Lautaro Martinez's agent Alejandro Camano is not surprised by reports linking the Inter forward with Bayern Munich, insisting the Argentine is one of the world's top 10 players.

Martinez scored 21 goals in 35 league outings as Inter finished as Serie A runners-up last season, and has begun the new campaign with three strikes in eight top-flight appearances.

With Bayern struggling in the Bundesliga after opting against signing a direct replacement for Robert Lewandowski in the recent transfer window, the Bavarian giants have been touted as potential suitors for Martinez.

Camano told TyC Sports such interest does not come as a surprise and revealed the 25-year-old rejected transfer offers in the latest window in order to focus on Inter.

"I wouldn't be surprised because there are always requests, but Lautaro has very clear ideas," he said about the Bayern reports.

"Today he thinks about Inter and the World Cup.

"In the last market there were possibilities to leave for impressive figures, but he has understood that it was better not to change.

"Lautaro is among the top 10 players in the world, and although I have many calls, he has two priorities by the end of the year: Inter and the national team. 

"He is mature, with a nice family to accompany him, with an atmosphere of tranquillity, which is always important. He feels loved by Italians and Argentines.

"He started the year with a beautiful project, with an Inter that was built in a powerful way. The truth is that winning the World Cup would be the icing on the cake for him."

Alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria, Martinez has impressed in a fluid Argentina attack recently, with Lionel Scaloni leading his side to a 35-match unbeaten run.

Argentina are just two games short of matching Italy's record 37-match unbeaten run in international football, and Camano believes they will be serious contenders at the World Cup.

"Not only are Argentina a candidate, but those of us who know Lionel Scaloni know that he has the same leadership mentality he had when he played," he added. 

"Lautaro's hope is the same as the others - they want to make people happy.

"Winning a World Cup is not easy, but the team is ready to reach this goal."

Under pressure Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi is optimistic that Tuesday's 1-0 Champions League win over Barcelona "marks the beginning of something".

The Nerazzurri boss has come under fire following his side's inconsistent start to the season, with Sunday's 2-1 loss to Roma leaving them with 12 points from eight Serie A games. Inter have conceded 13 goals in those eight games too.

Defeat on Tuesday would have left Inter perilously placed in third in their Champions League group, having lost to Bayern Munich 2-0 at home on the opening matchday.

Instead Inzaghi, amid a school of thought he may lose his job if Inter lost to the Blaugrana on Tuesday, is looking for a new beginning for the Nerazzurri.

"We'd been waiting a long time for this, I am happy for the fans and the club, but we’ve achieved nothing yet, it needs to be a wonderful night that marks the beginning of something," Inzaghi told Sky Sport Italia.

"I wouldn't say it was unexpected. I said yesterday it was a great opportunity against one of the best teams in the world. We played with aggression, determination, as it’s the only way to beat these opponents."

Inzaghi, who took over after Antonio Conte's split with the club following their 2020-21 Serie A title, lifted two trophies last season, the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana, but ultimately fell short in the race for the Scudetto to Milan.

"I continue my work, there are moments that happen and I keep my head held high, because my staff, players and the club have done some great things over the last 15 months," he said.

"I saw a squad that is solid and fights together, otherwise you don’t get a result like this. I am happy, but these lads are the same ones who gave me two trophies just a few months ago and they know more than anyone we now have ground to make up."

Inter forward Lautaro Martinez promised Tuesday's result would usher in charge.

"Tonight is a special evening because it was a victory we needed," the Argentine told Inter TV. "Because of the way it arrived we enjoy it even more.

"We were in a period when the results were not coming, today we needed a win and it has arrived. From here on, things will change."

Goal scorer Hakan Calhanoglu, who netted his first Champions League goal since September 2016, added: "This game can really shake us up and change our season, because we want to build on it.

"As for qualification, we’ve got to stay calm and take it one game at a time."

Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi believes his team need to play with "aggression and determination" against Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Inzaghi is under fire after a run that has seen Inter lose four of their last six in all competitions, with a 2-1 home defeat to Roma at the weekend leaving the Nerazzurri ninth in Serie A, already eight points behind joint-leaders Napoli and Atalanta.

