Rampant links with transfer targets happen every summer at Manchester United, especially when a manager is involved with his first transfer window.
Throw in the Red Devils recent spells outside the UEFA Champions League, and there are plenty of wrinkles this go-round.
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For great players on middling clubs like Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, however, Europa League football is a step up considering Lazio’s underwhelming 2018-19 season.
Lazio slapped a nine-figure price tag on the exceptional 24-year-old center midfielder; Milinkovic-Savic was the club’s top performer last season, and chipped in offensively with five goals and three assists.
That was a far cry from his 12-goal 2017-18 season, but he’s only gotten better in his defensive contributions. Sky Sports says the player likes the idea of moving to United, but would also be happy to spend another season in Rome.
Hoffenheim’s big, young Brazilian striker Joelinton is looking to take the next step in his career, with both Wolves and Newcastle interested in the 22-year-old.
Joelinton scored seven times with seven assists in his return to the Bundesliga, which came after two loan stints with Rapid Vienna. He posted a combined 15 goals and six assists in league matches with the Austrian powers.
Newcastle is in dire need of a center forward, with Salomon Rondon reportedly on the verge of a move from West Bromwich Albion to Dalian Yifang in China.
Wolves would add a target forward with playmaking abilities much like Raul Jimenez, who is 28 and will need relief with the West Midlands club eyeing up a Europa League campaign.
ROME (AP) Bologna secured Serie A football for another season after drawing at Lazio 3-3 in a thriller on Monday.
Bologna moved four points clear of the relegation zone with one match remaining.
Lazio was still celebrating winning the Italian Cup midweek and Joaquin Correa fired the capital side in front in the 13th minute.
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However, two goals in the space of a minute from Andrea Poli and Mattia Destro saw Bologna take the lead early in the second half.
Bastos curled in a stunning effort to level for Lazio in the 59th but Riccardo Orsolini restored Bologna’s lead shortly after.
Substitute Sergej Milinkovic-Savic secured a draw for Lazio with a sensational free kick 10 minutes from time.
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The latest name to grace the Coppa Italia is Lazio.
Late goals from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Joaquin Correa lifted the Roman side to a 2-0 defeat of Atalanta in the Italian Cup Final.
It’s Lazio’s 7th Coppa Italia, tied for third with Inter Milan. Juventus won the previous four to give it 13 all-time, while Roma’s nine are good for second.
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Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini was furious with officials for not consulting VAR after ex-Middlesbrough defender Marten De Roon‘s shot hit the hand of Lazio defender Bastos in the box. From the BBC:
“Are we meant to only use VAR when it’s handy? It was a penalty and a red card,” Gasperini said. “This is a scandal. Tell me why it happened? Give me some justification.”
The match was a sub-story in some areas, as fans lit a police car on fire as part of several clashes with authorities.
MILAN (AP) The Italian league’s governing body has vowed to do “everything in our power” to wipe out racism in soccer after another incident.
Lazio’s Italian Cup semifinal victory at AC Milan was overshadowed by continued racist abuse directed at Milan players Tiemoue Bakayoko and Franck Kessie — who are black — before and during the match on Wednesday. Inflatable bananas were also visible in the away section.
The Lega Serie A said in a statement on Thursday it “firmly condemns the racist episodes which have happened these past few days. The sport should bring out respect, inclusion and being together in harmony: Values that are at the base of the social initiatives that have always been promoted by the Lega Serie A.
“It is not acceptable that we have to hear verbal, intolerant abuse in our stadiums and, as we have done before … we will do everything in our power to oppose similar incidents. We also hope for the maximum collaboration from the police to help identify and punish those responsible who with their actions tarnish the image of our world.”
The latest incident came less than a month after Juventus teenager Moise Kean was racially abused at Cagliari — and partially blamed by an own teammate.
Lazio also condemned what happened on Wednesday.
“Lazio clearly distances itself from behavior and displays that do not in any way correspond to the values of sport that this club has promoted and supported for 119 years,” the club said. “And it rejects and contests the simplistic tendency of some parts of the media to consider the entire Lazio fanbase responsible for the actions of a few isolated elements, for motivation that has nothing to do with passion for sport.
“The club has always fought for the respect of the law and for decency in behavior.”
There were two announcements over the speaker system at San Siro warning the fans to stop or the match would be suspended.
Lazio won 1-0 to progress to the final against Atalanta or Fiorentina. The first leg ended 0-0.
Earlier in the day, around 50 Lazio fans unfurled a banner reading “honor to Benito Mussolini” near Piazzale Loreto, where the fascist dictator was killed at the end of World War II.
According to reports from Milan, visiting Lazio fans have begun racially abusing AC Milan midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko prior to kickoff of the Coppa Italia semifinal second leg at the San Siro, according to a report by Football Italia. Midfielder Franck Kessie was also reportedly a target, with the same fans filmed outside the stadium chanting racial abuse aimed at the player.
Lazio fans have taken particular aim at Bakayoko and Kessie after the pair was forced to apologize for mocking Lazio defender Francesco Acerbi by holding his jersey around during postmatch celebrations of a 1-0 AC Milan win over Lazio in Serie A play. Bakayoko and Acerbi had gone back and forth in the media during the buildup to the match.
“Harboring hatred is not sport but a sign of weakness,” Acerbi said after the match when he learned of the postmatch display by the two AC Milan players.
According to Football Italia, rules in the Italian top flight do not allow a referee to stop or postpone a match for racial abuse. That falls to the duties of the official in charge of public safety and security, not the match official.
In addition to the racial abuse, a group of around 50 Lazio ultras from the “Irriducibili” group traveled to nearby Piazzale Loreto to unveil a banner that read “Honour to Benito Mussolini” and make Nazi salutes.
There is political pretext for the group to make these displays. Piazzale Loreto is the location where Mussolini’s body was hung up in the final moments of World War 2, while Thursday marks the Festival of Liberation in Italy to celebrate the defeat of the fascist rule in Italy.
The stunt forced Deputy Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Salvini – also an outspoken AC Milan supporter – to release a statement on social media.“No tolerance for any form of violence, whether physical or verbal. I thank the police force who are carefully monitoring the situation. Football must be an occasion to celebrate and meet up, not of brawls and clashes.”