Inter have confirmed the appointment of Simone Inzaghi as their new head coach.

The announcement comes a week after Inzaghi left his position at Lazio, having spent five years in charge at the Stadio Olimpico.

Serie A champions Inter had been seeking a replacement for Antonio Conte, who departed by mutual consent after securing the Nerazzurri a first league title since 2010.

A brief statement on the Inter website read: "FC Internazionale Milano welcomes Simone Inzaghi as the new coach of the first team: the coach has signed a two-year contract with the Nerazzurri club."

Inzaghi won 134, drew 45 and lost 72 of his 251 matches in all competitions while at Lazio, the only club where he has worked during his coaching career so far.

Lazio released a statement on their website last Thursday confirming his exit, though did not refer to Inzaghi by name.

"We respect the change of mind of a coach and, before that, of a player who for many years tied his name to the Lazio family and the many Biancocelesti successes," the statement read.

The former Italy international, younger brother of Filippo Inzaghi, takes over at a time when there is financial uncertainty at Inter, with media reports suggesting they will have to offload players to help balance the books.

Massimiliano Allegri was linked with the Inter vacancy too, but he returned to former club Juventus to replace Andrea Pirlo.

As for Conte, he has emerged as a potential candidate for Tottenham, having previously won the Premier League with Chelsea.

Inter have confirmed the appointment of Simone Inzaghi as their new head coach.

 

Kylian Mbappe's future continues to dominate headlines.

The Paris Saint-Germain star is a long-term target of Real Madrid.

With speculation over Cristiano Ronaldo's future, the two players could impact each other.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE OUT, RONALDO IN AT PSG?

Kylian Mbappe potentially joining Real Madrid could see Cristiano Ronaldo swap Juventus for Paris Saint-Germain, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

Mbappe has long been linked with LaLiga giants Madrid and a blockbuster move could impact Juve superstar Ronaldo.

If Ronaldo – also linked with Madrid and Manchester United – joins Ligue 1 powerhouse PSG, it could see Mauro Icardi leave Paris and land at Juve.

 

ROUND-UP

- Former Inter and Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte is in talks with Tottenham over a move to London, reports Gazzetta dello Sport and other media outlets. Conte is available after leaving Inter following their Serie A-winning season. Spurs have been linked with ex-coach and current PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino, but they appear keen on Conte. Tottenham are also reportedly close to appointing former Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici.

- The Telegraph claims Manchester City are willing to sell Bernardo Silva. It comes as City look to raise funds to bolster their attack after Sergio Aguero's exit amid strong links with Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland and Tottenham forward Harry Kane. Eintracht Frankfurt's Andre Silva has also emerged as a target, though Atletico Madrid and United have also been linked.

- Miralem Pjanic could return to Italy via former club Juve or Inter, says Sport. Pjanic has struggled for game time under Ronald Koeman at Barca.

United remain interested in signing Atletico and England right-back Kieran Trippier, according to the Daily Mail. The Red Devils are also working on a deal for Madrid defender Raphael Varane and are still targeting Jadon Sancho of Dortmund.

- Football Insider claims Celtic have finalised a deal for Yokohama F.Marinos boss Ange Postecoglou to take charge of the Scottish giants.

Christian Eriksen was stunned by Antonio Conte leaving Serie A champions Inter and does not know what it means for his own future at the club.

Former Tottenham and Ajax midfielder Eriksen won over Conte to become a regular starter in the second half of the season.

He previously admitted to not understanding Conte's tactical ways, but the Dane became increasingly influential during the Scudetto-winning campaign.

Inter's success meant it was jarring to many that Conte should leave by mutual consent last week following post-season talks with club leaders. Eriksen, currently preparing for Euro 2020 with Denmark, admitted he was among those staggered by the news.

"It was a huge surprise. It is very special when you have just won a championship with the team and the squad. I read about it like everyone else did. And all of a sudden he was gone," Eriksen told TV 2 SPORT.

"I had not seen it coming at all. We knew they were going to have this conversation, but they did too after last season. It came as a real football shock, because one did not have the feeling that he wanted to leave now."

Eriksen, 29, was a popular figure at Tottenham before opting to join Inter in January 2020, with his contract in London close to its end.

He may still have Premier League admirers, and Eriksen wants to know who will replace Conte before he reaches any decision on whether Inter remains the right place for him.

Former Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi appears the front-runner for the post.

