender Danilo only able to help it in.

Lukaku should have doubled Inter's tally just after the half-hour, but a heavy touch allowed Lukasz Skorupski to make a brave stop.

Inter did get their second on the stroke of half-time, however – Hakimi cruising in behind Bologna's defence and coolly side-footing in his second Serie A goal after latching onto Brozovic's inch-perfect pass.

Another chance went begging for Lukaku after the restart, the Belgian just failing to sweep home after Alessandro Bastoni had flicked on Brozovic's cross.

Lukaku turned provider when he teed up Alexis Sanchez, but Skorupski once more stood firm in a one-on-one.

Bologna's goalkeeper rushed out to deny Lukaku again on the hour and Sinisa Mihajlovic's side – looking to win consecutive Serie A games against Inter for the first time since 1999 – made it count when Vignato lashed in from close range.

Yet the contest was all but settled three minutes later as Hakimi cut in on his left foot and drilled in a low finish that Skorupski failed to get enough on.

Antonio Conte challenged his Inter players to learn from last week's defeat against Real Madrid as they prepare for Tuesday's must-win clash with Borussia Monchengladbach.

Inter have failed to win any of their opening four Champions League games for the first time ever and only a victory will do in Germany if they are to avoid early elimination.

The three-time European champions lost 2-0 at home to Madrid in their last Group B outing – Rodrygo's deflected strike off Achraf Hakimi adding to Eden Hazard's early penalty.

Conte acknowledged Inter made life difficult for themselves against Madrid in a match that saw Arturo Vidal dismissed for dissent, and the Inter boss is now after a response if his side are to keep their slim qualification hopes alive.

"There have been many negative comments expressed after our match with Real," Conte said at Monday's pre-match media conference.

"I've heard about how our opponents dominated us, but it has been forgotten that we gave away a penalty right at the start and lost a player after half an hour.

"I challenge anyone to recover quickly in matches like that. We created those negative situations and have to work on that to avoid making things tough for ourselves

"Tomorrow we take on a very good team that is doing well in the Champions League. We need to produce our best and leave the pitch with no regrets."

Inter are bottom of Group B, five points adrift of second-place Madrid and a further point behind a Gladbach side unbeaten in four games against the Nerazzurri.

Conte is under pressure at San Siro following a run of three wins in 11 games in all competitions and accepted anything less than a place in the last 16 will be a failure.

"We started this journey in control of our own destiny and today that is no longer the case," he said. "If we can no longer qualify, that means we have failed in some situations.

"The only way we can stay alive is to win, even if that won't be easy to achieve. Gladbach have shown their strength and this is now a further test for us."

Conte's 20 per cent win rate is the lowest of any Inter coach to have managed at least five games in the Champions League. 

The former Juventus and Chelsea boss tweaked formation for Saturday's 3-0 league win over Sassuolo, with no recognised playmaker selected, and could stick with the same setup against Gladbach.

"I keep saying that after a very short time together we find ourselves having to play competitive matches with newcomers like Hakimi, [Aleksandar] Kolarov and Vidal.

"We have found ourselves having to throw these players into the fray with all the risks involved. But by playing together you start to learn about the characteristics of players.

"We have done well with some players, others less so."

Hakimi was withdrawn a little over an hour into the game with Madrid and was benched for the win over Sassuolo.

The wing-back has two assists and a goal in Serie A since joining from Real Madrid, but only Lautaro Martinez (106) and Nicola Barella (108) have lost possession more often than Hakimi (85) among Inter players.

"Go back and see what I said about him at the start of the season," Conte said. "He has to work a lot more in the defensive phase.

"He has great potential but in Italy there is much more pressure than in England and Germany, especially when you play for Inter."

Antonio Conte said he has nothing to "reproach" his Inter players for despite needing a 90th-minute equaliser from Romelu Lukaku to salvage a 2-2 Champions League draw against Borussia Monchengladbach.

Inter appeared to be on their way to victory courtesy of Lukaku's first goal shortly after the interval, but a Ramy Bensebaini penalty and a late strike from Jonas Hofmann looked to have sealed all three points for the visiting Bundesliga side on Wednesday.

