Italy great Fabio Cannavaro has suggested former club Napoli should attempt to sign Paulo Dybala, while making a "sacrifice" to renew Kalidou Koulibaly's contract.

Dybala appears set to join Inter when his Juventus contract expires at the end of June, with Romelu Lukaku also reportedly close to joining Simone Inzaghi's side on loan.

Napoli supporters have grown frustrated with president Aurelio De Laurentiis, with the Partenopei said to be looking to reduce their wage bill, leaving the future of Dries Mertens and Koulibaly in doubt.

Lorenzo Insigne has already left for MLS side Toronto and Cannavaro, who started his career in Naples, urged Napoli to move for Dybala.

"If I were in De Laurentiis I would make a proposal to Dybala," the World Cup winner told Corriere dello Sport.

While Napoli are unlikely to be able to acquire the Argentina international, Cannavaro also says they must do all in their power to keep Koulibaly.

Barcelona, Juventus and Manchester United are reportedly interested in the centre-back, whose contract is set to expire in June 2023.

De Laurentiis conceded earlier in May that the Senegal international could not be forced into staying after Koulibaly had stated "we'll see what happens at the end of the season".

"Kalidou represents a pillar of a team that in recent years has always been lucky enough to be able to count on him: if I were in the club I would make a sacrifice to keep him, to renew," Cannavaro added. 

"Maybe he has demands that some other club could satisfy, but it is difficult to find players like him in that role: we must keep them close. 

"There is a shortage [of such players], you can find a midfielder or a forward."

Luciano Spalletti will be keen to keep Koulibaly after Napoli conceded the joint-fewest goals in Serie A (31) and kept the second-most clean sheets (16 – behind Milan, 18) in the 2021-22 campaign.

Milan will start their Serie A title defence at home to Udinese, while Inter's attempts to reclaim the Scudetto will begin at newly promoted Lecce.

Stefano Pioli's side edged out Inter for the championship in the 2021-22 campaign, their first Scudetto in 11 years, and will again face stern competition from Juventus, Napoli and Simone Inzaghi's side next season.

Milan visit Atalanta on the second matchday, with the first Derby di Milano between Pioli's side and Inter coming on September 4, when Lazio host Napoli.

Dusan Vlahovic will return to Fiorentina with Juventus on the same weekend, while Milan host Napoli and Massimiliano Allegri's side in the space of two weeks between matchday seven and nine.

The first Derby di Roma will see Jose Mourinho's side host Lazio on matchday 13, with the return meeting scheduled for matchday 27.

Inter will meet Milan for their second clash in week 21, while Serie A will take a break between November 13 and January 4, owing to the World Cup in Qatar.

The weekend of May 7 could be influential in the title race, with Atalanta hosting Juventus, Lazio visiting Milan, Inter travelling to Roma and Napoli playing at home to Fiorentina.

Milan lifted the Scudetto on the final matchday in 2022 and should it go all the way again, Pioli's men host Hellas Verona, while Inter make the trip to Torino and Juventus are away at Udinese.

Hakan Calhanoglu believes Inter are a stronger team than Milan despite the latter's Scudetto success, while he questioned the behaviour of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. 

Calhanoglu watched on as Inter lifted the Serie A title in the 2020-21 season, when he was playing for fierce rivals Milan. 

The Turkey international switched city allegiances by joining Inter for the following campaign, which finished with Milan winning the Scudetto and ending a 1,976-day wait for a trophy. 

That also marked the first time that Inter and Milan finished in Serie A's top two in consecutive seasons, but Calhanoglu says Simone Inzaghi's side are far stronger than their neighbours. 

"Inter are a much stronger team than Milan. We lost a derby that suddenly changed in the 75th minute after [Ivan] Perisic and I were substituted," the midfielder told Tivibu Spor.  

"We were leading 1-0, then we lost 2-1. The coach [Inzaghi] also contributed to that defeat, I told him. In the cup, however, we beat them 3-0. The team is very ambitious." 

