Man City beat out Milan, Inter and Juventus for Alvarez

Manchester City have reportedly beaten out competition from Milan, Inter and Juventus for River Plate star Julian Alvarez.

The three Italian clubs have been following the 21-year-old Argentinian forward for some time now following his incredible season with River Plate. The player has scored 24 goals in 46 games across all competitions, with 18 of those coming in 21 league appearances. He also provided 15 assists in that time.

As reported by Calciomercato.com, Manchester City are set to beat out their Italian competition for Alvarez, as they’re ready to pay €18m for the 21-year-old. The Citizens are set to sign him immediately before leaving him on loan with River Plate. They’ll then evaluate what to do with him in the summer.

The Sky Blues may either bring him to Manchester or extend his loan with River Plate until the end of 2022, allowing him to enjoy a consistent environment ahead of the World Cup in Qatar. Manchester City would cover his salary immediately as well, despite him staying in Argentina.

Pep Guardiola believes Alvarez is the striker of the future and he has explicitly requested the move, leaving the Italian clubs with just the crumbs once again.

epa09504753 Julian Alvarez of River celebrates after scoring during the Argentinian First Division soccer match between River Plate and Boca Juniors at Monumental stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 03 October 2021. EPA-EFE/Juan Ignacio Roncoroni

Tottenham offer Ndombélé to Mourinho’s Roma

Tottenham have offered Roma Tanguy Ndombélé but a deal may be hard to pull off this month.

The 25-year-old Frenchman has hardly featured this season in North London under coach Antonio Conte, playing only 80 minutes since the end of October, a painfully low amount considering the €60m investment made to bring him to the English capital only two-and-a-half years ago.

As reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport, Tottenham have offered Ndombélé to Roma but the formula of the deal may prove problematic. The Giallorossi want to sign the Frenchman on a loan deal with a buy option attached, whilst Spurs would prefer it to be an obligation to buy costing around €30m. These are high figures for the Roman club and so a deal may be hard to pull off this month.

Roma also haven’t given up in their work to sign Arsenal right back Ainsley Maitland-Niles either. The 24-year-old Englishman is open to renewing his contract with the Gunners but the North London club are still considering letting the player leave instead.

The Giallorossi want to sign him on loan with a conditional obligation to buy attached linked to the number of appearances made and they do not want to pay more €10m. The Gunners, instead, want the conditional obligation to buy clause to be activate with a lower number of appearances, and the fee to be closer to €15m.

Tottenham offer Ndombélé to Mourinho’s Roma

Tottenham have offered Roma Tanguy Ndombélé but a deal may be hard to pull off this month.

The 25-year-old Frenchman has hardly featured this season in North London under coach Antonio Conte, playing only 80 minutes since the end of October, a painfully low amount considering the €60m investment made to bring him to the English capital only two-and-a-half years ago.

As reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport, Tottenham have offered Ndombélé to Roma but the formula of the deal may prove problematic. The Giallorossi want to sign the Frenchman on a loan deal with a buy option attached, whilst Spurs would prefer it to be an obligation to buy costing around €30m. These are high figures for the Roman club and so a deal may be hard to pull off this month.

Roma also haven’t given up in their work to sign Arsenal right back Ainsley Maitland-Niles either. The 24-year-old Englishman is open to renewing his contract with the Gunners but the North London club are still considering letting the player leave instead.

The Giallorossi want to sign him on loan with a conditional obligation to buy attached linked to the number of appearances made and they do not want to pay more €10m. The Gunners, instead, want the conditional obligation to buy clause to be activate with a lower number of appearances, and the fee to be closer to €15m.

Salernitana bought by businessman Iervolino minutes before deadline

Danilo Iervolino purchased Salernitana minutes before the deadline, allowing them to remain in Serie A.

The Salerno side were previously owned by Lazio president Claudio Lotito, who was told that he had to sell the club by December 31 2021 as the league’s rules prohibit someone from owning two clubs in the same professional division. The team risked relegation had a buyer not been found.