And Tuesday's match will see them host a Barcelona side in red-hot form, top of LaLiga and yet to lose a league match this season under the leadership of former midfielder Xavi.

In his pre-match press conference, Inzaghi outlined just how tough a task the game was going to be, while explaining how his team need to play at the San Siro if they are to get a result.

"Tomorrow is a great opportunity, knowing that we meet a very strong team, probably one of the best in Europe," Inzaghi told reporters.

"It is a complete, strong team with a lot of quality. They know how to do everything, they have pressing and ball recovery. It is a team that knows how to do everything in possession and non-possession.

"Barcelona are a very strong team, complete in all departments. They have a lot of quality, plus they have [Robert] Lewandowski.

"We will have to play a game of aggression and determination."

Inzaghi also had positive news about striker Lautaro Martinez's availability for the fixture, adding: "This morning Lautaro made an exam where no injury was evident.

"He finished the game [against Roma] fatigued, today he will do a partial training and we will see what his condition will be."

Argentina were never in any danger during their 3-0 friendly win against Jamaica on Tuesday, played at a neutral site in the United States' Red Bull Arena.

Alvarez opened the scoring in the 13th minute thanks to some terrific work from Lautaro Martinez, who was able to snake his way into the box, beating multiple defenders to get to the touchline and drag one back along the edge of the six-yard box for a simple tap-in.

Argentina continued to create half-chances throughout the remainder of the first half, and it was more of the same to begin the second 45, with Martinez going close after a slick one-touch pass from Alexis Mac Allister gave him some space inside the box, but he pushed his shot wide of the far-post.

Lionel Messi was subbed on in the 56th minute, and just 10 minutes later he had his first chance after a one-two on the edge of the area allowed him to break into the left-hand side of the box, but his shot from a sharp angle was easily thwarted at the near post.

But fans in attendance would get what they came for in the 87th minute, when Messi picked up a deflected pass just outside the penalty area and fired his left-foot shot hard and low across his body into the bottom-right corner.

Just two minutes later Argentina were awarded a free kick in the same spot, and Messi again converted, this time around the wall into the bottom-left corner.

What does it mean? Argentina now two games away from history

With this result, Argentina are now unbeaten in their past 35 games dating back to their loss in the 2019 Copa America semi-final against Brazil. 

Italy holds the record at 37 games without a loss – which they set just last year. Argentina's next two games will be in the World Cup against Saudi Arabia and Mexico, and if they make it through unscathed, they will play Poland for the new record.

Messi the super sub

Despite only playing 35 minutes, Messi led all players with five shots, four shots on target and three successful dribbles. Only Alvarez (three) created more chances than Messi's two, and he scored two goals for his second consecutive international fixture after also netting a double against Honduras this past weekend.

Reid struggles with Argentinian physicality

Bobby Reid had a difficult outing down the left-hand side, being credited with only two duels won from 11 tries – the lowest percentage on the pitch. He also had a passing accuracy of 77 per cent, which was one of the lowest marks from either side, while attempting no shots and creating no chances.

What's next? 

Argentina will take their unbeaten streak into the World Cup, where they will play Saudi Arabia first up. Jamaica do not have any fixtures scheduled until March's CONCACAF Nations League.

Argentina were too good in their dominant 3-0 friendly win against Honduras on Friday, with two goals and an assist from Lionel Messi in a starring performance.

Messi set up a goal and finished a penalty in an excellent first half, before capping off the outing with a long-range chip to capitalise on a defensive mistake.

Julian Alvarez and Giovani Lo Celso also manufactured openings as Argentina racked up 17 shots to Honduras' two, but ultimately this would be the Messi show.

Argentina opened the scoring in the 16th minute, when Messi delivered a spectacular ball from the centre of the park to find Papu Gomez on his run into the box from the left wing, giving him the chance to roll a simple squaring pass to Lautaro Martinez in the six-yard box for a tap-in.

Messi's creativity was on full display again to create the second goal, with an almost identical pass finding Lo Celso breaking into the box from the left wing, before the desperate Honduran defence pulled him down for a penalty.

Messi stepped up to the spot himself and made no mistake, calmly sending the goalkeeper the wrong way and rolling the ball into the bottom-right corner.