Ibrahimovic could be seen smoking a cigar at Milan's title celebrations, where he took the microphone and told supporters: "Hey, send a message to Hakan." 

Calhanoglu insists he would not have behaved like Ibrahimovic, questioning his actions at 40 years old. 

"He's a 40-year-old man, I wouldn't do a thing like that if I was that age. He's not 18. He likes to be the centre of attention," he added.  

"This year he didn't contribute to the Scudetto, he hardly ever played. But he does everything to attract the attention of the fans. 

"I don't care at all. It's not right because he's someone who always calls me when I'm in Milan, who wants to go out for dinner and ride a motorcycle with me. 

"I respected him. He also wrote about me in his book, he had to write these things or his book would be empty. I won't answer him, it's better not to answer." 

Romelu Lukaku must rediscover the form that fired Inter to the Scudetto in 2021 should he return to the Nerazzurri, former Italy striker Christian Vieri has said.

Lukaku scored 24 goals under the stewardship of Antonio Conte as Inter lifted the Serie A title in the 2020-21 campaign, before returning to Chelsea for a club-record £97.5million fee.

The Belgium international struggled on his Stamford Bridge return, scoring just eight times in 26 Premier League appearances.

Lukaku is widely expected to head back to Inter on loan less than a year after leaving, as Simone Inzaghi looks to assemble his side to reclaim the Scudetto from fierce rivals Milan.

The 29-year-old will hope to regain the confidence he had during his two-year spell with Inter, with no Nerazzurri player scoring more times (64), providing more assists (17) or creating as many chances (133) in all competitions in that period.

Vieri understands the pressure of a big-money move, having joined Inter in a then world-record €49m transfer in 1999 from Lazio, but insists Lukaku must find the old version of himself with the Nerazzurri.

"I wouldn't want to talk about players who haven't signed yet. We'll see how it ends, the teams are working to become stronger and stronger," Vieri said on his podcast.

"He is still a great player, he has scored many goals all over the world. Last year he did very badly with Chelsea, few games and very few goals.

"If he returns, he will have to prove that he is the Lukaku seen at Inter."

While Inzaghi will be delighted to bolster his attacking ranks, with Paulo Dybala also reportedly set to arrive from Juventus, not all at Inter are keen to welcome Lukaku back.

After Lukaku expressed his desire to return to Inter in a controversial interview in December, the Nerazzurri supporters group Curva Nord unveiled a banner, stating: "It doesn't matter who runs away in the rain, what matters is who stays in the storm. Bye Romelu".

Curva Nord issued another statement on Wednesday, assuring they have not forgotten about Lukaku's exit to Chelsea that they felt betrayed the Nerazzurri.

"He was supported and treated like a king, now he is one like another player," the group posted on Instagram. "We took note of Lukaku's betrayal and we were very upset.

"To a footballer these things can be forgiven over time, but they remain. Let us also be clear to everyone that we will never cheer against Lukaku if he wears the Inter shirt again.

"However, we invite all Inter fans not to fall into the trap of running immediately and drooling after him. 

"In addition to a clear instinctive emotional aspect, pretending that nothing has happened, would only give a further acceleration to that process that has been going on for years aimed at making us all stupid and supine consumers."

Ivan Perisic's move to Tottenham from Inter came as a surprise to Ivica Olic, his former Croatia team-mate who is now assistant manager of the national team.

The 33-year-old winger left Italy following the expiration of his contract to join Spurs on a free transfer, where he will reunite with former Inter boss Antonio Conte.

He stands among a number of early additions made by Conte ahead of the new season such as Fraser Forster and Yves Bissouma, as Spurs look to consolidate their top-four position in the 2022-23 season.

Perisic's move to Spurs brings an end to a seven-year association with Inter, with whom he won the Serie A in 2020-21 and the Coppa Italia in 2021-22, and Olic thought the Nerazzurri would find a way to keep him.

