Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho hit out at Antonio Conte for speaking publicly about Inter's pursuit of Christian Eriksen.

Eriksen, 27, is out of contract at Tottenham at the end of the season and has been heavily linked with a move to the Serie A side.

Mourinho reignited his feud with Conte as speculation continues over Eriksen, criticising the Inter boss for discussing the midfielder publicly.

Conte is reported to have said: "Eriksen? We have to go to people who have already had a career, who are at the end of their contracts."

"I think Antonio, I think Antonio. I think it was publicly. He is very positive that Eriksen is coming to Inter," Mourinho told UK newspapers when asked who from Inter had been quoted about the Dane, via The Guardian.

"We shouldn't speak about players from other clubs until they become our players. You ask me about Gedson [Fernandes] since the moment Gedson's name was on the screen and I told you nothing.

"You protect everybody. Is it a question of respect? I don't want to give you a headline. That's up to you.

"If Inter are confident, they are confident because they are ready to make us an offer, which didn't happen yet. So when I see people speaking, especially people with responsibilities, I am a little bit surprised."

Mourinho coached Inter from 2008 to 2010, leading the club to two Serie A titles and a Champions League crown.

But the Portuguese tactician said no transfer move would impact his relationship with the club.

"This is not my Inter. I have no connections with the people [running the club] so I think it's nothing to do with that," Mourinho said.

"Nothing can change my feeling with Inter. It's not a situation with a player that is going to change my feeling with the club and the fans. No chance."

Ashley Young will hope for a glorious final chapter to his career with Scudetto-chasing Inter after completing his switch from Manchester United.

The 34-year-old was a part of the England team that reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and he is far from the only Three Lions star to try his hand in Italy's top flight.

Here, we take a look back at some of the famous English names to have sampled Serie A.

David Beckham

United and England great Beckham caused consternation among LA Galaxy fans by joining Milan on loan for the second half of the 2008-09 season. Motivated in part by his Three Lions recall and the need to retain fitness for World Cup qualifying matches, Beckham proved a hit, chipping in with two Serie A goals for the Rossoneri. He returned a year later as South Africa 2010 beckoned, but an Achilles injury ended the dream.

Ashley Cole

A 33-year-old Cole headed to Italy's top-flight following a distinguished Premier League career, so arguably provides a handy parallel for Young. However, a man who once had a solid claim on being the best left-back in world football struggled at Roma, most notably when he was substituted at half-time during a 7-1 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich with the score 5-0. After 16 appearances over the course of 18 months, Cole was released from his contract in January 2016 and joined LA Galaxy.

Joe Hart

After being jettisoned from Pep Guardiola's first-team plans at Manchester City on the eve of the 2016-17 campaign, Hart needed a quick solution. Torino were his unlikely saviours and the England goalkeeper endeared himself to supporters in Turin over the course of a season-long loan, despite some high-profile errors. It certainly proved a more successful post-City excursion than his subsequent spells at West Ham and Burnley.

Chris Smalling

If Young needs an example of a success story when swapping Old Trafford for Italy, then he need look no further than long-time colleague for club and country Smalling. Deemed surplus to requirements by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following the arrival of Harry Maguire, the 30-year-old has been a revelation at Roma, performing superbly across 14 Serie A appearances and scoring twice. Smalling has made such an impression at the Stadio Olimpico that he narrowly missed out in a fan vote for Roma's team of the decade.

Micah Richards

Hart's long-time City team-mate Richards made a loan switch to Fiorentina for the 2014-15 season after falling out of favour with Manuel Pellegrini. The right-back made 19 appearances in all competitions but the injury problems that would force an early retirement aged 31 had already started to take a significant toll.

Paul Gascoigne

The breakout star of the Italia 90 World Cup, Gascoigne's move to Lazio became something of a saga – delayed by 12 months after he damaged knee ligaments launching into a wild challenge on Gary Charles during Tottenham's 1991 FA Cup final victory over Nottingham Forest. Once Gazza arrived in Rome, it was never anything but eventful. His first goal brought pandemonium as he headed a late equaliser in the derby against Roma, with moments of brilliance vying with fitness struggles thereafter. A broken leg suffered in training ruined his final season before joining Rangers in 1995.

David Platt

Platt did not have to contend with Gascoigne's goldfish bowl existence and the goalscoring midfielder carved out a fine career in Serie A. Signed by Bari a year after his breakthrough performances at Italia 90, Platt went on to earn moves to Juventus and then Sampdoria. He won the UEFA Cup at Juve and the Coppa Italia with Samp and, by the time he headed back to England to join Arsenal in 1995, Platt boasted 31 goals from 100 Serie A games.