Argentina took their foot off the pedal in the second half, but when a mistake in defence saw a loose ball fall for Messi just outside the edge of the penalty area, with no defender between him and the goal, he caught everyone off guard with an audacious and picture-perfect first-time chip over Luis Lopez's head.

What does it mean? Unbeatable Argentina's streak remains intact 

With the win, Argentina remain undefeated in their 34 matches since last losing to Brazil in the Copa America semi-final back in 2019. They are three matches away from tying Italy for the longest international unbeaten streak – a mark they set just last year.

Messi magic at the centre of Argentinian attack

The Paris Saint-Germain star led his team in nearly every important statistical category, including shots on target (three), touches in opposition box (nine), crosses (three) and successful dribbles (two).

His ability to pick out smart runs from the left wing behind the defence was directly responsible for both of the first two goals, and his chip finish for the third was sublime.

Lonely day up top for Quioto

Honduras striker Romell Quioto had very little supply all day as his side finished with 33 per cent possession, but he did himself no favours.

Of his four passes in the final-third, only one found a teammate, and he finished with no shots and no chances created before being subbed off in the 83rd minute.

What's next?

Argentina are scheduled to take on Jamaica in their next friendly on Tuesday in what will be their last match before jetting off to Qatar. Honduras will host Guatemala, also on Tuesday.

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).

Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi was proud of his team's "mature" performance after they ran out 3-1 winners over Cremonese at San Siro on Tuesday.

Joaquin Correa and Nicolo Barella scored first half goals to set them on the way to victory and Lautaro Martinez added a third with a precise finish, before David Okereke netted a late consolation.

The win for Inter is a positive response after they were beaten 3-1 by Lazio on Friday, and three points move them into second above rivals Milan, who they face on Saturday.

Inzaghi was pleased with his side's response to the defeat against Lazio, telling DAZN: "I am very happy, we won a difficult match against a team that collected less than they deserved.

"We have one point more than last year, the condition is improving, we know that we will face many matches, we must definitely improve.

"We were criticised after the match against Lazio, against a very strong team, but there was a lot of noise about this defeat, but today we played a mature game."

When questioned on the significance of moving above Milan ahead of Saturday's derby, Inzaghi replied: "It means nothing.

"It seems to me too early to look at the standings. Tonight I saw the reaction of a mature team."

Inter maintained their perfect start to the Serie A season by dominating Spezia in a 3-0 win at San Siro, as Lautaro Martinez netted a thunderous strike to open his account for the new campaign.

Martinez drilled home from outside the area as Inter swiftly established control, with Denzel Dumfries and Romelu Lukaku guilty of missing excellent chances before half-time.

Hakan Calhanoglu gave the Nerazzurri breathing space with a neat right-footed finish shortly after the break, ensuring there was no need for the sort of last-minute heroics Inter required at Lecce last Saturday.

Joaquin Correa then came off the bench to tap in a late third, sending Simone Inzaghi's men to the top of the table at this early stage.

Bartlomiej Dragowski made an acrobatic save from Dumfries' eighth-minute header as Inter started brightly, before he Martinez at the end of a slaloming run five minutes later.

The Nerazzurri hit the front when Martinez fired a terrific effort into the bottom-left corner after latching onto Lukaku's flick-on after 35 minutes, before Dumfries was denied by the boot of Dragowski after racing clear.

Lukaku nodded against the crossbar and Martinez turned Dumfries' header over as Inter continued to dominate, although Inzaghi's side failed to build on their advantage before half-time.

Yet Inter needed just six minutes to double their lead follow the restart, with Calhanoglu reacting to a loose ball to side-foot into the bottom-right corner from inside the area.

Inzaghi withdrew Lukaku as the pace of the game slowed thereafter, but replacement Edin Dzeko had time to lay on an assist as he beat Dragowski before picking out Correa for a third goal 10 minutes from time.

What does it mean? Inter enjoy home comforts

Inzaghi was far from pleased despite Inter starting the Serie A season with a win at Lecce so would have been delighted with a far more convincing display when the Nerazzurri returned to San Siro.

Inter have now lost just two of their past 37 Serie A home games, with both of those defeats coming during a costly blip in February this year (against Sassuolo and Scudetto winners Milan).

