Antonio Conte

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Serie A roundup: Inter edge 10-man Udinese

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Napoli and Inter Milan walked away winners in Saturday’s Serie A action.

Inter Milan 1-0 Udinese

After three games, Antonio Conte‘s spell at Inter Milan remains in immaculate shape.

According to the table, there is no better team than I Nerazzurri, who have won their first three league matches – notching seven goals and conceding only one along the way. In other words, the Italian’s astute coaching style remains effective.

Despite, Inter’s convincing play throughout the 90 minutes, only a goal would separate them from visiting Udinese, who played a with 10 players from the 35th minute on, following Rodrigo De Pual’s slap to the back of Antonio Candreva’s head.

In the 44th minute, Stefano Sensi – one of the smallest players on the field – headed the ball into the back of the net. Late in the game, Alexis Sanchez nearly scored in his Inter debut.

In the end, Udinese were no match for Antonio Conte and Co., who find themselves in prime form heading into their Champions League return midweek.

Up next for Inter in league play: Derby della Madonnina. Udinese, on the hand, host Brescia.

Napoli 2-0 Sampdoria

Dries Mertens is the gift that keeps on giving for Napoli.

To be exact, the Belgian gifted his team two goals on Saturday. 13 minutes in, following a perfectly-placed cross from Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Mertens’ first-time strike was unstoppable for Emil Audero.
Emiliano Rigoni had Sampdoria’s best chance of the night in a one-on-one opportunity with Alex Meret. The Argentine, however, wasted one of the visiting side’s two chances all night.
Then in the 67th minute – with some luck on his corner -Mertens completed his brace off a deflected shot, giving his team their second win of the season.

Quick turnaround for Napoli as they host Liverpool midweek before traveling to take on Lecce in league play, while Sampdoria take on Torino next.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Fiorentina 0-0 Juventus

VIDEO: Lukaku scores on his debut, Inter Milan cruise to victory

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Inter Milan’s pursuit of the 2019-20 Serie A title is off to a flying start, as is the Nerazzurri career of club-record signing Romelu Lukaku who bagged a goal on his Inter debut, a 4-0 victory over newly promoted Lecce, on Monday.

[ MORE: Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 3 ]

Lukaku, deemed a poor fit for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s preferred style of play, moved from Manchester United to Inter for $90 million this summer.

Inter were 2-0 ahead before 25 minutes had been played, courtesy of goals scored by Marcelo Brozovic (21st minute) and Stefan Sensi (24th). Lukaku added his goal just before the hour mark, and the rout was capped off by Antonio Candreva in the 84th minute.

Monday also marked the debut, and return to management (after being fired as Chelsea manager last June), of Antonio Conte. Inter’s new boss oversaw a $176-million rebuild during the summer transfer window and is now expected to guide his talent-rich squad to a legitimate challenge of eight-time defending champions Juventus.

[ MORE: Now is not time for panic at Man United… not yet ]

Juventus and Napoli, this season’s other presumed challengers in a three-horse race, were each victorious in their season openers on Saturday.

Reports: Man Utd to buy $99M Williams as Lukaku leaves

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Antonio Conte is getting his man, and that man is going to cost him a lot of money.

Now how will Manchester United react?

Romelu Lukaku will go to Inter Milan for around $94 million, according to Sky Sports, leaving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with Marcus Rashford and not much else at center forward.

[ MORE: Manchester United season preview ]

While Lukaku struggled last season, at least according to his usual playmaking standards, his 12 goals are still more than Rashford has recorded in a PL season.

Rashford recorded 10 goals and 7 assists in just over 2,300 minutes last season, while Lukaku had 12 and 1 in a bit more than 2,100.

A Sunday Express report says that Ed Woodward will respond by pulling the trigger on a near $99 million deal for Athletic Bilbao’s Inaki Williams, who is Lukaku’s junior by 13 months.

Williams, 25, scored 13 times with four assists in La Liga play last season, including three against Atletico Madrid and two against Sevilla (though he was pretty streaky).

He’s also played just under half of his career matches at right wing, and he’s been plenty productive in the assist department when away from center forward.

Transfer rumors: Eriksen to Man United; Lukaku uncertainty

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Maybe Christian Eriksen isn’t staying at Tottenham after all.

Our partners Sky Sports are reporting that Manchester United are making a late move for the Danish international, with Eriksen, 27, out of contract next summer at Spurs.

Eriksen said at the end of last season that he thought it would be a good time for a fresh challenge, but reported moves to one of Real Madrid or Barcelona haven’t come to fruition over the summer.

With Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Daniel James and Harry Maguire signed over the summer, Man United are making waves in this summer window under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Players will want to be a part of this new-look United side and Eriksen’s experience could be crucial.

But do United need Eriksen? They have Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Pogba in the attacking midfield positions so a late move for Eriksen could suggest that Pogba may be moving on after all…

Watch this space.

Earlier this summer it was report that Eriksen would be available for a cut-price $75 million due to having just one year left on his deal, but with United focusing on shoring up their defense this summer, the Danish playmaker would be more of a luxury signing at this point.

Sticking with Man United, the future of Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku remains unclear.

Lukaku, 26, is currently training with former club Anderlecht as Vincent Kompany has allowed the striker to join his team. But what next for Lukaku?

After United pulled out of a swap-deal with Juventus for Lukaku to trade places with Paulo Dybala, the former Chelsea and Everton forward is now stuck in limbo.

It seems like that a move to Inter Milan is most likely for Lukaku.

Inter have chased him all summer and Antonio Conte said over the weekend that he hoped a move for Lukaku could be arranged in the final days of the window.

For now, Anderlecht is training with Anderlecht for a second day with Man United refusing to comment.

Nainggolan moves from Inter to old club Cagliari

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Former Inter and Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan has joined his old club Cagliari, returning to Sardegna Arena for the first time since he left for Roma in January of 2014.

While reports indicate that Inter manager Antonio Conte told the 31-year-old he was no longer wanted, the move to Cagliari came as a bit of a surprise. However, it seems there is some personal motivation behind Nainggolan’s decision to rejoin his old club.

Nainggolan’s wife Claudia Lau is set to undergo chemotherapy as she battles cancer, and she is originally from Cagliari. Therefore, it makes sense as Nainggolan refers to Cagliari as “home” in his announcement of the move.

“It was not hard to choose Cagliari although I did have other offers,” Nainggolan said in the official announcement. “I spoke with some other managers but it was right to come back here and I must first thank the president. After our first call, he completely convinced me right away, he made promises and he has kept them. Things have gone the way I would have liked them to have gone and it was easy to reach an agreement.”

The Belgian midfielder played 29 times for Inter in his lone season with the club, making 22 stars and earning a consistent place in the lineup over the second half of the season. However, with Conte taking over this summer for Luciano Spalletti, Nainggolan’s spot in the center of the pitch has been compromised, pushed out by the likes of Matias Vecino, Roberto Gagliardini, Marcelo Brozovic, Borja Valero, and others in a crowded Inter midfield.