Harry Kane remains at the centre of significant transfer speculation after the Tottenham striker failed to secure a move to Manchester City last year.

The England star appears more settled under Antonio Conte but has been linked with Bayern Munich recently.

Kane has started this Premier League campaign strongly, netting six goals in seven appearances.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA PLOTTING KANE-LUKAKU SWAP

New Chelsea boss Graham Potter wants to bring Harry Kane across town from Tottenham, claims Calciomercato.

The Blues boss is ready to offer Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku, currently on loan at Inter, as part of an exchange for Kane. The England forward's contract at Tottenham expires in 2024.

Chelsea are at the start of a new era after Potter replaced Thomas Tuchel, while they are set to appoint Salzburg's Christoph Freund as their new sporting director.

 

ROUND-UP

– Fichajes reports Atletico Madrid are desperate to add a versatile attacker to their squad next year, with Manchester United's Marcus Rashford, Brighton and Hove Albion's Leandro Trossard and Liverpool's Roberto Firmino on top of their wish list.

– Calciomercato claims Liverpool are considering a move for Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk. Newcastle United, Sevilla, Bayer Leverkusen and Ajax are also tracking the Ukrainian, according to CBS' Ben Jacobs. TalkSPORT reports that the Reds are also keeping an eye on Flamengo midfielder Joao Gomes .

– Manchester City are interested in a big-money move for Milan winger Rafael Leao next year, according to the Manchester Evening News.

– Football Insider reports West Ham have informed Manuel Lanzini he is free to leave the club in January.

– Former Italy international Fabio Cannavaro is close to a return to management with talks to take over at Serie B club Benevento progressing well, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Cristiano Ronaldo's future at Manchester United was a major source of speculation during the transfer window.

The 37-year-old Portuguese forward reportedly wanted to leave United in order to fulfil his desire to play Champions League football and challenge for trophies in the top leagues.

However, Ronaldo was unable to secure a move, with the likes of Napoli, Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid publicly distancing themselves from him following links, which may have led to another option being considered down the line.

TOP STORY – RONALDO TO RE-VISIT SAUDI OFFER IN JANUARY

Cristiano Ronaldo is reconsidering a lucrative offer from an unnamed Saudi Arabian club and could move in January, according to The Mirror.

Ronaldo had a stunning £211million Saudi offer during the transfer window but declined the move as he remained focused on playing in Europe.

But he will re-visit that in January after failing to secure a move, as he comes to the realisation his desire to play Champions League football and win trophies in top leagues may be fading.

Ronaldo has also struggled for game time this season at United under new boss Erik ten Hag, starting just one out of six Premier League games so far.

ROUND-UP

– L'Equipe claims that Kylian Mbappe's Paris Saint-Germain contract expires in 2024 and not 2025, as that final year is at the sole discretion of the player. Mbappe was close to joining Real Madrid last term before signing a lucrative extension with PSG.

Inter are eager to work on a contract extension for defender Milan Skriniar who is out of contract at the end of this season, reports L'Interista. The Slovakian defender was pursued by PSG during the last transfer window, while Tottenham were also credited with an interest.

Arsenal will look to loan out 19-year-old Brazilian winger Marquinhos in order to gain first-team experience and game time, reports FourFourTwo. As a result, the Gunners will aim to bring in a short-term replacement in January.

N'Golo Kante has declined a new two-year deal with Chelsea and is out of contract in 2023, claims The Athletic.

– UOL says  Brighton and Hove Albion are interested in hiring Palmeiras boss Abel Ferreira to replace Graham Potter, who exited for Chelsea last week.

Champions League football resumes on Tuesday, with Robert Lewandowski's return to Bayern Munich with Barcelona being an obvious highlight.

Barcelona travel to Bavaria in a match few would be disappointed to see replicated in next year's final, with Atletico Madrid also travelling to Germany to take on Bayer Leverkusen.

After Premier League football was suspended at the weekend as a mark of respect following the death of the Queen, Liverpool are back in action against Ajax and are seeking to respond to a defeat to Napoli last week, while Tottenham travel to face Sporting CP.

Elsewhere, Inter face Viktoria Plzen after both sides lost their opening fixture and Eintracht Frankfurt, following defeat to Sporting, travel to Marseille – and the only remaining match of the day is Porto against Brugge.