Lautaro and Lukaku still perfect partners

Martinez and Lukaku combined for eight goals as Inter romped to the Serie A title in the 2020-21 season, making them the most effective partnership in the division.

Spending a year apart does not seem to have diminished their understanding, with Martinez opening the scoring in emphatic style after racing onto the Belgian's header.

Since the start of last term, only Ciro Immobile (28) and Dusan Vlahovic (26) have scored more Serie A goals than Martinez (22).

Calhanoglu continues purple patch

Former Milan man Calhanoglu may sometimes be hidden behind the headline acts mentioned above, but the Turkey international has certainly delivered recently for Inter –especially at home.

Calhanoglu's second-half strike means he has recorded a goal contribution in four consecutive league outings at San Siro (one goal, four assists).

What's next?

Inter travel to Rome to face Lazio in their next Serie A match on Friday, while Spezia host Sassuolo the following day.

Simone Inzaghi emphasised the importance of Inter keeping their squad together on the eve of the new Serie A campaign, as he revealed the Nerazzurri are not targeting multiple new additions.

Inter missed out on the Serie A title to rivals Milan by just two points in Inzaghi's first campaign at the helm in 2021-22, but have been tipped to regain the Scudetto after bringing in the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Andre Onana.

Meanwhile, despite Paris Saint-Germain being linked with Milan Skriniar and Chelsea touted as a possible destination for Denzel Dumfries and Alessandro Bastoni, the Nerazzurri have retained the services of other key players.

And Inzaghi is keen to ensure things remain that way, as he said a replacement for defensive back-up Andrea Rannocchia – who has joined Monza – is Inter's only transfer target.

"The team is the one that I have agreed with the company and the owners," he told a news conference ahead of Inter's Serie A opener at Lecce.

"The team will be this, we are missing a player to replace Ranocchia, the company is working on this and I think I don't have to talk about it anymore. 

"The incoming and outgoing market is closed."

Lukaku's return on a season-long loan deal from Chelsea represents one of the biggest acquisitions made by any Serie A team during the off-season, after he fired them to the 2020-21 Scudetto with 24 league goals.

Upon his San Siro comeback, Lukaku will be expected to rekindle a fearsome partnership with Lautaro Martinez after they created 29 chances for one another – eight resulting in goals – during the Belgian's last season at Inter.

Inzaghi also has the likes of Edin Dzeko and Joaquin Correa to call upon as attacking options, and is pleased with the way the 29-year-old has settled back in to the Nerazzurri frontline.

"Lukaku works as well as the others, he's been out for a year, he's trying to integrate as best he can with everyone," Inzaghi added. 

 

"He's not new here, I'm very happy with him, Dzeko, Lautaro and Correa. 

"On [departing forwards Alexis] Sanchez and [Andrea] Pinamonti, we made some choices focusing on these four, who give me great guarantees.

"Tomorrow, a difficult championship starts again where many teams will fight to win like us. They have strengthened a lot, my focus is only on Lecce. 

"They are a newly promoted team who will have support and enthusiasm, it will take a real match from Inter to be able to win.

"It must be another great year, Inter have a duty to aspire to the maximum. The team is unchanged: we lost [Ivan] Perisic who was very important, but he made other choices. We brought back Lukaku, we took functional players.

"The opponents made many purchases, investing a lot, but they know that Inter will be on their way."

For the second consecutive year, Romelu Lukaku is returning to a former club. This time around, there is greater confidence he will be a success.

Lukaku's second attempt to forge a career at Chelsea proved as frustrating as his first.

Underused at Stamford Bridge as a young player before departing for Everton, Lukaku would argue he was misused last season.

The unstoppable force who had fired Inter to the 2020-21 Serie A title was gone, with the Belgium forward looking a little lost in Thomas Tuchel's system.

Now, though, Lukaku is back at Inter. Antonio Conte may no longer be at San Siro, but Lautaro Martinez, Lukaku's former strike partner, crucially still is.

The main man in Lukaku's absence, Martinez improved his goal output from 17 in 2020-21 to 21 last season, albeit that tally was still only enough to finish third in the Capocannoniere race.