"We do not have a coach right now, so what is going to happen, I do not know either," Eriksen said.

"I have no idea if it's good or bad for me. I have not really thought about it. I really just thought that the European Championships should start now. And that's what it's about now.

"Then I have to see if we have got a coach before the European Championships are over. And then you can take it from there. Right now it's about Denmark, and then Inter will be put aside."

In a mostly deep-lying role, Eriksen was not as influential to Inter in an attacking sense as he was during his Spurs career.

During his final full Premier League season at Tottenham, the 2018-19 campaign, Eriksen averaged 0.26 goals per 90 minutes, 0.39 assists and 2.37 chances created.

He managed three goals for Inter in their title-winning effort, at 0.19 per 90 minutes, but did not make a single league assist and created an average of 1.94 chances.

Eriksen said he had Conte to thank for becoming a league champion in Italy, as Inter ended a nine-year run of Serie A triumphs by Juventus.

"We had a professional relationship," he said, looking back at his time with Conte. "I had a good relationship with him. Of course, we probably had some different ideas about how football should be played and delivered.

"But personally there was nothing to put a finger on. It was about winning and that was what we did."

Juventus have confirmed Massimiliano Allegri has returned as their new head coach, taking over from Andrea Pirlo.

Rookie coach Pirlo could only manage a fourth-placed finish in Serie A in 2020-21, and a Coppa Italia triumph was not enough for the club legend to keep his job.

It is Allegri – who guided Juve to five straight Serie A titles and two Champions League finals between 2014 and 2019 – who Juve have turned to.

Using Opta data, Stats Perform analyses the key numbers and statistics from Allegri's first, trophy-laden spell in charge of the Old Lady.

RECORD SETTER

Juve's two highest-scoring seasons dating back as far as 1930 have both come under the stewardship of Allegri.

In fact, Allgeri is responsible three of the seven Juventus seasons during which they have netted 100 goals or more – alongside his predecessor Pirlo, Antonio Conte and Jesse Carver.

Allegri guided Juventus to 26 home wins in 2016-17 – the highest total produced by the club in a single campaign dating back to at least 1930 – while his 2017-18 season (which was also the campaign in which Juve netted 112 goals) saw the Bianconeri record 18 away wins, the most in any season since 1930.

 

TOP OF THE CHARTS

Only one coach in Juve's history, Giovanni Trapattoni, has overseen more league games than Allegri's 190.

Juve amassed 142 victories, giving Allegri a win percentage of 74.74, clear of second-placed Conte (72.81), who managed 83 triumphs from 114 matches.

During his five seasons with Juve, Allegri suffered just 20 league defeats, with his team scoring 380 goals and conceding 125 in return, averaging 2.39 points per game.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: ALLEGRI V CONTE

Allegri succeeded Conte at Juve in 2014, with the latter – who has just left Inter having guided the Nerazzurri to their first Serie A title in 11 years – taking over as Italy coach.

Conte spent three seasons with Juve, starting their title streak that Allegri and subsequently Maurizio Sarri would go on to continue.

In total, Allegri was in charge of Juve for 271 games in all competitions, overseeing 191 wins (a 70.48 success rate), 43 draws and 37 defeats.

Conte had 151 matches at the helm, recording 102 victories – 67.55 per cent – and 34 draws. However, his Juve team lost on just 15 occasions, at an average of five per season.

Is David de Gea's time at Manchester United coming to an end?

De Gea has spent a decade with the Red Devils but his form has been scrutinised in recent years.

A swap involving Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak could solve United's problems.

 

TOP STORY – DE GEA OUT, OBLAK IN?

Manchester United are lining up a swap deal involving star goalkeeper David de Gea and Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak, according to The Sun.

De Gea's future has been uncertain since Dean Henderson signed a long-term contract extension at United, who remain uncertain about the pair.

Spain international De Gea joined United from Atletico in 2011 and the Red Devils are prepared to offer the LaLiga giants a reunion in exchange for star Oblak.

 

ROUND-UP

- TV3 reports Barcelona have offered Lionel Messi a new contract. Messi's current deal is due to expire on June 30 and the superstar captain has been linked with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

Saul Niguez is adamant he wants to leave LaLiga champions Atletico and Juventus lead the race to sign the Spaniard, claims Marca. United – long-term admirers – Bayern Munich and PSG are also interested.