Lukaku bundled in from close range in the closing stages, though, to snatch a share of the spoils for Inter, who lost Alexis Sanchez to an adductor injury at half-time in the Group B showdown in Milan midweek.

Inter netted a 90th-minute equaliser in their opening group-stage game for the second consecutive Champions League campaign, while the Nerazzurri have only won one of their last six opening Champions League fixtures.

Inter head coach Conte refused to be too hard on his players and said the loss of full-back Achraf Hakimi due to a positive coronavirus test shortly before the game had a significant impact on his side's preparations. 

"We have to concentrate on doing our best on the pitch," Conte told Sky Sport Italia. "That's all we have to do. It wasn't easy today to receive the news at 5pm that Hakimi was positive. 

"Up until this morning, he was training with us. He was meant to start, so we'd prepared all the tactical situations.

"I told the lads to face every situation with heads held high. It wasn't easy on a psychological level, but the lads showed they are good men as well as good players.

"Tonight we did well against a team with a great deal of potential, one that has technical quality as well as physicality.

"I don't remember a Samir Handanovic save, whereas we had the chances to win the game. I have nothing to reproach the lads for.

"Inevitably, we can improve in some situations where there are errors and we have to work on whittling those down."

Lukaku cut a frustrated figure despite his late equaliser and said Inter need to show more resilience after their winless run was extended to three games in all competitions.

The Belgian star has now scored in each of his last nine European fixtures across the Champions League and Europa League (11), extending the longest-ever such run by a player for Inter.

"This is not a good result in my view, because we can do better," he said. "We must keep working and be stronger mentally because it's not an easy moment for us and we have to keep believing in our quality. 

"Now we need to be stronger, above all mentally, and do better in defence, as we conceded two goals due to our errors. We made so many mistakes and wasted chances up front too, so if we don't take those we are made to pay at this level."

Inter star Achraf Hakimi has tested positive for coronavirus ahead of Wednesday's Champions League group match against Borussia Monchengladbach.

Hakimi is "totally asymptomatic" after his diagnosis emerged from the latest round of UEFA tests ahead of the Group B contest at San Siro.

The 21-year-old, in his first season at Inter after a superb spell with Borussia Dortmund, has played in all four of his team's Serie A matches this season, including their 2-1 loss in Saturday's Milan derby.

Hakimi will now enter a period of quarantine and can only come back once he has returned a negative result.

"Achraf Hakimi has tested positive in the latest round of UEFA checks (required by hygiene protocols) undertaken ahead of tonight's game against Borussia Monchengladbach," Inter said in a statement.

"The Inter full-back is totally asymptomatic and will now follow the procedure set out by the health protocol."

Inter have had to deal with a host of positive results in recent weeks. 

Alessandro Bastoni and Radja Nainggolan have recovered while Ashley Young, Roberto Gagliardini, Ionut Radu and Milan Skriniar are among those still waiting for the all-clear to return.

Reported Real Madrid target Houssem Aouar has the talent to one day play at the Santiago Bernabeu, but Zinedine Zidane has little interest speculating about the final days of the transfer window.

Lyon midfielder Aouar, who starred in their run to last season's Champions League semi-finals, has been linked with both Madrid and Arsenal.

The window closes on Monday, though, and Zidane - while acknowledging Aouar's talent - is looking forward to having the distraction of out the way.

"I don't know what information you have," Zidane responded at a news conference ahead of Madrid's trip to Levante. "I have no doubt about this player, he is a great player.

"Maybe one day he could play for Madrid, but today we have this squad and my concern is the players I have now. As of October 5, there will be no such questions."

Madrid are yet to make a single signing in this window, yet the focus in recent days has been on a man they let go.

Achraf Hakimi was allowed to join Inter after an impressive loan with Borussia Dortmund and rival right-backs Dani Carvajal and Alvaro Odriozola have both gone down injured in the past two days.

Carvajal has damaged the medial collateral ligament in his right knee and could reportedly face two months out, while back-up Odriozola then sustained a calf issue.

Zidane is now without a recognised option on that side of the defence but would not reflect differently on Hakimi's departure.

"These are things that can happen in a squad," he explained. "We have to count on other players. We can't look for excuses."