Lukaku had been second the year before with 24, beaten by Cristiano Ronaldo, but his focus in returning to Italy is again on team success, with Inter having just lost the Scudetto to Milan.

"I don't care about the top scorers' ranking, I tell you honestly," Lukaku told DAZN ahead of the new season. "I only think of the Scudetto.

"Yes, the goals come, but we are at Inter, here we play for the Scudetto and not for individual things."

 

Succeeding as a team means playing as a team, and Lukaku and Martinez undoubtedly did that in 2020-21.

The pair created a combined 29 chances for one another, with eight of those leading to goals. That goal-assist combination made Lukaku and Martinez the most effective partnership in the division, ahead of Ruslan Malinovskyi and Duvan Zapata at Atalanta (seven goals).

The five goals Lukaku laid on for Martinez contributed to his 11 assists for the season, trailing only Malinovskyi (12) in that regard.

Indeed, since Opta's Serie A assist data began in 2004-05, Lukaku is the only player to score 20 or more goals and provide 10 or more assists in the same season.

Lukaku's inability to contribute a single assist in the Premier League last term therefore illustrates how spectacularly Chelsea failed to get the best out of him. Netting just eight times himself, he failed to link up with any Blues team-mate for more than a single goal.

That is not to say Lukaku and Martinez clicked instantly at Inter; in the former's first season in Italy, in 2019-20, he scored 23 goals but assisted only two. One of those two assists saw Lukaku tee up Martinez, but the Argentina forward did not return the favour even once.

In 2020-21, unlike at Chelsea, Lukaku was able to make the most of his best attributes for the benefit of both himself and his team-mate.

Rather than consider Lukaku a target man, Conte allowed his number nine to turn and run with the ball, with five of his assists coming following ball carries – along with four of his goals. Only Luis Muriel (12), another Atalanta player, contributed to more Serie A goals following carries than Lukaku's nine.

None of his eight Chelsea goals came following carries as he recorded only 4.4 carries per 90 minutes, down from 7.7 at Inter.

 

With Simone Inzaghi still using the same 3-5-2 formation that suited Lukaku so well, he and Inter will hope his reintegration now is seamless.

There remain other issues at the Nerazzurri, and goals were not necessarily the biggest problem Inzaghi's side had last term; they scored just five fewer than the previous season and led the league in that regard.

With three fewer victories than in their title-winning campaign, Inter finished two points shy of rivals Milan.

Yet Lukaku either scored or assisted in 22 of Inter's 38 games in 2020-21 and in 20 of their 28 wins – both league highs that show how vital his contributions can be.

The Nerazzurri will now head into the new season feeling confident they have re-signed the one man most likely to dominate Serie A matches on his own... or with a partner.

Ronaldo has hailed Inter's capture of Romelu Lukaku and believes the partnership with Lautaro Martinez will be "almost perfect".

Belgian striker Lukaku returns to Inter following a disappointing season with Chelsea, where he fell down Thomas Tuchel's pecking order following an interview where he expressed his desire to rejoin the Nerazzurri.

That move materialised in the current window, with Lukaku arriving on loan, having struck 30 goals across all competitions during Inter's Serie A title-winning 2020-21 campaign.

Ronaldo believes Inter would have defended their title if Lukaku had remained at the club last season, when Milan narrowly pipped them to the crown, and rates him as a "guarantee" to shine in the upcoming campaign.

"It will be a good fight between Inter and Juve. I don't see Milan as the favourite, even if whoever wins the Scudetto can never be considered out of the race. Inter could have won last year, Juve can't afford another wrong year," Brazil great Ronaldo told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Lukaku and Lautaro can be an almost perfect pairing. A lot of feeling, a lot of goals: things that are good for a team."

"Inter lost the Scudetto by losing the derby and mishandling the only two months of difficulty of the season. It's in those moments that you need courage, to win complicated games instead of drawing them. You need to cling to someone: clinging to someone as big as Lukaku is easier."

Ronaldo, who played for Inter from 1997 to 2002, also shared his thoughts on the situation with Paulo Dybala, who was heavily linked to the Nerazzurri following the end of his contract with Juventus but eventually joined Roma.