- PSG head coach Mauricio Pochettino is the favourite to replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid, says the front page of Friday's Mundo Deportivo. Zidane has announced his departure. Former Inter boss Antonio Conte, Castilla coach and club great Raul and Xabi Alonso – currently in charge of Real Sociedad's reserve side – are also on the list. Pochettino has also been linked with a sensational return to Tottenham.

Barca have held talks regarding goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, according to Fabrizio Romano. Donnarumma's Milan contract is due to expire and his departure is already confirmed. After talking with agent Mino Raiola, Barca are set to decide whether to sign Donnarumma, who has also been linked with Juve and United.

- Premier League champions City are looking to smash their transfer record to bring in £100million-rated Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish, reports the Daily Mail. City are also interested in Tottenham's Harry Kane – a target for rivals United, Chelsea, Madrid and Barca.

- The Telegraph says United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is set to sign a new three-year contract in Manchester. Solskjaer guided United to a second-placed finish in the Premier League, while the club were stunned by Villarreal in the Europa League final this season.

Barca are close to completing free transfers for Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum and Lyon star Memphis Depay, according to Mundo Deportivo. Ronald Koeman's men are also eyeing City's free agent pair Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia.

- FootMercato reports PSG have made an approach for star Milan full-back Theo Hernandez.

Chelsea and Tottenham both have strong interest in Borussia Monchengladbach attacker Jonas Hofmann, claims Sport1.

Antonio Conte celebrated the "journey" he has been on at Inter and the success of being able to "break the logic of mediocrity" after he decided to leave the Serie A champions.

Conte guided Inter to their first Scudetto since 2010 in the 2020-21 season, with the Nerazzurri ending Juventus' dominant nine-season streak.

Inter finished second and reached the Europa League final in Conte's first season at the club, but there was speculation he would leave then amid rumours of disagreements with the club's hierarchy.

Conte stayed on but, with speculation of a supposed dispute with the club's owners over salary cuts and player sales, his departure was confirmed on Wednesday.

Links to the now-vacant Real Madrid job have already started to surface, while Inter reportedly have to raise €100million by selling players ahead of next season, with the futures of star men Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez and Milan Skriniar uncertain.

But with his future up in the air for now, Conte used his official Instagram account to reflect on his time at Inter and thank the club's president Steven Zhang, who has been the subject of fan ire following the upheaval. 

"What a journey in these two years!" Conte posted.

"Every day we have made grow in us more and more strength, determination, will and sacrifice, managing to break the logic of mediocrity with which we are often surrounded.

"No excuses, but only work, work and work, combined with respect and education. We brought the Scudetto back to Inter after 11 years, but above all we brought Inter back to the place where history and tradition deserve to be.

"THANKS to who made this possible! Footballers, staff, president, managers and all those people who have helped and supported us in these two years.

"I would like to say to the Inter fans that in a very difficult period for everyone due to the pandemic, we have always felt their support, warmth and closeness.

"The image of the Scudetto Cup raised from the highest ring of San Siro with you in celebration, I will always carry it with me! THANK YOU!"

Inter lost just three league games to secure the title and finished with 91 points – 12 more than runners-up Milan.

Zinedine Zidane has stepped down as head coach of Real Madrid, ending weeks of mounting speculation over his future.

Zidane returned to Madrid for a second spell at the helm in March 2019, having led his former team to three consecutive Champions League successes from 2015-16 to 2017-18.

Last season, he added a LaLiga title to the one he collected in 2016-17, but Los Blancos finished 2020-21 without a trophy to their name – bowing out in the semi-finals of the Champions League and finishing second to city rivals Atletico Madrid domestically.

A significant rebuild appears to be needed at Madrid, with Zidane deciding he is not the man for that task as the club face up to a testing financial situation and the potential of a Champions League ban for their part in the doomed Super League project.

Nevertheless, the allure of Real Madrid remains considerable and plenty of big names will be in the frame.

Raul

Zidane cut his coaching teeth with Madrid's Castilla team and fellow club great Raul is now the man in that position.

Elevating Madrid's former record goalscorer to the top job would no doubt prove popular with fans but the decision to follow the Castilla-to-first-team template backfired horribly during Santiago Solari's four-and-a-half months in charge that preceded Zidane's return.

 

Antonio Conte

Former Juventus and Italy boss Conte has been on Real Madrid's radar previously and is now on the market once more having left Inter by mutual consent.