For a closer look at all the action you can look forward to, Stats Perform has dived into the Opta data to highlight the most interesting facts for each match.

Bayern vs Barcelona

Scoring a hat-trick on his Champions League debut for Barcelona against Viktoria Plzen, Lewandowski returns to Bavaria with a devastating record this season and his goals in the 5-1 triumph saw Barcelona scoring more in one game than they had in their previous nine matches in the competition (4).

While that will give the visitors confidence, Barcelona have a poor record against the Bundesliga champions having suffered eight defeats in the competition to Bayern – twice as many as they have lost against any other opponent (4 vs Milan, Chelsea and PSG).

Four of those losses have come in the group stages, with Bayern winning both matches in 1998-99 and 2021-22 to boast a 100 per cent record against Barcelona in that regard, who have not lost more than twice against any other opponent in the group stage.

On top of that, Bayern have won 35 of their last 37 home matches in the group stages of the Champions League – the only exceptions being a 3-2 defeat to Manchester City in December 2013 and a 1-1 draw with Ajax in October 2018.

Liverpool vs Ajax

Liverpool won both meetings with Ajax in the 2020-21 Champions League group stages, the only campaign in the competition when they have met, with the Dutch side not beating Liverpool in any competition since a 5-1 win in December 1966.

Ajax's defeat to Liverpool in December 2020 is one of only two defeats that the Eredivisie champions have experienced in their last 25 matches (W13, D10) away from home in UEFA competition, the other being a 2-0 defeat to Getafe in February 2020 in the Europa League.

Having suffered defeat to Napoli last week, Liverpool are looking to avoid back-to-back defeats to start a Champions League campaign for the first time, while they have only lost their first home match in two of their previous 46 major European campaigns (W35, D9).

With seven Champions League wins in a row, Ajax travel to Anfield with a stellar run in the competition as only Bayern (8) boast a better winning streak currently.

Sporting vs Tottenham

While the two sides have never met competitively, Sporting are winless in all six of their Champions League matches against English opposition (D1, L5) and have lost all three of those games in Lisbon without scoring a single goal.

Tottenham's record against Portuguese opponents is scarce, winning against Pacos de Ferreira in the qualifying phases for the 2021-22 Europa League but not facing an opponent from the country in the Europe's premier competition since a 4-3 aggregate defeat to Benfica in the 1962-63 semi-final.

Sporting have never won their opening two matches in the Champions League, while Antonio Conte is looking to follow in the footsteps of Mauricio Pochettino as Spurs seek back-to-back wins to open a Champions League campaign for the first time since 2017-18 season under the Argentine.

Bayer Leverkusen vs Atletico

Neither side has a particularly good record to encourage them heading into Tuesday's tie, with Leverkusen having won just four of their last 20 Champions League matches (D8, L8), while Atletico have only kept one clean sheet in 21 away matches against German opposition in major UEFA competitions.

Atletico have only won one of four away matches against Leverkusen, a 4-2 victory in February 2017 in the Champions League, and have won only one of their last seven matches in Germany – though that was the match in 2017.

Late drama is to be expected whenever Atletico compete in the Champions League, with five of their last 10 goals in the competition coming in the 90th minute of matches.

Other fixtures:

Viktoria Plzen vs Inter

8 - Viktoria Plzen have won their last eight home European matches (including qualifiers), scoring at least twice in every win (21 in total). They have only lost one of their last 19 on home soil in European football (W16 D2), a 5-0 reverse against Real Madrid during their last UEFA Champions League campaign in November 2018.

2 - Since the start of the 2020-21 campaign, Inter striker Lautaro Martínez has scored just two goals from 48 shots (inc. blocks) in the UEFA Champions League. The Argentine’s shot conversion rate of 4.2 per cent (including blocks) is the lowest of any player to have attempted 30+ shots during this period.

Porto vs Brugge

3 - Porto have lost their last three UEFA Champions League matches, with two of those coming against Atletico; they have never lost four in a row in the competition before.

1 - In major European competition, Club Brugge have lost five of their six away matches in Portugal (W1), their one win coming against Sporting Braga in September 2011 in the UEFA Europa League.

Marseille vs Eintracht Frankfurt

15 - Marseille have lost 15 of their last 16 UEFA Champions League matches (W1), with the exception coming in their last home game in the competition in December 2020 against Olympiacos.