As reported by Calciomercato, Italian businessman Iervolino has bought Salerntiana, which will officially change hands tomorrow. The 43-year-old Neapolitan native is an entrepreneur who created the Pegaso University in 2006, an open university with more than 60 branches across Italy.

On December 31, Salernitana’s trustees Paolo Bertoli and Susanna Isgrò informed the FIGC that they have accepted Iervolino’s offer, with the necessary guarantees being provided, including the payment of a €500,000 deposit.

The 43-year-old Italian businessman will pay €10m in total for the club, with an extra €20m set aside for the team’s current commitments, including this month’s transfer window.

Iervolino discussed his decision to purchase Salernitana, saying: “I will do everything to try to save Salernitana in Serie A. I’ve always put great enthusiasm into every project I’ve undertaken, and it will happen in this football project too.

“I’m in love with Salerno, I want to build an osmotic relationship with the city. I have built a brotherly relationship in Salerno with the lawyer Lello Ciccone, a great friend of mine. I will focus on young players and on the growth of the club.”

Inter set deadline after Brozovic rejects latest contract offer

Inter want to tie down Marcelo Brozovic to a new contract and have set a clear deadline following his decision to refuse their latest offer.

The 29-year-old Croatian midfielder is one of the most important players in coach Simone Inzaghi’s squad but his contract expires with the club in June next year, so a renewal is needed if he is to remain a core part of the Nerazzurri squad beyond this season.

As reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport earlier today, Inter recently offered Brozovic a contract worth €5.5m net per season plus add-ons, an increase of around €1.5m compared to his current salary.

Despite the raise, the Croatian midfielder politely declined the offer. He recently requested a salary of €7m net per season and so was unconvinced by the new deal, despite the substantial raise.

Brozovic, who is happy to stay in Milan, is wanted by Premier League side Newcastle United, who have recently received the backing of the Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

Inter do not want this story to drag on for too long, so they have set a clear deadline for the end of January. The Croatian midfielder would be able to sign a pre-contract with a new club from next month onwards, so Nerazzurri duo Beppe Marotta and Piero Ausilio want to tie down the player to a new deal within the next 30 days.

epa09470545 Inter Milan?s Marcelo Brozovic (L) challenges for the ball Real Madrid's Nacho Fernandez during the UEFA Champions League group D soccer match between FC Inter and Real Madrid at Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, 15 September 2021. EPA-EFE/MATTEO BAZZI

Hernandez withdrawn from Milan’s squad list due to fever

Theo Hernandez has been ruled out of Milan’s match against Napoli tonight due to a fever.

The 24-year-old Frenchman has been a core part of coach Stefano Pioli’s squad so far this campaign but now will be forced to watch this evening’s match against the Partenopei on the sidelines.

As reported by Daniele Longo, Hernandez was withdrawn from the Rossoneri’s squad list after tests showed that his fever was getting worse.

The French left back has been suffering from flu-like symptoms for a few days now but he had hoped to be healthy enough to face the Partenopei today. Now, however, it’s clear that he won’t be risked due to the fever.

Hernandez, who is contracted to Milan until 2024, has made 19 appearances across all competitions so far this season, for a total of 1543 minutes. In that time, he has scored one goal and provided five assists, being one of the most exciting full backs in the league.

Theo Hernandez celebration

Cafu: ‘Milan are the favourites in the title race’

Former Milan and Roma defender Cafu believes the Rossoneri are the favourites for the Scudetto this season.

Stefano Pioli’s side will face Napoli this evening in a match that could be crucial in the race for the league title this season, with both teams trailing Simone Inzaghi’s Inter by a handful of points.

Looking ahead to tonight’s match, Cafu expects “an intense match because there is a lot at stake, even though we are still halfway through the season. Milan, despite the injuries, are having a good season.

“They were eliminated from the Champions League, but in Serie A they are at the top and can win the Scudetto. Don’t think it will be easy for Milan. On the contrary… I expect a tough match because both teams have had a week to prepare for it.”