Conte led Inter to Scudetto glory this term, adding that success to league titles won at Juve and Chelsea. However, his habit of clashing with his employers would arguably not bode well for any union with Florentino Perez.

In the Champions League, Conte's record is far less impressive. But, if a ban is on the way, the 51-year-old has shown himself to be at his very best when coaching teams rigorously for one game per week. Circumstances might conspire to make the timing absolutely right if Madrid turn to the Italian.

Mauricio Pochettino

Another coach previously linked to the Madrid post in between Zidane's spells at the helm, Pochettino appeared to be the one that got away after joining Paris Saint-Germain midway through this season.

Yet, reports emerged this week that the Argentine is unsettled in the French capital and has held talks over a dramatic return to Tottenham.

If he is open to that, he would surely listen to anything Real Madrid have to say?

 

Joachim Low

Low will bring down the curtain on 15 years in charge of Germany after the forthcoming European Championship and is certainly the kind of big name to excite Los Blancos' fanbase and boardroom alike.

It is tempting to wonder how much of the shine has come off Low in the years since Germany won the 2014 World Cup, although a strong farewell showing at Euro 2020 would assuage most doubts.

Even so, returning to club management for the first time in almost two decades at the Santiago Bernabeu might be something of a culture shock.

Massimiliamo Allegri

Yes, yes, okay. He's going to Juventus, right? Has he gone there already?

The rapidly turning European managerial merry-go-round has Allegri set for a return to Turin, the with failed Andrea Pirlo experiment apparently only having hours left to run.

On the other hand, this time yesterday, Conte was still in a job and Pochettino was settled in Paris, so far as anyone knew. And Allegri is admired in Madrid. Don't rule this one out entirely, for at least the next five minutes.

Zinedine Zidane's second spell as head coach of Real Madrid is over after the club announced the departure of the Frenchman.

The former 'galactico', a majestic playmaker who dazzled crowds at the Santiago Bernabeu and beyond, Zidane returned to Madrid for two spells as coach.

Now his era is over, with Madrid stating on Thursday: "Real Madrid announces that Zinedine Zidane has decided to end his current spell as coach of our club.

"It is now time to respect his decision and show him our appreciation for his professionalism, dedication and passion in all these years, and for what he represents to Real Madrid.

"Zidane is one of Real Madrid's great icons and his legacy extends beyond what he has achieved as a coach and player at our club.

"He is aware that he has a place in the hearts of the Real Madrid fans and that he will always have a home at Real Madrid."

In his first spell, from January 2016 to May 2018, Zidane delivered an astonishing three successive Champions League triumphs and one LaLiga title.

Drawn back to the club in March 2019, his second tenure did not prove quite as successful, although he led Madrid to LaLiga success in the 2019-20 season.

He departs after a barren campaign on the trophy front, however, with Madrid losing early to minnows Alcoyano in the Copa del Rey, edged out by Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals, and pipped to the Spanish title by Atletico Madrid.

Zidane, 48, had been tipped to depart for weeks, with the confirmation of his exit coming as no surprise to most, although Madrid striker Karim Benzema told L'Equipe this week: "I don't see him leaving. He will not leave, you will see."

Now Madrid must find a worthy successor. Their former striker Raul has been linked with the post but is inexperienced, and Massimiliano Allegri emerged as an early favourite as whispers of Zidane's decision emerged.

However Allegri, who won a Serie A title with Milan in 2011 and added five more with Juventus, is reportedly returning to the Turin giants as a replacement for Andrea Pirlo.

Antonio Conte, who left Inter on Wednesday, may be in the Madrid frame, while Joachim Low, who will step down as Germany coach after Euro 2020, could also be a contender.

Whoever takes the job will inherit a side who finished 2020-21 in fine form.

Madrid ended their LaLiga campaign on an 18-game unbeaten run, winning 13 and drawing five in that sequence to apply pressure on one-time runaway leaders Atletico, taking the title battle to the final day.

That goes down as their best run without defeat in a single league season since Carlo Ancelotti's Madrid also strung together 18 unbeaten games in the 2013-14 campaign, winning 15 times.

Zinedine Zidane's second spell as head coach of Real Madrid is over after the club announced the departure of the Frenchman.

The former 'galactico', a majestic playmaker who dazzled crowds at the Santiago Bernabeu and beyond, Zidane returned to Madrid for two spells as coach.