Paul Ince

Way before Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku and Young made it cool, Paul Ince was swapping United for Inter in the mid-1990s. For two seasons from 1995-96, Ince starred for a Nerazzurri side during the early stages of its transformation under Massimo Moratti's ownership. He formed an impressive midfield partnership with Nicola Berti and had 10 goals from 54 Serie A outings before returning to the Premier League with Liverpool in 1997.

Ashley Young has completed his transfer from Manchester United to Inter for a reported €1.5million (£1.3m).

Inter have handed Young, 34, a contract until the end of the season, though the deal includes an option for it to be extended by a further year.

The full-back underwent a medical in Milan on Friday and will hope to play an important role in the Nerazzurri's push for the Serie A title – they sit two points adrift of reigning champions Juventus at the midway point.

"Manchester United can confirm that Ashley Young has completed his transfer to Inter," read statement from the Old Trafford club.

"The 34-year-old captain, who joined in 2011, made 261 appearances for the Reds, scoring 19 goals.

"Everyone at the club would like to thank Ashley for his many seasons of service and to wish him well for the future."

The former Aston Villa star won four major trophies during his time in Manchester, including the 2012-13 Premier League title.

The England international made 41 appearances in all competitions in 2018-19 but has been used sparingly by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this season.

Young has played in 12 league games, three Europa League matches and three times in domestic cup competitions.

A full-back for much of the past three seasons, his opportunities for regular first-team football have been limited by the signing of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and the emergence of Brandon Williams as competition for Luke Shaw at left-back.

Young joins former United team-mates Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez under Antonio Conte at Inter and is the third Englishman to play for Inter.

Ashley Young has completed his transfer from Manchester United to Inter for a reported €1.5million (£1.3m).

Jose Mourinho insists Tottenham have not received an offer for Christian Eriksen from Inter despite the Serie A club's reported optimism of signing the midfielder.

Eriksen, whose contract expires at the end of the season, was heavily linked with a move away in the previous transfer window.

Spurs are thought to be keen to sell the Denmark international this month to avoid losing him for free when the campaign comes to a close.

Inter are said to be confident of concluding a deal for the former Ajax playmaker, but Mourinho sees little reason for the Nerazzurri's apparent stance.

"If they are confident, it's because they are ready to make us an offer which didn't happen yet," Mourinho told a media conference ahead of Saturday's clash with Watford.

"When I see people speaking, especially people with responsibilities speaking about it, I am a little bit surprised.

"I still don't understand why that optimism because in this moment, for a few matches, people are speaking about 'is Eriksen going to play? Has Eriksen played already his last match for the club?' and the situation didn't change, Eriksen plays tomorrow."

Asked if he felt it was sad how Eriksen is potentially leaving things with the Spurs fans, Mourinho replied: "I think he's trying to do his best, and I think that it's normal that until January 31 his brain is not totally focused.

"I think it's a normal consequence of the situation, if I am a player and I am reading every day and probably I'm having information about that optimism you are speaking about, I think it's normal that the player doesn't know very well what is going on."

While Eriksen could be on his way out, midfielder Giovani Lo Celso appears likely to become a permanent member of the Spurs squad.

The Argentina midfielder signed on a season-long loan with an option to buy from Real Betis in August, and Mourinho anticipates that option being taken up.

"I imagine yes, I think it is something that comes from the summer," Mourinho said about the prospect of the 23-year-old staying on. 

"There are some loans that they have the opportunity to be in control of the situation like is happening with Gedson [Fernandes].

"There are some emergency loans and there are other loans where the objective is to be in control of the future of the player without any need of further negotiations. I think Giovani is going to stay with us."

Ashley Young has arrived in Milan to undergo a medical ahead of a proposed move to Inter from Manchester United.

An initial fee of £1.3m (€1.5m) was agreed on Thursday between the two clubs for the 34-year-old.

Young, who is to be replaced as United club captain by Harry Maguire, is expected to finalise his transfer on Friday.

The former Aston Villa star has spent eight and a half years at United, winning four major trophies, including the 2012-13 Premier League title.

The England international made 41 appearances in all competitions in 2018-19 but has been used sparingly by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this season.

Young has played in 12 league games, three Europa League matches and three times in domestic cup competition.