2 - Marseille and Eintracht Frankfurt will face in European competition for only the second time, also meeting in the 2018-19 UEFA Europa League group stages. Frankfurt won both matches (2-1 away, 4-0 home).

Marcelo Brozovic hailed Inter's resolve after he snatched a 89th minute winner in their 1-0 victory over Torino.

The Serie A heavyweights moved back into the top four thanks to some late heroics at San Siro, after a particularly toothless performance from Simone Inzaghi's men.

On the back of a derby defeat to Milan a week prior, followed by a lacklustre loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, the Nerazzurri had been hunting a crucial three-point haul this weekend.

Speaking afterwards, Brozovic did not understate the crucial nature of coming away on the winning side, and hopes the side can use it as a springboard to a stronger run.

"This is a really important victory, because it is a tough match," he told DAZN. "Torino are one-on-one all over the field. It was difficult.

"We needed this. In some games, we [have been] unable to do what we wanted. Now, we need to keep going and win. It is a victory for all of us and we hope for more."

Inzaghi doubled down on the importance of the result, and praised his team for their willingness to take a blow along the way.

"We knew that we'd have to suffer today," he added. "Our fans were with us to the end. I liked the fighting spirit. Games like this are very, very important to win.

"I wanted this, for us to get back to winning ways. We know the pressure is always on. Seeing the team work together in difficult circumstances, that is the most pleasing for a coach."

A last-gasp volley from Marcelo Brozovic spared Inter's blushes as they overcame Romelu Lukaku's absence to snatch a late 1-0 win against Torino in Milan.

The Croatian latched onto Nicolo Barella's lob into the box in the 89th minute to steer the ball just beyond Vanja Milinkovic-Savic and spark wild celebrations.

Inter, still without the injured Lukaku following his absence for their midweek UEFA Champions League loss to Bayern Munich, had looked lacklustre throughout, without a cutting edge.

But Simone Inzaghi will still take this victory with all the jubilation it was greeted with, while Ivan Juric will be left to rue what could have been for his stubborn visitors.

All eyes turn to one of the biggest derbies in world football this weekend, as Milan and Inter battle it out at the San Siro.

The two arch-rivals went toe-to-toe in the hunt for the Serie A title last season, with Milan emerging victorious on the final day to clinch the league crown for the first time since 2011.

Stefano Pioli's side have begun their title defence with an unbeaten start to the campaign, securing two wins and two draws, while Inter have won three of four, losing to Lazio last Friday.

Still early in the season, a single point separates the two and bragging rights are on the cards on Saturday, though neither side has a particularly good record against one another in recent years.

Milan seek to end poor derby return

A 2-1 victory over Inter in February, where Olivier Giroud netted a brace, puts Milan in hunt of consecutive league wins against Inter for the first time since 2011 – which were the first two league derbies played under Massimiliano Allegri.

While they were victorious in that particular clash, the two Coppa Italia semi-final ties in March and April saw Milan unable to score in either tie, meaning they could go three consecutive derbies without scoring for the first time since 1980.

Milan's last win as the designated host at San Siro against Inter came in Serie A back in January 2016, with Inter winning three and drawing three against the Rossoneri since then.

 

Inzaghi's unwanted record

Simone Inzaghi has only won one point in his first two derbies in Serie A since joining the Nerazzurri and is seeking a win to prevent an unwanted record, as failure to do so would see him become the first Inter coach not to win any of his first three matches against Milan in the top-flight since Osvaldo Bagnoli in 1993 (D2 L1).

In order to secure victory, Inter could turn to Joaquin Correa who has scored four goals in Serie A against Milan, more than any other side. The Argentine has also scored four goals in his last five appearances in the competition, having gone goalless in his previous 18.

Either way, there should be goals and a victor as Inter are the only team, excluding relegated and promoted sides, not to draw a Serie A match since last April.

During that sequence, Inter have 11 wins, at least three more than any other team, and two losses – one of which was the 3-1 defeat to Lazio last Friday.

 

Leao vs Lautaro

Having fended off transfer interest from Chelsea, Rafael Leao is set to make his 100th Serie A appearance in Saturday's game and the Brazilian's record sees him stand as one of the finest young players in the division.