"In football you can't always do what you want, and maybe you want a certain thing, but you set yourself limits," Ronaldo said.

Inter's rejuvenation of their attack is set to continue with the departure of Alexis Sanchez, who is widely reported to have agreed to terminate his contract at San Siro.

A move to French outfit Marseille has been mooted for the former Arsenal and Manchester United forward.

Romelu Lukaku's return to Inter will provide the Nerazzurri with new options as they look to recover the Scudetto next season, according to head coach Simone Inzaghi, who labelled the striker's exit last year a "huge blow".

Lukaku joined Chelsea in a club-record £97.5million deal last August, but has returned to San Siro on loan after managing just eight goals in 26 Premier League appearances for Thomas Tuchel's team.

The Belgium international scored 64 goals in 95 games during his previous two-year spell with Inter, helping them to the Serie A title in 2020-21, and has described his Nerazzurri comeback as "like coming home".

Inzaghi, who coached Lukaku briefly before he left for Stamford Bridge last year, says the striker will give him new tactical possibilities but remains keen to highlight the contributions made by the club's other forwards last term.

"Last year an excellent relationship was established, which did not last long," Inzaghi recalled at a media conference to mark the beginning of Inter's pre-season. 

"Then this year there was the possibility and the club informed me. For me it was a huge blow [to lose Lukaku last year], without forgetting that our attack was the best in Italy last year. 

 

"Romelu is a very strong player, but I won't forget what the other forwards did last season, who were also excellent with the regret of not having won the Scudetto. This year we start again with great desire.

"It's a bit early ... [but] I already have ideas in my head. Romelu gives us many solutions: we can recover high or low, the further forward the ball is recovered the less you have to run to score. 

"We will have more solutions with him, while understanding that the other forwards did very well." 

Lukaku joins a fearsome Inter attack that scored 84 goals despite missing out on the Serie A title to Milan last term, with Lautaro Martinez scoring 21 league goals and Edin Dzeko finding the net 13 times.

And Inzaghi, who oversaw Lazio scoring 89 league goals in 2017-18 in his previous role, hopes to see one of his array of forwards win Italy's golden boot next season.

He added: "I like that my teams score ... One year with Lazio we had the best attack, one year Immobile won the Golden Boot, last year we [Inter] had the best attack. 

"This year we hope that one of Lukaku, Lautaro, [Joaquin] Correa and Dzeko can win the Capocannoniere."

Lukaku is not the only addition to Inter's squad ahead of the new season, with the Nerazzurri also acquiring former Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana on a free transfer, but Inzaghi says the Cameroon international will have to wait for his chance to displace experienced number one Samir Handanovic.

"In terms of hierarchy, Handanovic will start as the starting goalkeeper," he said. "He deserves it for the season he did last year, which was excellent. 

"Then we all know Onana's value: he is a very young player, the goalkeeper of Inter's future and this year he will already have the opportunities to show it."

Inter get their Serie A campaign underway with a trip to Lecce on August 13, looking to build on last season's Supercoppa Italiana and Coppa Italia successes. 

Lautaro Martinez will not leave Inter and is pleased by the return of Romelu Lukaku, his agent says.

The Argentina forward has been linked with a host of clubs as former strike partner Lukaku returns to San Siro, including Tottenham and Chelsea, with Inter's attacking ranks having the potential to be bolstered further with the addition of free agent Paulo Dybala.

However, despite considerable competition, Martinez's agent Alejandro Camano has made it clear his client will remain at the Nerazzurri and is delighted to reunite with Lukaku.

"There's a link between them, that's evident. Wearing this shirt isn't for everyone," he told Gazzetta dello Sport. "It's a great thing.

 

"Lautaro is happy in Milan, he feels like he's at the centre of things, he's loved.

"Why would we want to leave? To where? We're already at the top."

Martinez was Inter's leading scorer in Serie A last season, when they finished second behind rivals Milan, and his tally of 21 goals was only bettered in the division by Lazio's Ciro Immobile (27) and Juventus' Dusan Vlahovic (24), who joined from Fiorentina in January.

Inter commence their Serie A campaign on August 14 away to Lecce, with their first home game at San Siro coming the following week against Spezia.