A full-back for much of the past three seasons, his opportunities for regular first-team football have been limited by the signing of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and the emergence of Brandon Williams as competition for left-back Luke Shaw.

Young will join former United team-mates Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez under Antonio Conte at Inter, who are two points behind Juventus in the Serie A table and bidding for their first domestic title since 2010.

Manchester United will reportedly need to improve their offer to Sporting CP if they are to land Bruno Fernandes.

Fernandes, 25, is linked with a January move to Old Trafford, but it seems talks are ongoing between the clubs.

The Premier League outfit will need to raise their offer to land Fernandes, with some distance seemingly still between the sides.

 

TOP STORY – SPORTING WANT €65M FROM MAN UTD FOR FERNANDES

Sporting want £55.4million (€65m) from Manchester United for Fernandes, according to TVI 24.

The report says United are offering £42.6m (€50m) plus bonuses for the midfielder.

With Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba injured, United are desperate to strengthen in midfield this month.

 

ROUND-UP

- Christian Eriksen could be nearing a move to Inter. The Tottenham midfielder's agent Martin Schoots had dinner with Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta on Thursday, according to CalcioMercato.

- Tottenham must continue their search if they are to replace the injured Harry Kane this month. The Sun reports a possible move from Milan to Spurs for Krzysztof Piatek appears over and Tottenham are now looking at Porto forward Ze Luis or Napoli's Fernando Llorente, who left the club at the end of last season.

- Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare is deciding between Manchester United and Chelsea, according to Sky Sports, although no move is expected until after the Ligue 1 club face Paris Saint-Germain on January 26.

- Staying at Old Trafford and Manchester United will be offered Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani for free at season's end, according to the Manchester Evening News.

- West Ham's bid to sign Ross Barkley is not over yet. The Mirror reports the club will not give up on trying to land the Chelsea midfielder, who has made just seven Premier League appearances this season.

- Arda Turan remains contracted to Barcelona, but the midfielder knows where he wants to go next. The Turkey international is interested in signing with Boca Juniors, according to Sport, after terminating his loan agreement with Istanbul Basaksehir earlier this month.

Ashley Young is set to join Inter after Manchester United agreed a fee to sell the experienced full-back.

Omnisport understands the transfer will cost the Serie A giants €1.5million (£1.3m), subject to a medical and personal terms.

Young joined United from Aston Villa in 2011 and went on to make 261 appearances, scoring 19 goals.

The 34-year-old won four major honours for the Red Devils, including the 2012-13 Premier League, although the emergence of youngster Brandon Williams has placed him further down the pecking order this season.

During his time at Old Trafford, Young converted from a winger to a play in deeper wide roles and he was Gareth Southgate's first choice at left wing-back as England reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup.

The 2-1 extra-time defeat to Croatia in Moscow remains the most recent of his 39 international caps, which have yielded seven goals.

Young's move will continue a recent flow of players from Old Trafford to San Siro, with Alexis Sanchez signing for Inter on loan last August after fellow forward Romelu Lukaku completed a permanent switch.

Under the guidance of former Italy and Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, the Nerazzurri are chasing their first Scudetto since 2010 and lie second in Serie A – two points shy of champions Juventus at the halfway point of the season.

Lautaro Martinez is "very happy" at Inter despite his form this season prompting reported interest from across Europe.

Argentina striker Martinez scored his 15th goal of the campaign during Inter's 1-1 draw against Atalanta at the weekend.

The 22-year-old's partnership in attack with Romelu Lukaku has established the Nerazzurri as serious title challengers to Juventus in Serie A.

His performances have also apparently caught the attention of Barcelona, who are facing up to four months without Luis Suarez, while it has also been claimed Manchester City view Martinez as a suitable long-term heir to their all-time record goalscorer Sergio Aguero.

"I'm very happy here at Inter, people love me and I love them," Martinez told TyC Sports.

"If you talk about me [as a transfer target] it is because I do my job well. I must continue on this path.

"I am very calm, I live day to day and I am happy and comfortable here."

Conte took charge of Inter before the start of this season and Martinez credits the former Juve and Chelsea boss as a driving force behind his rapid progress.

“Many things have changed since he came in," Martinez said. "He has a special way of doing things and has taught us so much from his first day in charge.

"He has convinced us to all give our best and the results are there for all to see.

“I have had to adapt to a new culture in another country and learn another language. I played little under the previous manager, but under Conte I have grown a lot and I am enjoying how things are going."