"To be honest I was a little surprised he went to England - he had a very good season at Inter and I expected him to stay," Olic told Stats Perform.

"I didn't think Inter would just let go of him like that.

"Ivan has played in Germany, France and now Italy for the past few years. But we had talked about the fact that England had always been a sore point for him. 

"I'm not saying it was a life aspiration for him but definitely sees it as a challenge to play in the Premier League."

Olic believes the fact that Perisic has experience working with Conte will be beneficial for him and does not foresee any issues with the experienced winger settling into English football.

"This opportunity presented itself and he accepted it," said Olic. "Some clubs were interested in him, but he chose Tottenham. 

"He knows the coach, his coaching staff and his game system. In terms of getting used to the English system, I don't think he will have any problems. 

"I'm sure, since I've played with him myself and now, I'm coaching him, that he'll settle in quickly and become one of the most important players."

Spurs begin the new Premier League season on August 6 against Southampton and will be in the Champions League group stage draw on Thursday, August 25.

Romelu Lukaku could make a "huge difference" to Inter's attack should he return to the club from Chelsea, according to Blues legend Gianfranco Zola.

Lukaku is closing in on a return to San Siro less than a year after joining Chelsea in a club-record £97.5million transfer, with Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta revealing on Monday the club are in talks to sign both the Belgian and Juventus' Paulo Dybala.

The Chelsea striker only scored eight Premier League goals as Chelsea finished third in the English top flight last term, and reportedly wants to return to the club with whom he won Serie A in 2020-21.

Lukaku scored 30 goals and recorded 11 assists in 44 appearances for Inter in his last season with the Nerazzurri, averaging a goal every 118.77 minutes.

Among strikers in the top five European leagues to hit 20 goals or more in all competitions that campaign, only eight averaged fewer minutes between strikes than the Belgian, including the likes of Robert Lewandowski (70.6), Kylian Mbappe (88.62), Cristiano Ronaldo (104.19) and Lionel Messi (110.32).

Chelsea great Zola thinks Lukaku could make the difference for an Inter side that missed out on the Serie A title by just two points last season.

"Lukaku continued to express this desire to return to Inter where he had found himself very well, but honestly I thought it was a difficult operation," he told Sky in Italy.

"If he returned to Inter, he would be a player capable of making a huge difference, also in light of this year's difficulties."

Another high-profile player to be linked with a move to Italy is Angel Di Maria, who is available on a free transfer after announcing his departure from Paris Saint-Germain.

The Argentina international is reportedly a target for Juventus, and Zola believes that move would benefit both the Bianconeri and Serie A as a whole.

However, he also called on Italian football to do more to produce young attacking players of Di Maria's quality after Roberto Mancini's Azzurri missed out on qualification for the World Cup and made a poor start to their Nations League campaign.

"He has important experience and quality, players of this calibre raise the level of our football," Zola said of Di Maria.

"But we must think of creating higher quality players in our youth sector, especially in the last 40 metres [before goal], where we lack."

Simone Inzaghi has signed a contract extension with Inter, tying him to the club until June 2024. 

The 46-year-old took over from Antonio Conte in 2021 and impressed in his first season at the helm of the Nerazzurri, which followed the departures of key duo Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi.

And Inter confirmed on Tuesday that he had signed a new two-year deal.

Despite missing out on the Scudetto to local rivals Milan, Inzaghi did lead Inter to success in the Supercoppa Italiana and the Coppa Italia – requiring extra time to overcome Juventus on both occasions.

As Inter prepare for a bid to regain the Serie A title, the Nerazzurri have taken the decision to hand Inzaghi fresh terms.

Inter are hoping to build on Inzaghi's new deal by sealing a San Siro return for former talisman Lukaku, just one season after selling him to Chelsea for a reported €115million. 