Lautaro Martinez remains "indispensable" to Inter, while the Nerazzurri are also continuing discussions with Romelu Lukaku to see if there is a chance to strike a deal.

That is the message from Inter chief Giuseppe Marotta, who spoke to Radio Anch'Io on Monday to provide an update on their transfer business.

Lukaku will reportedly return to Inter on loan less than a year after leaving Italy to re-sign for Chelsea in a club-record £97.5million transfer, having only scored eight goals in 26 Premier League appearances.

The striker fired Inter to Scudetto glory in 2020-21 and across his two-year spell, no Nerazzurri player scored more goals (64), provided more assists (17) or created as many chances (133) in all competitions.

Paulo Dybala also seems set to join Inter on a free transfer from Juventus as Marotta assured negotiations are ongoing to bring the attacking pair to Simone Inzaghi's side.

"It is difficult to give a precise answer. They are our targets but we must evaluate the finances," he said, as quoted by FCInternews.

"I cannot hide that we want these players, we want to sign them. If not, we will move on to other targets. 

"A single player is not important, what matters is the group and this is already a solid team."

When asked if Lukaku's loan would be confirmed on Monday, Lukaku responded: "Absolutely not. More generally, we want to create a competitive team while respecting [financial] sustainability.

"Lukaku is a viable signing but there are still some difficulties and we have to evaluate if there are the right conditions to do the deal."

Dybala and Lukaku could form a fearsome frontline with Lautaro Martinez as Inter look to reclaim the Serie A title from fierce rivals Milan.

Martinez was comfortably Inter's top league scorer in the 2021-22 season, with his 21 goals eight ahead of nearest challenger Edin Dzeko, and Marotta says it is vital to keep the Argentina international amid links to Chelsea and Tottenham.

"We have our targets, which means make money in the transfer market and contain salary costs," he added. 

"It is in our interest to keep a strong team because that is in the history of the club. We believe that Lautaro is indispensable to continue to pursue these objectives."

Inter cannot rely on building an attack with Romelu Lukaku, Paulo Dybala and Lautaro Martinez as that would expose Simone Inzaghi's side in defence.

That is the message from Milan legend Arrigo Sacchi, who compared the strategy to the plans of Real Madrid in the early 2000s when they assembled a team of attacking superstars.

The Los Blancos star-studded line-up included the likes of David Beckham, Ronaldo Nazario, Raul, Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane, but they went six straight seasons without winning a Champions League knockout tie between 2004 and 2010.

Inter are looking to knock fierce rivals Milan off the Serie A summit, with Inzaghi attempting to bring Lukaku back on loan from Chelsea, while Dybala seems set to join the Nerazzurri on a free transfer.

Lukaku fired Inter to Scudetto glory in 2020-21 and across his two-year spell, no Nerazzurri player scored more goals (64), provided more assists (17) or created as many chances (133) in all competitions.

Martinez was comfortably Inter's top Serie A scorer in the 2021-22 campaign, with his 21 goals eight ahead of nearest challenger Edin Dzeko, while Dybala scored the most league goals for Juventus (10).

Combining the trio may lead to additional firepower for Inzaghi, but Sacchi insists Inter must focus on balance as opposed to attacking riches.

"You don't make teams with statues," he told Gazzetta dello Sport. "I was at Real Madrid as director of football [in 2004-05] and they asked me to coach. Do you know what the attack was?

"Beckham, Raul, Ronaldo, Zidane, Figo. On the bench, we had [Fernando] Morientes and [Michael] Owen. It wasn't a team, it was a film but it lacked the plot.

"So I thanked the president but said no. To protect the defence we would have needed two defensive players with bullet-proof vests. Teams always need balance."

Sacchi also believes Lukaku, Martinez and Dybala would be unwilling to do the defensive work to help those behind them.

"You need a full team who are always active – in attack and in defence. You need to move, take part in the action, play together," he added.

"Then you can consider winning the ball back quickly when the opposition has it. If you give up three players to the opposition, it means there are only eight in defence rather than 11.

"The willingness and physical characteristics of the player are fundamental. I don't believe, but I could be wrong, that Lukaku, Martinez and Dybala have these qualities."

Page 1 of 10
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.