Among players born since 1999, Leao has provided 16 Serie A assists, more than anyone else, and has scored 24 goals – putting him behind only Juventus' Dusan Vlahovic (55) and Inter's Andrea Pinamonti (25), who is on loan at Sassuolo.

With Romelu Lukaku absent through injury, Inter will turn to Lautaro Martinez to find the difference and the Argentine enters the tie in a fine vein of form.

Martinez has been involved in a goal in each of his first four appearances this season (three goals, one assist), only Zlatan Ibrahimovic (2007-08) and Nicolo Barella (2021-22) have had a hand in a goal in their first Serie A appearances in a second for Inter since 2004-05, when Opta started collecting assist data.

 

Pioli's perfect return

Though Milan's recent record against Inter does not make for pretty reading, their overall record heading into Saturday's derby is encouraging as they have won five consecutive home matches in Serie A.

A sixth in a row with victory against Inter would see Milan hit that tally for the first time since August 2014, under Clarence Seedorf and Filippo Inzaghi.

Milan's defence is also looking strong, having kept a clean sheet in their last two Serie A matches. A third this weekend would see Milan secure three clean sheets in the first five top-flight seasonal games in three campaigns in a row for the third time in their history (after 1952-23, 1953-54, 1954-55 and 1978-79, 1979-1980 and 1981-1982).

With the transfer window closing on Thursday, some clubs will be scrambling to assess their options.

There may be some movement of free agents still, while clubs who missed out on targets will be weighing up their chances in January with contractual situations evolving.

Inter defender Milan Skriniar is one player who was heavily pursued without success and who will have only six months left on his contract at the turn of the year. 

TOP STORY – PSG TO PERSIST IN SKRINIAR PURSUIT IN JANUARY

Paris Saint-Germain will revive their failed pursuit of Milan Skriniar in January, according to L'Equipe.

PSG made three offers for the Slovakian defender which were rebuffed by the Italian giants, including one worth €50million.

Skriniar is into the final year of his Inter deal and PSG boss Christophe Galtier had been eager to bring him to the French capital.

ROUND-UP

– Napoli will try to sign PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas again in January after missing out on him, reports L'Equipe. The report claims the Costa Rica international and PSG may opt to terminate his contract by mutual consent before January.

Marco Asensio had been linked with Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool in recent weeks but he has committed to seeing out his Real Madrid contract which expires in mid-2023, according to Mundo Deportivo.

– The Telegraph reports Blackburn Rovers will be open to pre-contract offers to their hot property forward Ben Brereton Diaz in January after rejecting bids from Fulham and Everton. The Chile international has less than 12 months remaining on his deal at Ewood Park.

Chelsea are expected to be one of the major players on deadline day, having completed a deal for Wesley Fofana on Wednesday.

The Blues have been one of the big spenders during the transfer window and owner Todd Boehly is eager to bolster his squad after a slow start to the season.

Barcelona forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been linked with the Blues, along with Anthony Gordon, although Everton boss Frank Lampard insists he is not for sale.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA OFFERED CHANCE TO SIGN PSG'S NEYMAR

The Daily Mail claims Chelsea have been offered the chance to sign Neymar, but the Times reports that Paris Saint-Germain are now refusing to sell him in an apparent U-turn.

The 30-year-old Brazil international had been linked with a move away from Paris during the off-season, although nothing substantial materialised.

Chelsea were approached about Neymar, with PSG potentially open to letting him go as they seek to avoid any issues with UEFA's Financial Fair Play guidelines.

ROUND-UP

Chelsea have made a €50 million (£43m) bid for Ajax centre-back Edson Alvarez, according to the Telegraaf. The Blues have already added Fofana but want more reinforcements, with the Mexican able to also play in midfield.

Chelsea are also interested in Aubameyang, with Fabrizio Romano claiming negotiations are progressing with Marcos Alonso involved in a deal with Barcelona. The Blues have also been linked with Milan's Rafael Leao, according to The Times.

– Mundo Deportivo reports that Barcelona and Inter have agreed to a deal for full-back Jordi Alba to join the Nerazzurri on loan. The deal is on the basis that Robin Gosens leaves Inter for Bayer Leverkusen.

Milan are set to win the race to sign Barcelona's Sergino Dest, beating out interest from Manchester United, claims Gianluca Di Marzio. Dest will join the Rossoneri on a season-long loan with the option of a permanent deal.