Lukaku endured a tough first season after returning to Stamford Bridge and will hope to rediscover the form that encouraged Chelsea to make him their record signing if he completes his move back to Italy.

Across his two previous seasons at Inter, Lukaku scored 64 goals and supplied 17 assists – both team highs during that time frame. He also led the way in shots on target (132), chances created (133), aerial duels won (185) and dribbles completed (103).

Inter are also locked in talks to sign Paulo Dybala on a free transfer from Juventus, with chief executive Giuseppe Marotta admitting the Nerazzurri's interest in acquiring both attackers on Monday.

 

Tottenham and Chelsea target Alessandro Bastoni will "100 per cent" be staying at Inter, while Simone Inzaghi has agreed a new contract with the Nerazzurri.

That is the message from football agent Tullio Tinti, who represents Inter duo Bastoni and Inzaghi.

Chelsea are in the market for a new centre-back, with Antonio Rudiger leaving for Real Madrid, Andreas Christensen departing and talk of Cesar Azpilicueta joining Barcelona.

Tottenham are also in the search for another defender as Antonio Conte looks to continue to invest to build a side capable of competing in the Premier League and Champions League.

Bastoni has been a name repeatedly linked with the two clubs, alongside Manchester United, but the Italy international's agent Tinti insists a move will not happen.

"Bastoni is currently on vacation," Tinti told reporters. "He is staying at Inter 100 per cent. We respect our contracts and are happy to discuss an extension when Inter call us."

Inter are said to be close to announcing a new contract for coach Inzaghi, who took over from Conte in 2021 and narrowly finished second in Serie A behind Milan.

Tinti simply responded "yes" when asked if the Inzaghi extension was agreed upon, with confirmation expected in the coming days.

Bastoni staying and the Inzaghi extension will provide a boost to Inter, who are aiming to bolster their attacking ranks with the additions of Paulo Dybala and Romelu Lukaku.

Lukaku only left for Chelsea before the start of the 2021-22 campaign in a Blues' record £97.5million move, but is expected to return on loan to the Serie A side.

During his previous two-year spell, no Nerazzurri player scored more goals (64), provided more assists (17) or created as many chances (133) in all competitions than the Belgium international.

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."

Tottenham are reportedly looking to swoop in with an offer for Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus, who has been a key target this transfer period for rivals Arsenal.

Just days ago stories were written about Arsenal feeling "cautiously optimistic" about their chances of landing the 25-year-old Brazilian, despite their reported bid of £30million falling well below City's £50m asking price.

That move is now in jeopardy thanks to Tottenham's involvement, with the club able to offer Champions League football to the striker who has scored 20 Champions League goals across City's past five European campaigns (38 games).

 

TOP STORY – SPURS SWOOP IN WITH OFFER OF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FOOTBALL

There is no doubt about Jesus' ability to perform at the highest level, scoring at least seven goals in each of his Premier League seasons since arriving as a 19-year-old. He has also added more creativity to his game, with 21 Premier League assists in his past three campaigns compared to 10 from his first three with City.

The Mirror reports another aspect of his game that Spurs boss Antonio Conte values is his willingness to play out wide on a wing, which means he could still complement star Harry Kane if their formation only calls for one striker.

It is not mentioned whether Tottenham are willing to meet City's asking price, but a second serious bidder will mean Arsenal's desire to land him for a much smaller figure is likely no longer possible.

 

ROUND-UP

– Chelsea will loan striker Romelu Lukaku back to Inter for a fee of at least £8.5m, according to the Daily Mail.

– The Athletic is reporting that Raheem Sterling has been asking friends about life in west London after Fabrizio Romano revealed Chelsea had a £21.5m bid turned down for the City winger.

– Fabrizio Romano claims Manchester United are preparing another bid for Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, but if Barcelona will not bring their asking price down, the Old Trafford club are prepared to pivot to Wolves' Ruben Neves.