Now his era is over, with Madrid stating on Thursday: "Real Madrid announces that Zinedine Zidane has decided to end his current spell as coach of our club.

"It is now time to respect his decision and show him our appreciation for his professionalism, dedication and passion in all these years, and for what he represents to Real Madrid.

"Zidane is one of the great mythical figures of Real Madrid and his legend goes beyond what he has been as a coach and player of our club.

"He knows that he is at the heart of Real Madrid and that Real Madrid is and will always be his home."

In his first spell, from January 2016 to May 2018, Zidane delivered an astonishing three successive Champions League triumphs and one LaLiga title.

Drawn back to the club in March 2019, his second tenure did not prove quite as successful, although he led Madrid to LaLiga success in the 2019-20 season.

He departs after a barren campaign on the trophy front, however, with Madrid losing early to minnows Alcoyano in the Copa del Rey, edged out by Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals, and pipped to the Spanish title by Atletico Madrid.

Zidane, 48, had been tipped to depart for weeks, with the confirmation of his exit coming as no surprise to most, although Madrid striker Karim Benzema told L'Equipe this week: "I don't see him leaving. He will not leave, you will see."

Now Madrid must find a worthy successor. Their former striker Raul has been linked with the post but is inexperienced, and Massimiliano Allegri emerged as an early favourite as whispers of Zidane's decision emerged.

However Allegri, who won a Serie A title with Milan in 2011 and added five more with Juventus, is reportedly returning to the Turin giants as a replacement for Andrea Pirlo.

Antonio Conte, who left Inter on Wednesday, may be in the Madrid frame, while Joachim Low, who will step down as Germany coach after Euro 2020, could also be a contender.

Whoever takes the job will inherit a side who finished 2020-21 in fine form.

Madrid ended their LaLiga campaign on an 18-game unbeaten run, winning 13 and drawing five in that sequence to apply pressure on one-time runaway leaders Atletico, taking the title battle to the final day.

That goes down as their best run without defeat in a single league season since Carlo Ancelotti's Madrid also strung together 18 unbeaten games in the 2013-14 campaign, winning 15 times.

Inter star Romelu Lukaku said he owes Antonio Conte "a lot" after penning a heartfelt farewell message to the former Nerazzurri head coach.

Conte guided Inter to their first Serie A title since 2010 but the Italian boss remarkably departed less than a month on from the club's Scudetto triumph by mutual consent on Wednesday.

The 51-year-old, who had another year remaining on his contract after arriving from Chelsea in 2019, had been tipped to leave amid Inter's financial situation and a supposed dispute over salary cuts and player sales.

Lured to San Siro by Conte in 2019, Lukaku paid tribute to the outgoing boss.

Lukaku wrote via Instagram: "2014 we spoke for the first time and we have had a bond ever since. We had many moments to work together but only god knows why it never happened earlier.

"You came at the right time and basically changed me as a player and made me even stronger mentally and more importantly we won together!

"Winning is and it's all that matters to you and I'm glad that I have had you as a coach.

"I will keep your principles for the rest of my career [physical preparation, mental and just the drive to win…] it was a pleasure to play for you!

"Thank you for all what you did. I owe you a lot…"

Former Italy boss Conte became only the second coach in Serie A history to win a Scudetto with both Inter and Juventus, joining Giovanni Trapattoni.

Conte earned his fourth Serie A title this season – only five other coaches in league history have managed at least four.

Inter gained more than 90 points in a single top-flight campaign for only the second time in their history (after 2006-07), while Conte became the first coach to achieve that tally with two different Serie A sides in the three-points-per-win era.

Lukaku scored 30 goals in all competitions this season and 24 in Serie A – only in 2016-17 for Everton did the Belgian score more (25) in a single campaign in one of Europe's top five leagues. 

Antonio Conte's departure from Inter sent shockwaves through Italian and European football on Wednesday.

Just weeks after leading the Nerazzurri to their first Scudetto in 11 seasons, Conte left San Siro by mutual consent, amid reports of the Inter board needing to slash the wage bill and sell star players.

The pursuit of major honours and a strained relationship with his bosses have been constant themes of a turbulent two seasons at Inter for the former Juventus, Italy and Chelsea boss.

Below are some of the highs and lows of his two-season tenure.

HIGHS

Winning Serie A

Having left another post abruptly, it remains to be seen what this episode does for Conte's standing when it comes to further elite coaching positions.