Newcastle United are in the race to sign Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans, claims the Mail. Arsenal are also interested in the Belgium international.

Fulham have submitted a bid for Blackburn's Chile international Ben Brereton Diaz according to The Athletic. Rovers boss Jon Dahl Tomasson has said he would cost a lot of money, with Fulham's offer not disclosed.

– PSV have opted against selling 23-year-old Netherlands international Cody Gakpo amid interest from Leeds United and Southampton, reports The Athletic.

Inter have confirmed Romelu Lukaku will be absent for at least a week with a thigh injury.

The Belgian forward sustained the issue in a training session on Sunday and will be reassessed next week, though his absence means he will miss two crucial games for the Nerazzurri.

Lukaku will be forced to watch on in Tuesday's Serie A clash against Cremonese and will remain absent for the derby against defending champions Milan this weekend.

It is also likely that the Chelsea loanee will not be able to feature when Inter commence their Champions League campaign against Bayern Munich next week.

A statement on Inter's website confirmed Lukaku had suffered an injury to the flexor of his left thigh and said his condition will be re-evaluated next week.

Reports in Italy have suggested Lukaku could be out for a longer period of 20 days, which would mean missing further clashes against Torino and Udinese in Serie A and Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League.

Inter have picked up six points from their opening three league matches, beating Lecce and Spezia before defeat to Lazio on Friday.

Manchester United have come in for huge criticism following their poor start to the season.

United have failed to land major off-season transfer targets and are eager to add reinforcements.

The start of Erik ten Hag's tenure as manager has been hugely disappointing, with back-to-back Premier League defeats.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD TURN TO VARDY TO SOLVE STRIKER ISSUES

Manchester United are considering a bid for Leicester City forward Jamie Vardy to solve their striker conundrum, claims The Athletic.

The Red Devils have endured a frustrating transfer window and have only netted once in their opening two league games.

Vardy is among a number of targets United are keen on, having also been linked with Barcelona's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to The Sun.

 

ROUND-UP

– TalkSPORT claims Manchester United are getting close to a €50million (£42m) deal for Atletico Madrid's Brazilian forward Matheus Cunha. The 23-year-old joined Atletico from Hertha Berlin last year on a five-year deal.

Chelsea are closing in on a deal for Inter's Cesare Casadei, according to Calciomercato. Inter have set their asking price at €15m (£12.5m) plus €5m in bonuses, which the Blues are edging closer to meet. The deal may aid Romelu Lukaku sealing a permanent switch to the Nerazzurri.

– Talks are ongoing between Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus on agreeing a move for Leandro Paredes, reports Fabrizio Romano. Personal terms have been agreed between the Argentinian and the Bianconeri on a long-term deal.

Wolves will sign Portuguese midfielder Matheus Nunes for a club-record fee of €45m (£38m) plus €5m in add-ons from Sporting CP, according to Record. Liverpool, West Ham and Manchester City had been tracking Nunes.

– Diario Sport claims Barcelona may be willing to let Samuel Umtiti exit as a free agent amid interest from various unnamed clubs. Umtiti, who is contracted at Camp Nou until 2026, has struggled with injuries during his time at the Blaugrana.

Paris Saint-Germain have been open about wanting three more new signings before the transfer window closes.

PSG head coach Christophe Galtier also explained that among those was the desire to bring in a forward.

The French champions have already sealed the services of Renato Sanches, Nordi Mukiele, Hugo Ekitike, Vitinha and Nuno Mendes during the off-season.

TOP STORY – PSG IN TALKS WITH MAN UTD'S RASHFORD

PSG have opened talks with Marcus Rashford's representatives about joining the Ligue 1 club from Manchester United, according to L'Equipe.

The England international striker is contracted with United until 2023, having signed a four-year deal in 2019 with the option to extend by a further year.

Sky Sports, however, claims that PSG are unlikely to follow up on their initial interest, having first enquired about Rashford last week.

ROUND-UP

Manchester City are targeting Atletico Madrid's Brazilian Renan Lodi as they look to add a new left-back, according to The Telegraph. City want to bolster their options in the position following Oleksandr Zinchenko's departure for Arsenal. City are also considering Arsenal left-back Kieran Tierney, claims 90min.

