Nicolo Barella maintained his impressive goalscoring form as Inter eased to a 3-0 victory over Sampdoria on Saturday to make it four Serie A wins in a row.

Simone Inzaghi's side have put their early-season struggles behind them with this their seventh match without defeat in all competitions, six of those ending in victory.

Midfielder Barella rounded off a route-one move to double Inter's advantage at San Siro before half-time after Stefan de Vrij had opened the scoring with a header.

Inter, who brought on Romelu Lukaku for his first league appearance since August, added another goal through a superb Joaquin Correa solo effort to seal an emphatic victory.

De Vrij sent a bullet header past Emil Audero with 22 minutes played for his first goal of the season after being picked out by Hakan Calhanoglu from a corner.

Inter continued to dominate and had a second goal just before the interval when Barella controlled a long pass from Alessandro Bastoni and powered a shot past Audero.

Inzaghi introduced the returning Lukaku and Correa in the second half and it took the latter just five minutes to add his name to the scoresheet against his former side.

Argentina international Correa carried the ball from one penalty area to the other and curled in a third goal for the hosts to round off the scoring.

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.

 

Barcelona's financial volatility has necessitated a cut of overall wage spend, and Philippe Coutinho has long been viewed as dispensable.

Since his big-money signing from Liverpool, the incompatibility the Brazil international has represented has only been reinforced with loan spells at Bayern Munich and Aston Villa.

However, in need of funds, the Blaugrana have reportedly set the Birmingham club a timeframe for confirming his permanent signing.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA GIVE ASTON VILLA COUTINHO ULTIMATUM

Barcelona have given Aston Villa until the end of the month to confirm whether they will sign Coutinho on a permanent deal, Sport is reporting.

The cash-strapped Catalan giants loaned Coutinho to Villa in January with a €40million (£33.7m) purchase option, but Villa have now been given until the end of May to finalise the deal.

Barcelona have reportedly insisted that the finances be resolved by the end of June, as it would help balance their accounts for the season. 

The 29-year-old has played erratically despite four goals and three assists in 14 appearances, not directly contributing to a league goal since early March against Leeds.

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- Romelu Lukaku has no intention of joining Milan or Newcastle United despite frustration over a lack of opportunities, according to the Evening Standard.

- Chelsea want to sign 20-year-old Croatian defender Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig, Goal reports.

- Football Insider reports Inter Milan are looking to sell Stefan de Vrij, with Tottenham and Aston Villa among the clubs interested.

- Lazio are willing to lower their asking price for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to around €80million, per Calciomercato.

It wasn't so long ago that Raheem Sterling's long-term future at Manchester City was shrouded in doubt.

The England forward has long since been linked to LaLiga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.

However, it appears Sterling may now be in line to commit his future to the reigning Premier League champions.


TOP STORY – PEP WANTS NEW DEAL FOR STERLING

City boss Pep Guardiola has reportedly given the green light on awarding Sterling a new contract, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Sterling, who has 13 goals and four assists across all competitions for City this season, had been linked with a move to Barca as recently as the January transfer window.

But having played his way back into the team, City want to renew his deal – though the club want a swift decision with Sterling's present contract due to expire in 2023.


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- Alvaro Morata is a man in demand. Barca were thought to be keen on signing the Spain striker in January, but Arsenal remain interested in the Atletico Madrid forward – who is on loan at Juventus – according to the Boot Room .

- Memphis Depay 's future at Camp Nou was hurt by the departure of Ronald Koeman. Sport reports that Serie A trio Inter , Milan and Juventus are interested in the Netherlands star.

- Stefan de Vrij could be on the move at the end of the season. InterLive says the centre-back could be reunited with Antonio Conte at Tottenham .

- Lucas Vazquez wants to make Spain's World Cup squad and El Nacional says the 30-year-old winger is prepared to leave Real Madrid in order to do so.

Barcelona have been working to overcome their financial challenges over the past 12 months.

The Blaugrana have been plotting a way forward with their playing squad.

Barca landed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on a free transfer in January, as well as a loan move for Adama Traore.

TOP STORY – BARCELONA TARGET DE VRIJ

Barcelona are keen on Inter's Dutch defender Stefan de Vrij, reports Fichajes.

De Vrij is contracted with the Nerazzurri until the end of the 2022-23 season, but Barca may view him as Gerard Pique's successor.

Inter are reportedly open to interest from other parties, if the price is right, with the 30-year-old heading towards the final year of his present deal.