But there can be no doubt he gets results. Conte was brought in to bring down the Juventus dynasty he set in motion and his past three club jobs have now all yielded top-flight titles.

They romped to glory with 91 points this time around, meaning Conte is the first head coach in Serie A history to have gained in excess of 90 points at two clubs, having got 102 at Juve in 2013-14. He left after that one, as well.

Lukaku reborn

Conte is famously terrible at seeing eye to eye with his bosses and one of the reasons his tenure at Chelsea soured was the failure to bring Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge.

Lukaku's switch to Manchester United proved the wrong move for both parties and Conte finally got his man in 2019. The outcome has been fairly spectacular.

The Belgium striker's 72 Serie A appearances for Inter have yielded 47 goals, while his 64 in all competitions since the start of last season puts him joint fifth in Europe's top five leagues alongside Ciro Immobile, behind Robert Lewandowski (103), Cristiano Ronaldo (73), Kylian Mbappe (69) and Erling Haaland (65).

Kings of Milan

This is a moniker Lukaku applied to himself, mainly as a jibe in Zlatan Ibrahimovic's direction. But it applied just as much to Inter during Conte's spell in charge as they enjoyed some stirring victories over bitter rivals Milan.

Overall, in five Derby della Madonnina, Inter won four and lost one. Last season's 4-2 comeback win in Serie A from 4-2 down was an instant classic

Ibrahimovic opened the scoring, clashed angrily with Lukaku and was sent off in a feisty Coppa Italia clash this January. Lukaku then equalised from the penalty spot and Christian Eriksen sealed victory with a 97th-minute free-kick. Derby wins really do not come any sweeter.

 

LOWS

Europa League final heartache

If Conte is a specialist when it comes to domestic league titles, he fell short in the Europa League against the club that has mastered its vagaries better than any other.

Sevilla won the competition for the sixth time this century, prevailing 3-2 in a helter-skelter encounter in Cologne – Lukaku unfortunately deciding the contest with an own goal, having given Inter an early lead via a fifth-minute penalty.

The wider context around the loss probably sowed the seeds for the predicament in which Inter and Conte now find themselves.

Board room ructions

Having failed to lift European silverware and finished second in Serie A, despite Juventus showing some of the cracks that opened so widely this season, Conte was apparently ready to walk after a year in charge and talked cryptically about his prospects of carrying on.

From Lukaku and Eriksen to the likes of Achraf Hakimi, Alexis Sanchez and Ashley Young, Conte has been backed considerably in terms of transfer fees and wages at San Siro.

He rarely acknowledged this in public, frequently saying his squad needed new additions. Inter will have had a very good idea how all this was going to end if – as seems to be the case – cost-cutting is now so high on the agenda.

Champions League failure

Alongside the above concerns over his temperament, Conte's underwhelming results in the Champions League are another thing that will give prospective future employers pause for thought.

At Juventus and Chelsea, he never got particularly close to winning it and Inter, despite being handed a notably tough group alongside Real Madrid, Borussia Monchengladbach and Shakhtar Donetsk, bowed out at the round-robin stage in 2020-21, finishing bottom.

When he won the Premier League in 2016-17, Chelsea were not burdened by European football. There is unquestionably a disparity between Conte the one-game-a-week coach, who thrives on drilling his players with rigorous detail, and his returns when forced to battle on two fronts.

Inter's not-so-well-kept secret is out in the open and Antonio Conte has left the club by mutual consent despite ending an 11-year wait for Serie A glory this term.

Conte became the first coach in the three-points-for-a-win era to secure the title with 90-plus points with two different teams, having also done so as Juventus head coach.

But Conte's long-term future has often been shrouded in doubt and he was tipped to leave after defeat in last term's Europa League final to Sevilla.

Though he stayed put and brought the title to the Nerazzurri, things really began to escalate when owner Steven Zhang reportedly told Conte Inter's wage bill would need to be slashed and around €100million raised in player sales.

Conte has already headed for the exit door but there are plenty of others who may follow. Here are five players who would certainly draw interest from elsewhere.

ROMELU LUKAKU

With Inter seemingly in need of quick funds, the most obvious saleable asset in their ranks is Romelu Lukaku, a player who has flourished under Conte. This season, the Belgium star scored 24 goals and supplied 11 assists in Serie A – making him the first player to have 20-plus goals and 10-plus assists in a single top-flight campaign in Italy since Opta began collecting this kind of data in 2004-05.

