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Report: Icardi ghosts Monaco, demands return to Inter squad

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The Mauro Icardi situation at Inter Milan has taken another step towards the absurd, as the player has reportedly rejected a transfer to French side Monaco, instead looking to force his way back into the Inter squad for the coming season.

The Italian club has been looking to sell Icardi all summer after their nasty public falling out last season. However, few clubs have been willing to put forth any serious interest until Monaco stepped forward recently hoping for a loan deal, according to reports in Italy.

However, according to both Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport and independent journalist Gianluca di Marzio, Icardi has ghosted Monaco, failing to return any of the club’s attempts to reach out to negotiate a deal. With the Ligue 1 transfer deadline approaching on Monday, Icardio’s actions – or lack thereof – has left the French side with little choice but to pursue other options, instead looking to bring on RB Leipzig striker Jean-Kevin Augustin.

Icardi’s refusal to negotiate an end to this saga has left Inter furious, but there’s yet another twist to the story. According to the two reports, the club received an email last night from Icardi’s legal team demanding not just to be admitted back into the Inter first-team, but also upwards of over a $1.5 million in compensation for his forced time away. Icardi was stripped of his captaincy near the end of last season, suspended by the club for February and March before returning in April to finish out the season.

Even if the club were to welcome Icardi back with open arms – a difficult proposition at this point in time – he would have serious competition for his place. Inter clearly planned on moving on from the Argentine this summer, as evident by the arrival of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez. Fellow Argentine striker Lautaro Martinez is also in fabulous form, breaking in to the Inter first-team during Icardi’s initial absence last season and continuing that form through the summer where he scored a pair of goals in the Copa America.

Ligue 1 wrap: Mbappe, Cavani limp off in PSG’s 4-0 Neymar-less win

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PARIS (AP) After being involved in one of the most comical moments in European football last season, striker Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting distinguished himself with a fine goal and scored a second as Paris Saint-Germain beat Toulouse 4-0 in the French league on Sunday.

The resounding win came at a price, however, as PSG forwards Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe, clutching the back of his left leg and grimacing, limped off.

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel said the players will have tests Monday to determine the extent of their injuries.

Despite being match fit, record signing Neymar remains unavailable as he seeks to push through a move away from the club – a situation which appears increasingly exasperating for Tuchel.

“Today was the occasion (for him to play) … it’s certain he could have played today,” Tuchel said in French on Canal Plus television. “It’s not a clear situation and it should be clear.”

Tuchel then went as far as to suggest he has little or no say as to whether Neymar can play against Metz on Friday – just days before the transfer window shuts.

It was Choupo-Moting, then, who replaced Cavani in the 13th minute and he will not enjoy many nights like this.

Receiving a pass from Angel Di Maria, the Cameroon striker burst into the penalty area, span around with one touch to move inside two defenders and drilled the ball into the bottom left corner with the next touch in the 50th minute.

It was only his fourth goal in 23 league games since a surprise move from unheralded English side Stoke last season.

In April, Choupo-Moting was widely mocked on social networks for an extraordinary passage of play in a 2-2 home draw against Strasbourg. Amid disbelieving looks from teammates, he somehow prevented a goal for his team despite the ball being about to cross the goal-line, gently nudging the ball onto the post before it was cleared by defenders.

He was only on the field on Sunday night due to an injury to Cavani, who limped off with what appeared to be a leg muscle injury. Midway through the second period, Mbappe left the field after appearing to hurt his hamstring.

After a first half in which Mbappe missed good chances, Choupo-Moting’s opener was a welcome breakthrough. Five minutes later, it was 2-0 when Toulouse defender Mathieu Goncalves turned Pablo Sarabia’s cross into his own net.

Goncalves was harshly judged to have conceded a penalty soon after, slipping over in the area and powerless to stop Sarabia’s cross hitting his left arm. Referee Jerome Brisard still gave it, despite a video review. With Cavani injured and Neymar absent, Di Maria took the spot kick and saw his effort well saved by goalkeeper Baptiste Reynet.

Choupo-Moting confidently drove home a cross from left back Juan Bernat in the 75th and Brazil defender Marquinhos headed in Di Maria’s corner from the left late on for the fourth goal as PSG climbed up to third place with six points – three points behind leader Rennes.

Lyon can move back top on goal difference with a win at Montpellier on Tuesday.

OTHER MATCHES

Rennes won 2-0 at Strasbourg.