The pair join winger Eden Hazard on the injury list, Madrid's number seven suffering a muscle injury late last month as he sought to return to fitness after a tough first season in Spain.

Zidane is not concerned Hazard's repeated problems will mean he does not come back the same player, though.

"I am positive about everything, including Hazard," the coach said. "Plus this was a muscle injury from having worked hard to return.

"I don't like [injures], because I like having everyone available, but they are things that can happen. It just bothers me that players can't play."

Romelu Lukaku claimed a brace while new signing Achraf Hakimi scored one and made another as Inter coasted to a 5-2 Serie A victory at Filippo Inzaghi's Benevento.

Antonio Conte's side needed two goals in the final three minutes to begin their campaign with a thrilling 4-3 win against Fiorentina, and while they found the net frequently again, this triumph was much more straightforward.

Lukaku scored twice in the opening 28 minutes, either side of Roberto Gagliardini's effort, before newly promoted Benevento pulled one back through Gianluca Caprari.

Yet Hakimi and substitute Lautaro Martinez also found the net as Conte comprehensively won the battle of the former Juve team-mates, despite a second Caprari goal late on.

Inter had fallen behind within three minutes against Fiorentina on Saturday, but this time they were the ones that raced out of the blocks.

A long raking pass from Aleksandar Kolarov reached Hakimi and, after a one-two with Alexis Sanchez, he crossed for Lukaku to find the net just 28 seconds in.

Hakimi, making his full debut for the Nerazzurri, was then involved in his side's second when his deep delivery found Ashley Young, whose lay-off was emphatically smashed home by Gagliardini.

The midfielder then turned provider for Inter's third after being gifted possession by Lorenzo Montipo, with Lukaku only needing to sort his feet out before being left with a simple finish.

Montipo's opposite number Samir Handanovic made a similar error in passing straight to Caprari, who pulled one back for Benevento, but Hakimi stole in ahead of Luca Caldirola to restore Inter's three-goal cushion.

The home side should have conceded five in the first period but Arturo Vidal missed the target with a close-range header, and Benevento improved after the break, Gabriele Moncini hitting the post shortly after the restart.

Yet the woodwork denied Gagliardini too before a fifth and final Inter goal came courtesy of substitute Martinez 19 minutes from time.

Caprari at least made the final margin of defeat less severe with his second, though Inter could have had a six as Ivan Perisic somehow fired wide from Hakimi's cross and Christian Eriksen hit the bar.

Achraf Hakimi says Antonio Conte’s "extraordinary passion" was one of the motivating factors behind his decision to join Inter. 

The 21-year-old joined the Serie A side in July for a reported €40million from Spanish champions Real Madrid, signing a five-year contract. 

The Spain-born Morocco international spent the past two seasons on loan at Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, particularly impressing last term when deployed as a right-sided wing-back ahead of a three-man defence.

On top of an impressive haul of five goals, Hakimi also had 10 assists in the Bundesliga last season – the best of any defender.

Conte guided Inter to a second-place finish in his maiden campaign and Hakimi is licking his lips at the prospect at playing under the 51-year-old. 

"I chose Inter because I think the coach's style is particularly suited to my way of playing and I can be of real help to this team," he said in a Q&A hosted on Inter's social media channels. "We'll try to achieve great results and certainly aim to win the Scudetto.

"Conte is a great coach, with a very competitive spirit. He has this extraordinary passion for football and transmits that to his players, fans, and everyone around the club. His motivation allows the side to be fired up for every game.

"I already played 3-5-2 at Borussia Dortmund. When the offer came, I thought this was a great opportunity for me to grow, as the fans here experience football in such a special way. I have joined a great club."

Hakimi had been at Madrid since 2006 and broke into the first-team squad in 2017-18, playing back-up to Dani Carvajal. 

He believes his two-year spell in the Bundesliga improved him as a player and hopes the experience will help him navigate a more "tactical league".

"Playing in Germany allowed me to mature as a player, gain experience and confidence," he added. "It was a wonderful experience; now I will go into a more tactical league like Serie A.

"Our objective is to win the Scudetto, make the fans happy, then go forward in the Champions League and do even better than last season.