Discussing the title race, the two-time World Cup winner expects the Rossoneri to come out on top in the end. “Milan are the favourites. I played Inzaghi in the derby in Rome when we were still playing, he’s become a strong, intelligent coach who studies his opponents a lot.

“He started his career and no one believed in him, but he’s been very good at doing his job slowly with Lazio and growing year after year. Now he can win with Inter, to whom he has given a great game. He deserves a lot of the credit for this first place because he believes in what he does and doesn’t leave anything to chance.”

Cafu thinks highly of Milan coach Pioli, who has turned the club around since his arrival in October 2019. “He has been working at AC Milan for a longer time and he won his confirmation with results. He is the right coach, in the right place and for the right team.

“At Milan it is not easy to obtain the results he is obtaining because the pressure and the expectations are great. Pioli, on the other hand, is doing almost nothing wrong.”

The 51-year-old Brazilian also thought that Luciano Spalletti was doing a good job with Napoli, highlighting that “until recently he was first, but now he has lost a couple of games and is fourth. Nothing has been compromised because he has the team. With all the players healthy, he can have his say until the end”

He was also not concerned about Milan veteran Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s age, noting “age is only a number if the body holds up. Ibra is still at great levels because he is a champion.”

Regarding the departure of talented goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma in the summer, Cafu trusted in technical director Paolo Maldini’s decision. “From a distance it is difficult to judge because a contract has not been renewed.

“Milan have certainly lost a great goalkeeper and an excellent midfielder, but they have a great goalkeeper coach like Dida and Maignan is strong. In addition there is Maldini, who is also a phenomenon as a director. I trust Paolo.”

The former Roma defender was less impressed with the Giallorossi’s results this campaign under coach Jose Mourinho. “They’re having a season below expectations, but they achieved an important success that can transmit confidence on a psychological level.

“Let’s hope so… Mourinho is good and in the teams where he has been he has always made the difference. His ability is not in doubt. But the results so far have not been up to scratch.” He said.

Cafu thought that Francesco Totti could help Roma should he return to the club in a backroom role, similar to Maldini at Milan. “He could make a big contribution to the club and it would be nice if he was involved. Someone who’s so well known and loved would be an added value at his favourite team.”

Finally, Cafu noted what young forward Nicolo Zaniolo needs to do to continue his growth. “When he finds a bit of consistency he’ll become a champion.”

cafu490ai

Serie A Preview | Spezia vs. Empoli: Thiago Motta needs to turn things around

Spezia are without a win in the last five games and Empoli are one of the best clubs for away matches in Serie A.

Thiago Motta’s last win is dated back to November 6 (1-0 against Torino). They suffered defeat against Serie B side Lecce in Coppa Italia on Thursday.

Four players are out of action for the Aquilotti, while Mbala Nzola returns to the squad list. He was omitted from the last Serie A match due to disciplinary reasons.

Empoli have collected ten points in the last five matches and earned 16 points in eight away games. Only Juventus, Milan, Inter, Atalanta and Napoli have more.

Filippo Bandinelli is expected to start in the middle of the park. Nicolas Haas is out of action after sustaining a knee injury during Wednesday’s victory against Hellas Verona in Coppa Italia.

Form Guide: Spezia ( L D L L L) Empoli (W W D W L)

Stat fact: Spezia and Empoli have only met in Serie B with four wins each and four draws.

Probable line-ups

Spezia (3-5-2): Provedel; Amian, Erlic, Nikolau; Gyasi, Kovalenko, Bourabia, Maggiore, Reca; Manaj, Nzola

Suspended: none

Injured: Verde, Salcedo, Sala, Leo Sena

On a yellow card: none

Empoli (4-3-1-2): Vicario; Stojanovic, Tonelli, Luperto, Parisi; Henderson, Ricci, Bandinelli; Bajrami; Cutrone, Pinamonti

Suspended: none

Injured: Haas

On a yellow card: Zurkowski, Luperto