– Foot Mercato reports that Italian champions Inter are looking at Nice defender Jean-Clair Todibo as a possible replacement for Martin Skriniar, should he leave. Todibo also has interest from PSG and Chelsea . Inter have also been linked to Borussia Dortmund's Swiss defender Manuel Akanji along with Lazio veteran Francesco Acerbi.

– Chelsea's Emerson Palmieri is drawing interest from both Nottingham Forest and Atalanta, according to the Evening Standard. The 28-year-old left-back is being squeezed out at Stamford Bridge following Marc Cucurella's arrival.

Napoli and Argentina international forward Giovanni Simeone have reached a verbal agreement, reports Sky Sport Italia. Simeone is set to join Napoli on loan from Hellas Verona, but Sky Sport Italia claims Juventus are prepared to poach him at the last minute.

Serie A returns on Saturday, with Milan looking to retain their title after a first Scudetto triumph in 11 years.

The Rossoneri have brought in Belgium duo Charles De Ketelaere and Divock Origi to bolster Stefano Pioli's squad as they prepare to face another challenge from rivals Inter.

Simone Inzaghi will have his own Belgium international striker Romelu Lukaku to call on again after he was brought back on loan from Chelsea.

How will those clubs fare, who is likely to be their closest challengers, and who will be fearing the drop from Italy's top flight?

Stats Perform AI has predicted the outcome of the campaign, estimating the likelihood of teams finishing in each position informed by their expected results in each match.

These are calculated using betting odds and Stats Perform's team rankings – based on historical and recent team performances – and have thrown up some interesting results, with a heavy favourite for top spot.

INTER TO TAKE THEIR TITLE BACK WITH FAMILIAR FACE ON BOARD

In the end, there were just two points in it.

A fascinating battle between Milan and Inter last season saw Pioli's men edge the title with 86 points after a 3-0 win at Sassuolo on the final day.

Despite the impressive way Milan closed out that title, the data makes Inter 47.97 per cent favourites to regain it in 2022-23.

The return of Lukaku is likely to be a big reason for that, with the 29-year-old having scored 47 goals in 72 Serie A games prior to joining Chelsea last year, and he played a major part in Inter's Scudetto win in 2020-21.

Milan's chances are surprisingly not even second best, with the data suggesting there is a 16.43 per cent likelihood of them retaining their title, with Juventus judged to have a slightly better 17.93 per cent chance.

Napoli are deemed to have a 13.75 per cent chance, with no other team being considered to have any more than a two per cent chance, including Jose Mourinho's Roma at 1.99 per cent.

 

TOP FOUR FIGHT EXPECTED TO BE MORE OF THE SAME

There was very little drama in the race for the Champions League spots last season, with Napoli and Juventus well out of the title fight but clear of fifth place with multiple games to go.

Stats Perform AI expects the same four teams to take up those spots again, albeit in a different order, with Juve in second, Milan third and Napoli fourth.

The positive numbers for the Bianconeri are likely to be a result of Serbia striker Dusan Vlahovic having a full season to lead the line, along with big name additions of Paul Pogba and Angel Di Maria.

Napoli could be the most at risk after losing several key players since the end of last season, including Kalidou Koulibaly, Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens, but they are still given a 73.09 per cent chance of Champions League qualification.

In the chasing pack, Roma are given a 30.18 per cent chance of a top four spot and Stats Perform AI believes Mourinho's men are the likeliest team to finish in one of the two Europa League places, with no team given a greater chance than the Giallorossi's 19.58 per cent.

Atalanta have a 20.64 per cent chance of getting back into the top four, though are still deemed likely to improve on last season's eighth place as favourites for sixth and qualification for the Europa League (18.56 per cent).

That leaves Lazio with a 17.09 per cent chance of seventh and a Europa Conference League spot, though Fiorentina (11.10), Hellas Verona (8.45) and Sassuolo (8.34) are not counted out entirely.

 

CREMONESE UNLIKELY TO RISE TO THE TOP

It is not too much of a surprise to see the promoted teams are predicted to be facing a tough task to stay up.

Cremonese are the favourites for the drop at 63.41 per cent, with Lecce (47.10 per cent) also expected to head back to Serie B at the end of the campaign.

Second favourites for relegation, though, are last year's 17th place team Salernitana, who avoided relegation by a single point ahead of Cagliari. Davide Nicola's side are handed a 58.10 per cent chance of failing to escape this time.