"I am here to give my best, so we'll do great things together and try to win some trophies!"

Zidane explained why Achraf Hakimi was being sold hours before he sealed his Inter Milan move.

Achraf Hakimi has joined Inter in a permanent move from Real Madrid, the Italian club confirmed.

Hakimi, 21, has reportedly cost Antonio Conte's side an initial €40million and he joins on a five-year contract.

A statement issued by Madrid read: "The club wants to thank Achraf for all these years of dedication, professionalism and exemplary behaviour since he came to our academy in 2006 and wishes him good luck in his new phase."

The Spain-born Morocco international has spent the past two seasons on loan at Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, particularly impressing this term when deployed as a right-sided wing-back ahead of a three-man defence.

On top of an impressive haul of five goals, Hakimi also had 10 assists in the Bundesliga this term – the best of any defender.

Dortmund were not shy about their desire to see Hakimi remain at Signal Iduna Park, but the writing appeared to be on the wall when BVB confirmed the capture of Thomas Meunier on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain following reports of Inter closing in on their target.

Hakimi had been at Madrid since 2006 and broke into the first-team squad in 2017-18, playing back-up to Dani Carvajal.

He was sent out on a two-year loan to Dortmund and, although he enjoyed a wonderful 2019-20 in Germany, there are those who are unconvinced by his defensive qualities, particularly in a back four.

Similarly, Hakimi's contract with Madrid was due to expire in 2021, and a potential unease at being behind Carvajal in the pecking order again could have given rise to the possibility of losing him for free next year.

Their loss is Inter's gain, however, as Conte finally gets his hands on a world-class wing-back, having had Ashley Young, Victor Moses, Antonio Candreva, Cristiano Biraghi and Kwadwo Asamoah as his options in 2019-20.

Achraf Hakimi has said his goodbyes to Borussia Dortmund as the Real Madrid full-back moves ever closer to joining Inter.

Nerazzurri chief executive Beppe Marotta confirmed over the weekend that a deal was on the verge of being struck for the 21-year-old, who reportedly arrived in Milan for a medical on Tuesday.

Hakimi has been a star for Dortmund this season, having joined on a two-year loan from LaLiga giants Madrid in 2018.

And he said a fond farewell to the Bundesliga club ahead of his proposed switch to Serie A.

"The time has come to close a very beautiful stage in my life. After two wonderful years, I'm ready to leave this club that has given me so much joy," Hakimi wrote on Twitter and Instagram.

"From the first moment, the care and attention by the club and the city has been amazing. Now I know that I was right to choose Dortmund as my home two years ago.

"I want to thank all my teammates, the coaching staff, and all the club's staff for the love and trust they have shown me at all times.

"I also want to thank the wonderful fans who have supported us unconditionally in every game.

"I'll never forget the yellow wall (Glebe Wand) which is simply wonderful.

"Finally, I would like to thank my family and friends for supporting me at all times.

"I hope that one day our paths will cross again. See you soon Borussia Dortmund!"

Inter are in advanced negotiations over a deal to sign Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid, Nerazzurri chief executive Beppe Marotta has confirmed.

Hakimi has been a star for Borussia Dortmund this season, having joined on a two-year loan from LaLiga giants Madrid in 2018.

However, Dortmund confirmed on Saturday that Hakimi would not be staying on permanently, with Thomas Meunier having already been brought in to bolster Lucien Favre's options at right-back.

Now, Hakimi appears to be set to move to Inter, with Marotta confirming reports that a deal is close to being struck, with sporting director Piero Ausilio handling the deal for the Serie A club.

"We are in an advanced phase of negotiation and we see what will happen in the next few days," Marotta told Sky Italia prior to Inter's clash with Parma on Sunday.

"I want there to be great respect towards those players who are working and playing in this complex period. Then we also look to the future and for the future we want to raise the bar.

"[It's a] very, very important operation. I must say that Ausilio did an excellent job. Now we have yet to finish everything, but Ausilio has done everything in the past two months and tomorrow will be an important day."

Morocco full-back Hakimi, 21, scored nine goals in all competitions for Dortmund in 2019-20.

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