– According to Sport, Bayern Munich are demanding €50m from Barcelona for Robert Lewandowski, while the Spanish club are currently offering €40m plus performance bonuses.

Newcastle United have been told by Bayer Leverkusen that 22-year-old French winger Moussa Diaby will cost €50m, according to The Sun.

Alessandro Del Piero believes the imminent returns of Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba to Serie A will be a "great move" for Italian football.

Juventus are poised to re-sign Pogba following his departure from Manchester United, while Inter are pushing to bring Lukaku back from Chelsea following a disappointing year in the Premier League.

Both players will represent marquee additions for the two Serie A title hopefuls as they seek to knock Milan off their perch next season, while also boosting them in the hunt for glory in the Champions League.

Juventus legend Del Piero believes the deals have further significance, however, as he feels they can help to push Italian football to compete with the other top leagues in Europe following a number of years off the pace.

"Now the Premier League is the best football you can see in terms of number of teams that can perform at a high level and what happened in the Champions League, in the Europa League how they performed is the answer," he told ESPN.

“It's a different kind of sport in some moments. It seems in the Premier League you run more, you have more physicality, you are more spectacular. 

"It's not exactly like this because in Italy we have this kind of thing but Italy is struggling now: the national team and also in the club teams.  

"So last season showed a little bit more. Roma's win [in the Europa Conference League] is a good hope for the future in the Europa competitions. 

"So Lukaku for Inter and Pogba for Juve could be a great move also for Italian football to become again stronger and have a voice in the Champions League especially."

Since Inter won the Champions League under Jose Mourinho in 2009-10, Juventus are the only Italian side to have reached the final – losing to Barcelona in 2014-15 and then to Real Madrid two years later.

Former Manchester City defender Aleksandar Kolarov has announced his retirement after leaving Inter.

Kolarov's contract at San Siro officially expires at the end of June, bringing an end to his two-season stay with the Italian giants.

The 36-year-old made just 15 appearances for Inter in all competitions, seven of those being starts, after joining from Serie A rivals Roma in September 2020.

He previously enjoyed a spell with Lazio in the Italian top flight prior to joining City in 2010 for a seven-year stint.

The 94-cap Serbia international won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two EFL Cups with City.

In a statement released to ANSA on Sunday announcing his retirement, left-back Kolarov said: "I always knew that sooner or later this moment will come.

"Although I am sorry that I am closing one chapter of my life, I am grateful that I managed to achieve what has always been my dream.

"I thank all the people who followed me in this first part of my career."

"First of all, to every team-mate in the clubs in which I played as well as in the football team of Serbia, my homeland, which I have always represented with great pride. 

"I thank the clubs, presidents, managers, coaches, technical staff, doctors, economists, physios and all those who helped in my career, and worked hard from the background."

Kolarov, who started his career with Serbian sides Cukaricki and OFK Beograd, intends to remain in football by taking up a new role.

"I am coming to the end of this phase in my life, feeling great satisfaction with what I have achieved," he said.

"Now I am already focused on my 'other' life in the world of football. I will soon start training as a sporting director and scout at the national football centre of the Italian Football Federation in Coverciano."

Francesco Totti is surprised that Romelu Lukaku could return to Inter but thinks he "wanted to go back to where he was good."

Having only left Inter to join Chelsea in a reported £97.5million deal last August, Lukaku is reportedly keen to move back to the club where he won the Serie A title last year.

Inter's managing director Alessandro Antonello said earlier this week that the forward holds a "great desire" to return after scoring just eight Premier League goals during an underwhelming 2021-22 season at Stamford Bridge.

While Italy great Totti expected Lukaku to move elsewhere, he says the potential return of a man who scored 30 goals in his final season with Inter would be a huge boost for the Nerazzurri.

"I wouldn't have expected it," Totti told Sky Sports Italia. "I thought he was going to another club, but he wanted to go back to where he was good, he won [Serie A] and he wants to keep winning. 