Monza came up through the play-offs and have made a number of new signings, including former Inter players Andrea Ranocchia and Stefano Sensi, which could be why they are given just a 27.92 per cent chance of going back down, slightly ahead of Empoli at 25.17 per cent.

Only four teams are given a zero per cent chance of relegation, which unsurprisingly is last season's top four.

Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi tried to look on the bright side after his team were beaten 4-2 by Villarreal in their final pre-season outing before the new Serie A campaign.

The contest in Pescara on Saturday saw Romelu Lukaku find the net for the second time since returning to the Nerazzurri on loan from Chelsea, while Danilo D'Ambrosio also scored.

However, goals for the Yellow Submarine from Alfonso Pedraza (two), Francis Coquelin and Nicolas Jackson gave Unai Emery's side an impressive win over the Italian giants.

Speaking after the game, Inzaghi simply said: "These tests help to grow, and there are things to review, but we played against a team that last year reached the Champions League semi-final."

Since beating FC Lugano 4-1 in their first pre-season outing, Inter have not won any of their four subsequent friendlies, drawing with Monaco and Lyon and losing to Lens and Villarreal.

Dutch centre-back Stefan de Vrij was more direct in his words, saying post-game: "Too many goals conceded. We have to keep working, because that's not enough."

Inter begin their Serie A campaign away to Lecce on August 13, as they look to reclaim the Scudetto after losing out to local rivals Milan last season.

 

Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi insisted his team are "on the right track" in their preparations for the new season, despite suffering a surprise 1-0 friendly defeat to Lens.

Saturday's friendly in France was a cagey affair, ultimately decided by a 91st-minute winner for the hosts when Lois Openda flicked on a corner at the near post, which looped into the far corner of the net.

Lens, who finished seventh in Ligue 1 last season, provided a stern test for their Serie A opponents, who fielded several of their new faces - including Romelu Lukaku and Henrikh Mkhitaryan as second-half substitutes.

They were unable to make a difference though, with Lens goalkeeper Brice Samba - recently signed from Premier League side Nottingham Forest - making several important saves.

Inzaghi felt it was a good exercise for Inter, who will be striving to regain the Serie A title next season after being dethroned by city rivals Milan.

Amid growing speculation in recent months, Christophe Galtier and Luis Campos' arrivals at Paris Saint-Germain this off-season could mean Neymar's departure.

The Brazilian joined PSG in 2017 for what remains a world-record €222 million fee from Barcelona, but there has been no European silverware to complement nine Ligue 1 titles over the past decade.

Lionel Messi linked up alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe last term but the team's compatibility came under examination in their dramatic Champions League exit, despite winning Ligue 1 comfortably.

TOP STORY – PSG PROPOSED NEYMAR SWAP WITH MAN CITY

PSG proposed an exchange with Manchester City which would have seen Neymar and Bernardo Silva swap clubs earlier this off-season, Le Parisien claims.

The report alleges that the English champions declined the deal, as they are unwilling to let the Portuguese midfielder go.

Relations between Neymar, who is contracted until 2017, and PSG have been slightly testy recently.

Bernardo was linked with a switch to Barcelona earlier in the off-season, having reportedly been eager to leave the club last year.

 

ROUND-UP

– Chelsea are concerned that target Presnel Kimpembe will decline their approach, the Standard claims. The Blues are in talks with PSG over a £50m deal for Kimpembe.

– The Sun reports that Chelsea have also entered the race to sign Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona, amid the latter's talks with Manchester United.

– Calciomercato claims that Tottenham have shown an interest in Roma's Nicolo Zaniolo although they will need to offload players to afford him.

– Spurs are not interested in signing Jesse Lingard according to Fabrizio Romano, meanwhile. Lingard, who left Manchester United recently at the conclusion of his contract, is hoping to decide on his future this week, with West Ham United believed to be his likely destination, while Nottingham Forest are also interested.

– Fabrizio Romano also claims that there is still no agreement between PSG and Inter on a deal for Martin Skriniar. Inter are not willing to sell the Slovakia international for PSG's last bid of €50m.

– Arsenal and Manchester City have agreed to a £32m deal for Ukraine international Oleksandr Zinchenko, reports Sky Sports.

– Football Insider reports that Liverpool have contacted Ajax about signing their Brazil international winger Antony.

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