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- The Daily Mail claims Paris Saint-Germain are putting together a lucrative deal to lure Paul Pogba to the club from Manchester United as a free agent. Pogba also has interest from Real Madrid and Barcelona, while he may still stay at Old Trafford.

- Newcastle United's efforts to sign Sevilla defender Diego Carlos will continue in the off-season after missing out in January, reports Marca.

- RB Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku has been added to Manchester United's list of off-season targets, claims ESPN.

- Crystal Palace and Watford are both keen on Liverpool veteran James Milner, according to Fichajes.

Manchester United's search for a permanent new manager continues to roll on.

Ralf Rangnick has taken over on an interim basis following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's axing.

Several big names have been linked with the vacant post.

 

TOP STORY – TEN HAG TOP OF MAN UTD'S LIST

Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag has moved to the head of the queue to be Manchester United's new manager, claims The Mirror.

Ten Hag guided Ajax through a record-breaking Champions League group campaign where they won all six games.

United have now made appointing him their priority as he ticks all the boxes for the 20-time English champions.

 

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- Newcastle United have reached out to Manchester United about the prospect of a January move for Jesse Lingard, claims The Sun.

- Tottenham are tracking Chelsea's Andreas Christensen, joining Manchester City and Manchester United in pursuit of him, reports the Daily Star.

- Liverpool have set a £10million asking price for West Ham target Nat Phillips, according to The Sun.

- The Reds are also interested in signing Real Madrid winger Rodrygo and are willing to pay £68m (€80m), reports El Nacional.

- La Gazzetta dello Sport claims that Inter have not held any talks with Stefan dr Vrij amid links with Tottenham and Newcastle United.

- Brazilian powerhouse Corinthians have enquired about Manchester United's veteran Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani, claims Globo Esporte.

Paul Pogba's future continues to make headlines.

With his contract expiring, it remains to be seen whether he will remain at Manchester United.

United are believed to be ready to move on as Real Madrid lurk.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID READY TO POUNCE FOR POGBA

Manchester United have given up on keeping Pogba and Real Madrid have a "great opportunity" to sign the Frenchman, according to the front page of Thursday's Marca.

Pogba is out of contract at the end of the season and the United star is no closer to a renewal at Old Trafford.

Madrid are continuing to circle Pogba, who has also been linked with former club Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona.

 

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- Sport claims Barca are eyeing moves for Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech and Bayern Munich star Kingsley Coman. Out-of-favour Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling and RB Leipzig's Dani Olmo have also been linked.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will extend his contract at Milan until 2023, reports Gazzetta dello Sport.

Chelsea are interested in signing Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana, says Foot Mercato. The 20-year-old is yet to play this season due to a serious leg injury.

- El Nacional reports Madrid and Chelsea will go head-to-head to land Monaco star Aurelien Tchouameni. The France international is also reportedly wanted by Juve, City, United, Liverpool, Bayern and Newcastle United.

Newcastle are eyeing Inter duo Stefan de Vrij and Marcelo Brozovic and Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha, per The Times.

The Netherlands will have to do without the injured Stefan de Vrij when they face Norway in a decisive World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.

De Vrij suffered a hamstring injury in the closing stages of the Oranje's 2-2 away to Montenegro on Saturday and was replaced by Matthijs de Ligt.

The Inter centre-back has now been ruled out of the Netherlands' final Group G game against third-placed Norway at De Kuip, so De Ligt is set to starting alongside captain Virgil van Dijk.

Coach Louis van Gaal has not called up a replacement for De Vrij.

The Netherlands lead Norway and Turkey – who are away to Montenegro on Tuesday – by two points, and a draw should be enough for them to qualify for the tournament in Qatar next year due to their far superior goal difference.

It appeared to be mission accomplished for the group leaders when Memphis Depay's double put them in control at Podgorica City Stadium, but late goals from Ilija Vukotic and Nikola Vujnovic prevented them from getting the job done.

The Netherlands will not have the backing of a partisan crowd against Norway, as the game in Rotterdam will be played behind closed doors due to coronavirus restrictions.

Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic is winning plenty of admirers.

The 21-year-old Serbian has netted 10 times in 12 appearances at club level this season.

Vlahovic is currently under contract until June 23, although La Viola want him to sign an extension.

TOP STORY – PSG TO ENTER VLAHOVIC RACE

Paris Saint-Germain will enter the race to sign Fiorentina's Dusan Vlahovic, claims Le10Sports.

The Parisians are lining up the Serbian striker as a potential successor to Kylian Mbappe should he exit the club when his contract expires at the end of this season, with Real Madrid circling.