"In Italy he moves a lot, on a physical level it's embarrassing!"

With Inter also reportedly targeting former Juventus man Paulo Dybala and hoping to keep hold of Lautaro Martinez, Totti said that level of depth would strike fear into their opponents.

"No one knows with which tandem they will play, Simone Inzaghi will be happy." the Roma legend said.

Totti welcomed the arrival of Nemanja Matic at Roma as Jose Mourinho strives to build on their Europa Conference League triumph.

"If Mourinho made this choice it means that he is flexible for the team. We are talking about a great player who has shown his worth in Europe," he said.

"To come to Rome you need the right mentality and he has always shown that he has it."

Lille's Zeki Celik and Sassuolo's Davide Frattesi i have also been linked with the Eternal City giants and Totti says the Giallorossi need more strength in depth in order to push for a Champions League spot. 

"To obtain results you always need great players. If these names are available to Mourinho, it will be a more competitive Roma, who wants to aim above all for a place in the Champions League," he added.

"Then he will have to buy other players to get what we have won in the past. As I've always said, you need champions to win."

Romelu Lukaku has always felt he was still an Inter player despite his exit last year to join Chelsea, Gigi Di Biagio believes.

The Belgium international left the Serie A side to return to the Premier League to join Thomas Tuchel's side but has endured difficulties in west London, expressing his frustrations during a mid-season interview.

Lukaku is expected to be on the move once ahead of the 2022-23 season, with Inter pushing to re-sign the striker from Chelsea – with reports indicating discussions regarding a loan deal are underway.

According to Di Biagio, Lukaku never quite left the San Siro spiritually and it was clear he regretted his exit as he remained an Inter player "in his heart".

"It's really quite romantic that we all got the feeling from the first day that Lukaku wanted to return to Inter straight away," the former midfielder told Sky Sport Italia.

"You could tell from the way he spoke, the look on his face, he still felt in his heart that he was still an Inter player. Then there was that interview he gave too."

Lukaku scored 15 goals in 44 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions, half of the tally he netted in the 2020-21 season to help propel Inter to the Serie A title.

During the 29-year-old's previous two-year spell with Inter, no Nerazzurri player scored more goals (64), provided more assists (17) or created as many chances (133) in all competitions.

Di Biagio believes Lukaku can achieve similar success if the striker returns to Inter.

"Lukaku can still make the difference in Serie A, for his motivation, his desire to wear the jersey, he wants to give something more," he added.

"He felt like he was the king at Inter, whereas something at Chelsea just wasn't working."

Inter are expected to significantly rejuvenate their attacking ranks as they seek to knock San Siro rivals Milan off top-spot next season, with Paulo Dybala also reportedly arriving on a free transfer from Juventus.

Gleison Bremer has confirmed he is set to leave Torino amid reports Inter are among the clubs trying to sign him.

The Serie A Defender of the Year is keen to play in the Champions League and push for an international call-up with Brazil ahead of the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

Bremer has admitted he first expressed his desire for a transfer last year before being persuaded to remain for another season, but now says it is only a "matter of time" being he moves.

"I told the coach and the management 'I want to change now.' So they told me: 'Stay this year, help us. Next year, you can take the next step'," he told ESPN.

"The fans already know that I have this desire to play in the Champions League, to go there to earn a call-up to the Brazilian national team.

"I need to play at a much better level, so I think it's a matter of time. I'm analysing some proposals but I think that next season I will no longer play for Torino."

Inter are widely regarded to be leading the hunt for the 25-year-old's services, but city rivals Milan along with Premier League clubs Tottenham and Chelsea are also said to be keen to land him.

Bremer could be a direct replacement for Inter defender Milan Skriniar, who is heavily touted for a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Inter are set for a busy window as they seek to regain the Scudetto from Milan, with the free transfer of Paulo Dybala from Juventus thought to be imminent and Chelsea's Romelu Lukaku a prime target.

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