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Report: Galaxy leading way in Zlatan pursuit

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A report out of Italy hints at a win for the LA Galaxy when it comes to Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Football-Italia says the best offer sent the way of the big Swede, 38, is from the Galaxy, at about $15 million over two years.

MLS can pop its collar that the report says Ibrahimovic doesn’t believe Bologna is a big enough club to tempt him into a move away from LA, where he was MLS Best XI in consecutive seasons.

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The report also notes that Napoli interest has cooled, while AC Milan (more on them later) and Manchester United have not made serious offers for the man with 456 career club goals and 173 assists between the Galaxy, Ajax, Man United, Juventus, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Barcelona, and Paris Saint-Germain.

Knowing the math, and that Zlatan has scored 53 times in 58 matches for United, you wonder whether he’s not hunting 500 club goals. He’s also a known trophy hunter. Both of those paths are markedly easier with the Galaxy than Bologna, and Ibrahimovic is already comfortable and locked in a fierce rivalry with Carlos Vela and LAFC.

Zlatan also had 116 caps with 62 goals for Sweden and is one of the biggest names to grace Major League Soccer’s pitches. Of course there’s a chance at his age that he could break down, or his form could drop off a cliff, but for now another run as both villain and hero in a major MLS market would be a win for the league (even if he regularly touts himself as bigger than the league).

While we have not seen Ibrahimovic in a top league since he was injured for Man United, there’s little doubt he could still do a job over there. He’s only 2.5 seasons removed from a 28-goal, 10-assist season in all comps for Man United.

Don’t sleep on the idea that AC Milan could make a call to Ibrahimovic’s people, having scored just three goals in their past four games including high-profile 1-goal losses to Roma, Juventus, and Lazio. Milan has just 11 goals in 12 league outings, and was supposed to be a Serie A threat without the schedule congestion of Europe.

Serie A roundup: Late Correa goal squeezes Lazio past Milan (video)

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Aside from the disgusting racist abuse that Mario Balotelli received from Hellas Verona supporters, Lazio’s late victory over Rossoneri highlights Serie A’s Sunday action.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

AC Milan 1-2 Lazio

With goals from Ciro Immobile and Joaquin Correa, Lazio edged AC Milan in Serie A play at the San Siro for the first since 1989, snapping a 29-match winless streak.

With the 2-1 victory under their belts, Lazio climbed to fourth in the table, eight points adrift from leaders Juventus.

What proved to be a tightly contested encounter was, ultimately, defined by Correa’s blistering strike inside the penalty box. The Argentine covered three-quarters of the field before finishing off Luis Alberto‘s pace between two Milan defenders.

Like the league-leading goalscorer that he is, Immobile, too, contributed one of his own.

With Leo Duarte marking him from behind, the 29-year-old made a sneaky run towards the first post and met the incoming service with a well-placed and aggressive header, leaving Gianluigi Donnarumma with no chance of blocking the ball. It was Immobile’s 13th goal in 11 games this season, and his 100th with Lazio.

Down 1-0, the hosts pulled one back. In the 28th minute, Krzysztof Piatek’s right-footed volley deflected off Bastos’ chest and into the back of net. It wasn’t enough for Milan, who now stand 11th with 13 points.

With pressure at an all-time high, Stefano Pioli and Roma, travel to Turin to take on leaders Juventus, while Lazio prep for a midweek, Europa League showdown against Scottish giants, Celtic, at home.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Atalanta 0-2 Cagliari 

Genoa 1-3 Udinese

Hellas Verona 2-1 Brescia 

Lecce 2-2 Sassuolo 

Fiorentina 1-1 Parma 

The buzz is back at Inter Milan, on and off the field

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MILAN — The differences between the two Milan clubs could not be starker — on and off the field.

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The clubs held their annual shareholders’ meeting almost simultaneously on Monday, but while Inter Milan congratulated itself on record revenue, AC Milan was reporting record losses.

Inter’s turnover grew by 20 percent in relation to last season, to $465 million, and has more than doubled since Chinese owners Suning Group took over in June 2016.

Financially-troubled Milan reported a deficit of $161.2 million — the worst in the club’s history — from its first season under the ownership of American hedge fund Elliott Management.

And while Milan is languishing in the middle of the standings, Inter is going toe-to-toe with eight-time defending champion Juventus at the top.

“Our constant improvement both on and off the field makes us very proud and gives us added incentive,” Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta said. “Inter has laid solid foundations for the growth of the club in the sporting field.

“The choice of one of the world’s best coaches in Antonio Conte and his winning mentality, the strength of a close group, made up of many Italian players, will enable us to reach our objectives.”

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The unity of the group is easy to see. Forward Romelu Lukaku took the squad out for dinner on Wednesday, and gave a speech thanking his teammates.

A win at Brescia the previous night had put Inter back at the top of the standings, albeit temporarily because Juventus also won (while the Nerazzuri were having their dinner) to move a point clear.

Inter’s goals in Tuesday’s 2-1 win were scored by Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, who are rapidly developing an impressive partnership.

The duo have scored 10 of Inter’s last 12 goals. Lukaku has netted seven times in Serie A since joining from Manchester United in the offseason for a club record transfer fee of about $73 million plus up to $15 million in bonuses.

Lukaku was just one of the players the club brought in as Inter invested heavily in the offseason. Inter said that expenditure explains its loss of $54 million.

Inter could invest more in January as it continues to battle in the Serie A, Champions League and Italian Cup, with Conte warning that his team can’t keep up if they play a match every three days on average.

Some of the players have appeared visibly fatigued and injuries to either Lukaku or Martinez could cost the team dearly.

“Conte can be worried when there are moments of difficulty,” Marotta said. “There have been injuries that have taken away players from us, but every member of the club knows that difficulties are a part of life.

“We look forward to the January transfer window with great optimism. We know that there are economic aspects to be respected, but we are ready to seize any opportunities that arise.”

Suso’s terrific free kick gives Pioli 1st AC Milan win

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MILAN — New AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli earned his first win with the club as the Rossoneri beat SPAL 1-0 in Serie A on Thursday.

Suso came off the bench to score with a free kick shortly after the hour mark, ending a scoreless streak stretching back to last season.

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Milan’s fourth win in 10 matches moved the Rossoneri up to 10th place while SPAL remained in 19th place.

Samu Castillejo also hit the crossbar for Milan early on.

Suso, who had been heavily criticized for his performances this season, scored six minutes after coming on for Castillejo.

The Spaniard’s free kick spun over SPAL’s wall then dipped down in under the bar.

Suso’s previous goal came on May 19.

Reports claim Allegri linked with Manchester United, Spurs

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The international break can be a slow time for news, but what to make of multiple reports claiming that Max Allegri is in discussion with a pair of struggling traditional Premier League powers?

Tuttosport claims that Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur have interest in hiring the Italian manager, adding that United has had “intensified” contact with him.

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Noise out of Old Trafford continues to back Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, while there is no real buzz that Mauricio Pochettino is on the verge of leaving Spurs.

The 52-year-old Allegri has won Serie A once with AC Milan and five times with Juventus, claiming a Serie C title with Sassuolo in 2007-08.

Is there anything to it? He’d be a great hire for either side. In United’s case, he’d be a marked upgrade on their current boss.