Hot property Vlahovic is being pursued by JuventusLiverpool and Tottenham.

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- Unai Emery will not be the first permanent manager in Newcastle United's new era, BBC Sport journalist and Spanish football expert Guillem Balague understands. The Basque coach is set to stay at Villarreal for now, though his job there is under threat amid a poor start to 2021-22.

- The Sun reports Antonio Conte's arrival at Tottenham has seen Harry Kane abandon any plans he had to quit the club. Kane apparently wished to join Manchester City during the most recent transfer window.

- New Spurs boss Conte wants to sign Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, according to Metro. Conte also has Inter defender Stefan de Vrij in his sights, claims Football Insider.

Milan are in the race to sign talented River Plate star Julian Alvarez in the off-season, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. Fiorentina have also shown interest in 21-year-old Alvarez, who has four caps for Argentina.

Norwich City are considering a move to replace embattled manager Daniel Farke with former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe, claims the Daily Mail. The Canaries have only two points from 10 games following their return to the Premier League. Howe has also been linked with the vacant Newcastle job.

Newcastle want to make Inter's Croatian midfielder Marcelo Brozovic their first major signing in January, says The Sun. Brozovic is out of contract at the end of the season.

Lazio are looking to convince Luiz Felipe to ink a new deal with the club amid interest from BarcelonaSevilla and Real Betis, reports CalcioMercato. The Brazilian centre-back's contract expires at the end of this season.

Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic is winning plenty of admirers.

The 21-year-old Serbian has netted 10 times in 12 appearances at club level this season.

Vlahovic is currently under contract until June 23, although La Viola want him to sign an extension.

TOP STORY – PSG TO ENTER VLAHOVIC RACE

Paris Saint-Germain will enter the race to sign Fiorentina's Dusan Vlahovic, claims Le10Sports.

The Parisians are lining up the Serbian striker as a potential successor to Kylian Mbappe should he exit the club when his contract expires at the end of this season, with Real Madrid circling.

Hot property Vlahovic is being pursued by JuventusLiverpool and Tottenham.

ROUND-UP

- Unai Emery will not be the first permanent manager in Newcastle United's new era, BBC Sport journalist and Spanish football expert Guillem Balague understands. The Basque coach is set to stay at Villarreal for now, though his job there is under threat amid a poor start to 2021-22.

- The Sun reports Antonio Conte's arrival at Tottenham has seen Harry Kane abandon any plans he had to quit the club. Kane apparently wished to join Manchester City during the most recent transfer window.

- New Spurs boss Conte wants to sign Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, according to Metro. Conte also has Inter defender Stefan de Vrij in his sights, claims Football Insider.

Milan are in the race to sign talented River Plate star Julian Alvarez in the off-season, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. Fiorentina have also shown interest in 21-year-old Alvarez, who has four caps for Argentina.

Norwich City are considering a move to replace embattled manager Daniel Farke with former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe, claims the Daily Mail. The Canaries have only two points from 10 games following their return to the Premier League. Howe has also been linked with the vacant Newcastle job.

Newcastle want to make Inter's Croatian midfielder Marcelo Brozovic their first major signing in January, says The Sun. Brozovic is out of contract at the end of the season.

Lazio are looking to convince Luiz Felipe to ink a new deal with the club amid interest from BarcelonaSevilla and Real Betis, reports CalcioMercato. The Brazilian centre-back's contract expires at the end of this season.

Frank de Boer admitted there is still plenty of room for improvement in his Netherlands team after they needed a late equaliser to draw 2-2 with Scotland.

Memphis Depay's 89th-minute free-kick made sure the Netherlands avoided defeat in the friendly fixture between two nations preparing for Euro 2020.

The influential forward had also scored in the first half, his left-footed volley cancelling out Jack Hendry's opener for a Scotland team left shorthanded following a positive coronavirus case within the squad.

Substitute Kevin Nisbet restored Scotland's lead soon after coming on as the Dutch looked defensively shaky when lining up in a wing-back formation, though De Boer made clear the squad had little time to work on systems ahead of the match in Faro.

"Has the experiment with the 5-3-2 system failed? No, it has not," De Boer said in his post-match interview with broadcasters NOS.

"I'm not worried at all. We only trained on it once, only three times for 10 minutes. In addition, we also played 4-3-3 at the time.

"In addition, Georginio Wijnaldum and Frenkie de Jong only joined later.

"It seems clear that things need to get better. I saw a few good moments, but there were too few."

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