Lukaku has been heavily linked to a return to the Premier League, with both former club Chelsea or Manchester City (the forward having signed from the Citizens' rivals Manchester United). He has 64 goals and 17 assists across all competitions for Inter, and could feasibly raise the money his club are looking for in one hit.

LAUTARO MARTINEZ

It was not so long ago Lukaku's strike partner Lautaro Martinez was tipped to join Barcelona. That move failed to materialise and, with Barcelona's own financial problems well documented, it would seem unlikely such a deal would be revisited in the near future. That being said, the Argentina striker is another who would be sure to attract several suitors for his signature. With 49 goals and 14 assists since joining Inter in 2018, Martinez is among the Nerazzurri's most prized assets.

CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN

It was only six months ago that Christian Eriksen appeared certain to depart Inter after a disappointing stint since joining from Tottenham in January 2020. But the Denmark playmaker enjoyed a renaissance since the turn of the year and was influential in Inter's success. There were no assists last term, but Eriksen did manage four goals, as well as creating 39 chances – five of which are defined as 'big chances' by Opta.

A return to Spurs was previously mooted, while Borussia Dortmund were also said to be interested. There are seemingly others more likely to leave but Eriksen may come on to a few radars and would take a decent chunk out of the wage bill.

NICOLO BARELLA

One of the brightest prospects in Italian football, Nicolo Barella recently made the Serie A Team of the Season for the second straight campaign and Inter would certainly look to sell others before their brilliant midfield maestro. Chelsea have been linked with a big-money move for the Italy international, but he would likely command a huge fee and Inter are said to be reluctant to sacrifice Barella.

The 24-year-old had 10 assists, created 11 big chances, 62 chances in total and had a passing accuracy of 84.58 per cent across all competitions in 2020-21.

ACHRAF HAKIMI

Achraf Hakimi joining from Real Madrid in July 2020, after spending two seasons on loan with Borussia Dortmund, represented a real coup for Conte. Arsenal have been tentatively linked with the attacking full-back, while his talents will be sure to draw interest from Europe's big hitters, even if Inter look to cash in on players elsewhere first. In 45 games across all competitions, Hakimi had seven goals, nine assists and 46 chances created. Twelve of those were big chances.

Antonio Conte has departed Inter by mutual consent less than a month on from clinching the Serie A title, the club have confirmed.

The 51-year-old guided the Nerazzurri to their first Scudetto since 2010 in just his second season in charge.

Conte, who also led Inter to the Europa League final in his first season at the San Siro helm, had another year to run on his contract.

However, amid a supposed dispute between the coach and the club's owners over salary cuts and player sales, it was confirmed on Wednesday that Conte will leave his role.

A club statement read: "FC Internazionale Milano can confirm that an agreement has been reached with Antonio Conte for the termination of his contract by mutual consent. 

"The club would like to thank Antonio for the extraordinary work that he has done, culminating in Inter's 19th top-flight title. Antonio Conte will forever remain a part of our club's history."

Conte's future as Inter boss has been in doubt since the club's financial problems were laid bare by chairman Steven Zhang.

The Italian champions are reportedly looking to raise €100million through player sales during the close season, with Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez being linked with moves away.

Conte did not speak to the media during the closing weeks of the Serie A season, but assistant Cristian Stellini stated last week that the former Chelsea and Juventus boss needed a high-level project the club must match.

Inter lost just three league games in 2020-21 and finished with 91 points – 12 more than runners-up Milan – though they exited the Champions League at the group stage and were knocked out of the Coppa Italia by Juventus in the semi-finals.

Conte also won three league titles during his time in charge of Juventus and is the only Serie A manager to have gained 90-plus points with two different sides in the three-points-per win era.

He departs Inter having won 52, drawn 17 and lost seven of his 76 Serie A matches.

Antonio Conte has departed Inter by mutual consent less than a month on from clinching the Serie A title, the club have confirmed.

The 51-year-old guided the Nerazzurri to their first Scudetto since 2010 in just his second season in charge.

Conte, who also led Inter to the Europa League final in his first season at the San Siro helm, had another year to run on his contract.

However, amid a supposed dispute between the coach and the club's owners over salary cuts and player sales, it was confirmed on Wednesday that Conte will leave his role.

 

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