Conte secured the capture of Lukaku from Manchester United, a player he tried to sign at Chelsea, and Martinez has been a huge beneficiary of the head coach getting his man.

"Lukaku helps me a lot, he is a player who – on and off the field – is very important to me," Martinez said of the Belgium international, who has 18 goals in all competitions this term.

"He is a very good person who helps me out. I am very happy to have met him.”

Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri said it is "really annoying" that someone has won more Ballons d'Or than superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi moved one ahead of Ronaldo for the Ballon d'Or record, claiming his sixth individual honour in December.

The result came despite Ronaldo helping Juve to an eighth consecutive Serie A title and Portugal win the inaugural Nations League crown.

Sari is determined for Ronaldo – who sat out Wednesday's 4-0 Coppa Italia last-16 victory over Udinese through illness – to add to his Ballon d'Or collection and match Messi.

"I would like to help Cristiano win the sixth Ballon d'Or first," Sarri told reporters post-game in Turin.

"It's really annoying thinking that someone won more [Ballons d'Or] than him. I think about him and I think helping him it is my goal and the goal of the team. It is right for him.

"[Paulo] Dybala is going to be one of the contenders in the next years. I think so."

While Ronaldo sat out, Juve forward Paulo Dybala dazzled with a brace and an assist against Udinese.

Dybala teed up Gonzalo Higuain for the 16th-minute opener following a stunning piece of combination play before curling a memorable strike past Nicolas approaching the hour mark, having converted a first-half penalty.

It took his season tally to 11 goals across all competitions and Sarri added: "Dybala is a top player. As every top player when they are becoming confident and having the right age, they are playing like a top player.

"I don't think a manager can teach something to a top player. Dybala is going to leave a mark in world and European football in the next years. He has got the right age to leave a mark and he's still got many years of his career. He is really confident in this moment after a few difficulties in the past."

Milan head coach Stefano Pioli said the signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been "really important" for the Serie A side.

Ibrahimovic is back at Milan for a second time after returning to the Rossoneri – where he won the Scudetto in 2010-11 – at the end of his LA Galaxy contract.

The 38-year-old star has made an immediate impact, scoring in Milan's 2-0 Serie A victory away to Cagliari last week – only his second appearance.

Ibrahimovic was an unused substitute as Milan eased past SPAL 3-0 in the Coppa Italia last 16 on Wednesday, ahead of Udinese's league visit on Sunday, and Pioli hailed the striker amid the club's struggles.

"Signing Ibrahimovic has been really important," Pioli told reporters. "Absolutely, it's been really important for what he does every day during the training, for what he did at Cagliari and for what he will do.

"Ibra will improve giving us great satisfaction. He is so professional, he is so driven in all the things he does. It is unbelievable seeing a great champion like him working hard. It's important for a young team like us.

"After Cagliari he said to work hard and with passion so we can get a reward. This is the most important thing."

Without a Scudetto since Ibrahimovic's first spell, Milan are 10th in Serie A and 10 points adrift of fourth-placed Atalanta, while they are 23 points behind leaders Juventus.

Antonio Conte admits the coffers are empty at Inter and dealings in the current transfer window will need to be negotiated "with intelligence and wit".

Inter sit second in the Serie A table, with themselves, Juventus and Lazio in a three-way fight for the Scudetto.

This month presents a chance to strengthen as the Nerazzurri chase their first league title since 2010, but Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta has made it clear to Conte he will have to play the market smartly.

"There is no money," Conte said. "Therefore we will have to do well to find good-value situations."

Inter are firmly in the market for Tottenham's Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen and they reportedly want striker Olivier Giroud to join them from Chelsea.

A deal for Manchester United's Ashley Young looked likely at one stage, but Inter's interest is said to be waning.

Any major arrivals will mean departures are necessary, and the possible sale of Gabriel Barbosa to Flamengo, after his successful loan to the Brazilian club, would see a welcome influx of spending money for Conte.

Inter spent heavily in the last close season, particularly with the big-money arrival of Romelu Lukaku, which could eventually cost the Nerazzurri €80million.

Conte has told Inter what he would like to achieve in the window, with it now a question of what can be agreed.

"I gave some ideas," said Conte, quoted in Gazzetta dello Sport.

"You have to achieve the goals with intelligence and wit. We're going to have to give careful consideration also to the situation with departures."

Napoli have bolstered their midfield options with the reported €24million signing of Stanislav Lobotka from Celta Vigo.