Confidence was high after last Sunday’s 2-1 home win against PSG, and goals from midfielder Clement Grenier in the first half and powerful center forward M’Baye Niang soon after the break made it nine points from three games.

Monaco, meanwhile, is still seeking its first win after drawing 2-2 at home to Nimes.

New signings Wissam Ben Yedder and Islam Slimani scored to put Monaco 2-0 up at halftime.

But after Brazilian defender Jemerson’s 55th-minute sending off, Nimes hit back through midfielder Romain Philippoteaux and 18-year-old forward Kevin Denkey.

Jemerson was shown a yellow card for a tackle from behind on Philippoteaux, but the referee changed it to a red following a video review.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Leicester seals permament deal for Youri Tielemans

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Leicester City is backing Brendan Rodgers.

The Foxes broke their transfer record on Monday, sealing the long-anticipated move for 2018-19 loan star Youri Tielemans from Monaco.

The move is worth a reported $50 million, and will tie Tielemans to the King Power Stadium for four seasons.

[ MORE: What we learned about the USMNT this month ]

Tielemans, 22, was wonderful during his half-season with Leicester, posting three goals and four assists with the Foxes.

Remarkably, Tielemans cost just $12 million less than Ayoze Perez of Newcastle, and the pair will join Jamie Vardy, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, and Demarai Gray in a talented attack.

How is this crew going to line up?!? They have the attacking depth to challenge for a seventh and could even sneak a bit higher given a down season from Manchester United or another power.

They should also be able to aim for a Europa League spot via one of the domestic Cups.

Transfer rumor roundup: Man Utd, Man City linked with Ligue 1 stars

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Whether red or blue, Manchester wants some big time Ligue 1 central midfielders.

Manchester City has been linked with Atletico Madrid’s Rodri, but may be just as happy to land this option.

[ MORE: West Ham bids for 2 La Liga stars ]

That’s because signing 22-year-old Tanguy Ndombele would also deprive Spurs of his services, and Tottenham is said to be readying a $63 million bid.

But City would, according to reports, go straight to Lyon’s asking price of $88 million.

Ndombele scored once with seven assists in Ligue 1 last season, and was outstanding in UEFA Champions League play.

Meanwhile across town, Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskajer is ready to spring for Belgian national teamer Youri Tielemans.

The 22-year-old scored three times with five assists in just under 1100 minutes on loan to Leicester City from Monaco, where he scored six goals in 65 appearances for the Ligue 1 outfit.

Tielemans completed 85 percent of his passes, a decent figure given his propensity to try challenging offerings.

The reports compiled by The Manchester Evening News say Tielemans was interested in staying at Leicester City but intrigued by United interest. Monaco could sell if their $50 million asking price be met.

Monaco re-hires Leonardo Jardim to replace Thierry Henry

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Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Despite firing manager Leonardo Jardim in October, Monaco has announced the French club is re-hiring the Venezuelan now tasked with rescuing the club that sits 19th in the Ligue 1 table.

Jardim was fired with Monaco bottom of the table, and French legend Thierry Henry was hired in his first managerial job to replace Jardim in October, hoping to pull the 2016/17 champions out of the basement. He was unable to rouse the troops to the relegation fight, winning just two league games in three months in charge.

Henry was placed on suspension Thursday as the club decided how to proceed, and a day later he was fired with Jardim placed back in charge. It was surprising that Jardim was fired in the first place, despite the poor position of the club. The 44-year-old has won a Ligue 1 title with Monaco and reached the semifinals of the Champions League as well. He also oversaw the development of numerous young players who went on to net the club massive transfer fees in the open market.

It was reported earlier in the week that Jardim could take charge as soon as Saturday, with the club facing a critical relegation battle with Dijon who sit just two points above Monaco in 18th. However, the club announced that Jardim will begin as Monaco boss on Sunday, meaning that interim manager Also potentially debuting this weekend is new signing Cesc Fabregas, who came over from Chelsea to help the relegation fight. Fabregas signed for Monaco while his former Arsenal teammate Henry was still in charge.

In the club release, vice president Vadim Vasilyev stated that he takes “full responsibility” for the “very complicated time” at the club. He also admitted numerous mistakes this summer and during the course of the season. “We are forced to see that we sold too many important players during the summer transfer window and despite considerable means invested errors were made to replace them,” Vasilyev said in the statement, “Which did not allow to compose a new competitive team. The dismissal decision of coach Leonardo Jardim was similarly too premature.”