The length of the 25-year-old's contract is yet to be confirmed by the club, but he is said to have signed until 2024 and becomes Napoli's second signing of the month following Diego Demme's switch from RB Leipzig.

Napoli are reported to have paid an initial €20m, with another €4m in variables and clauses.

Lobotka joined Celta in 2017 from Danish side Nordsjaelland and the Slovakia international quickly established himself in Juan Carlos Unzue's team, playing every match in the 2017-18 campaign and starting 34 of them.

He remained a key player until his departure, often earning rave reviews with his enterprising blend of technical quality and combativeness.

The last Slovakian player to represent Napoli was Marek Hamsik, who went on to become a club icon after spending almost 12 years in Naples until last February.

Lobotka leaves a significant hole to fill for Celta, who are languishing just above the relegation zone in LaLiga, with goal difference the only metric keeping them out of the bottom three.

Christian Eriksen appears set to get his move away from Tottenham.

Out of contract at the end of the season, Eriksen has been keen to test himself elsewhere after moving to Spurs in 2013.

Inter look poised to bring the Denmark playmaker to Milan…

 

TOP STORY – INTER IN NEGOTIATIONS WITH SPURS OVER ERIKSEN

Inter have offered €10million (£8.5m) plus bonuses to Tottenham after agreeing personal terms with Spurs star Eriksen, claims Sky Sport Italia.

With Inter head coach Antonio Conte keen for midfield reinforcements and soon-to-be free agent Eriksen eyeing a new club, a transfer is reportedly on the horizon.

However, The Mirror reports that Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain are ready to rival Inter for Eriksen.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to Sky Sports Germany, Paul Pogba is likely to leave Manchester United at the end of the season. Recovering from ankle surgery, Pogba continues to be linked with LaLiga giants Real Madrid and former club Juventus.

Manchester City will reject any bids for centre-back John Stones as Premier League rivals Arsenal circle, says the Daily Mail.

- Corriere dello Sport reports Matteo Politano and Leonardo Spinazzola are set to swap clubs. Inter winger Politano will join Roma, while full-back Spinazzola will move to the Nerazzurri.

- According to Gianluca Di Marzio and Tuttomercatoweb, PSV are prepared to pay €6m for Milan full-back Ricardo Rodriguez.

- Globoesporte says LaLiga champions Barcelona are close to signing Palmeiras midfielder Matheus Fernandes.

Romelu Lukaku said leaving Manchester United for Inter was his best option after the star forward continued his red-hot form with a brace in the Coppa Italia.

Lukaku scored twice in Tuesday's 4-1 victory over Cagliari to take his season tally to 18 goals across all competitions for Inter since his club-record arrival at the start of the campaign.

The Belgium international opened the scoring after just 21 seconds, while he also headed in Inter's third in the second half at San Siro, where the Nerazzurri advanced to the quarter-finals.

"I must thank my team-mates, the coach, the backroom staff and the fans. Everyone has helped me from day one," Lukaku, who has scored six goals in his last four games, told Rai.

"Inter were my best option. I can grow here and I can give my contribution. My role is to help the team in any way and I know that the fans like this. I must keep this up.

"Obviously, scoring is the objective, however, I'm not just thinking about myself, but also the team. I'm here to achieve this and I hope to win something. However, for now, I'm only focused on Lecce."

Inter head coach Antonio Conte, who wanted to sign Lukaku during his time at Chelsea before finally getting his man this season, said: "You know that I don't like to talk too much about individuals. Romelu is proving his worth and he can still keep improving."

On the team following Saturday's 1-1 draw with Atalanta, which saw Inter drop two points behind Serie A champions Juventus in the race for the Scudetto, Conte added: "I'm really pleased, it was a great response from the lads. Even from those who've played less of late and those who were coming back from injury.

"I'm happy for [Nicolo] Barella, who is recovering after his injury and he was one of our starters today, as was [Alexis] Sanchez. He is an important player for us and slowly he'll get back to his best. I'm also pleased for Borja Valero, who proved himself once again today, as well as [Valentino] Lazaro, [Federico] Dimarco and [Andrea] Ranocchia, who haven't had many chances so far but all played really well. 

"There's real harmony among this group, they are a great bunch of lads that want to do well. I'm really pleased to be working with them. We rounded off an important first half of the season in the league, picking up 46 points despite our difficulties and they have now left us in a strong position.

"The second half of the campaign won't be easy but we've started on our journey and we want to keep growing, maintaining the right amount of patience to bring everything together."

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