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Daily Schmankerl: Inter eyeing Luka Modrić over Arturo Vidal; Barca scoping Thiago Alcantara; and MORE!

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Inter Milan is thinking bigger than Arturo Vidal, while Barcelona keeps poking around about Thiago Alcantara.

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Is Inter Milan ditching Arturo Vidal for Luka Modrić? (GianlucaDiMarizio.com)

Italian Sky Sport reporter Gianluca Di Marzio posted multiple reports that Inter Milan may shift its focus from Bayern Munich’s Chilean warrior to Real Madrid’s star midfielder Luka Modrić. On his website, Di Marzio noted that the Nerazzurri may be looking to expand their Croatian representation to include the 2018 World Cup Golden Ball winner.

The other big news of the day, however, concerns Inter and its dream for the midfield: Luka Modrić. First contacts with the agents and player, leave a small opening for the presence of three Croats in the Nerazzurri team. In the coming days we will try to understand if there are margins to carry out a specific negotiation, otherwise Inter will close for Arturo Vidal. In the meantime Šime Vrsaljko’s transfer to the Nerazzurri is official, the player has arrived in Milan.

Inter Milan has just brought in Modrić’s World Cup teammate Šime Vrsaljko from Atletico Madrid via loan and also features fellow Croats Marcelo Brozović and Ivan Perišić.

Having taken Šime Vrsaljko by the side, Inter can now concentrate on the other market priority: the midfield. And the great dream of the Nerazzurri company is Luka Modrić. Difficult operation, of course, but at this stage Inter wants to try it to the end. There have already been some initial contacts with the agents of the Real Madrid midfielder, who would have opened some doors to this possibility. Also because at Inter, with the arrival of Vrsaljko, there are now three Croats, considering the presence of Brozović and Perišić. With them Modrić shared the World experience and, just in the month while they were in Russia, he spoke about this possibility with his teammates.

Di Marzio went on to explain that the sudden interest in Modrić could be the reason why the Vidal deal has not been finalized.

This is the reason why Inter has not yet closed for Vidal, even knowing that there would be the possibility to take it from Bayern Munich on fairly favorable terms: 18/19 million between loan and right of redemption. Vidal is a champion, of course. But Luka Modrić is certainly among the greatest midfielders in the world, not surprisingly the best player in the last World Cup in Russia. And as long as Inter can rock this dream, he will try all the way to give to Luciano Spalletti what would be a great blow for the midfield.

Di Marzio went one to write that if Modrić proves to be impossible to pry from Los Blancos, Inter Milan would shift its focus back to Vidal.

After having found some glimpse in the first contacts with the agents, in the next hours the Nerazzurri will try to see if there will be margins to carry on the negotiation concretely. If in the next few hours, or at most in a few days, he should understand that this is an impossible operation, then Inter will definitively close for Vidal. Otherwise, after CR7 at Juventus, it will be the Nerazzurri to try the big blow from Real Madrid.

While Di Marzio is tuned in to the Serie A transfer market, and it is conceivable that Inter Milan is interested in bringing in Modrić to try and give the Nerazurri a Croatian foundation, it is hard to think that Real Madrid would be looking to unload the Golden Ball winner.

This could all be conjecture in hopes of driving down the price on Vidal a bit more, but Inter Milan at least appears to have kicked the tires a bit on what it would take to bring in Modrić. We still expect the Vidal to Inter Milan deal to get done.

Barca’s interest in Thiago Alcantara is heating up (Marca)

Yesterday, it was Thiago’s brother Rafinha who wanted to bring him back to Barcelona and today, well, it’s none other than Barca coach Ernesto Valverde.

Ernesto Valverde is clear in his mind that a playmaker is the final ingredient missing from his Barcelona squad and Thiago Alcantara is one genuine option for the club.With Paulinho and Andres Iniesta leaving over the summer, Miralem Pjanic had been earmarked as the ideal signing but Juventus rebuffed all approaches forcefully, having forked out on Cristiano Ronaldo with the desire of pushing for the Champions League title.

In the Bosnian’s stead, Thiago emerged with Bayern Munich perhaps willing to let the Spaniard leave as new boss Niko Kovac shuffles the German giant’s squad to fit his playing style.Internal politics come into play though with some inside the Camp Nou seeing it as uncouth to sign a former player who decided to leave when it suited his short-term gain, as Thiago did, for 24 million euros, when Pep Guardiola started out in Bavaria.

Valverde knows that Thiago is a fit for his squad as he spoke on the importance of any transfer being a fit at Camp Nou:

We want a player that fits especially with our style. We need people who generate plays through the middle. And if they have to arrive later, well that is fine.

With Vidal appearing close to exit and Sebastian Rudy reportedly on the verge of an offer by RB Leipzig, the mass exodus of midfielders from Säbener Strasse could be set to launch. Could Thiago be next in line?

ESPN report refutes Christian Pulisic’s availability (ESPN)

With rumors swirling, Borussia Dortmund is trying to put out fires - or drive up the price - on Christian Pulisic. The USMNT phenom is an extremely valuable commodity in Europe as nearly every club would love to have an “in” with the American fan base, which represents a lucrative market for television rights and merchandise. ESPN, however, does not think Pulisic will be on the move during this transfer window; instead the Hershey, PA native might be for sale in 2019.

In the written version of the story, Dortmund expresses that there have been no bids on Pulisic, but that if the American talent doesn’t sign a contract extension, he could be up for sale in 2019.

Christian Pulisic is unlikely to leave Borussia Dortmund this summer, with the German club saying they’ve received no formal bids for the U.S. international, sources have told ESPN FC’s Raphael Honigstein. However, it is likely Pulisic would be sold in 2019 if he does not sign a new contract with the Bundesliga club. His current deal expires in 2020. Pulisic has long been linked with a move to bigger clubs in Europe with Liverpool considered the leading contender, though recent reports have claimed Chelsea are now targeting the 19-year-old.

The ESPN reports that it is difficult for BVB to sell Pulisic now because any prospective transfer partner would want Pulisic to agree to a new deal as well; which his representatives appear reluctant to do at this stage.

The Chelsea speculation erupted after German newspaper Bild reported on Friday night that Pulisic’s representatives have declined to hold any talks on a new contract beyond his current deal. The reports linking Pulisic to Chelsea rated a potential transfer fee of £62 million (€70m), and by keeping him another year, Dortmund will be hoping he improves on his record of four goals and six assists from last season.

Leon Goretzka got the Vogue treatment (@FCBayern)

The FC Bayern Frauen did their trading card photo shoot (@FCBfrauen)

Autograph Cards-Shooting ✅ when the new, signed cards #FCBFrauen are available, you will naturally be able to find out on all our channels! But you still need a little patience. ✍️♦ ️ #MiaSanMia #FCBayern

As a kid, I was TOTALLY into baseball cards. The 1989 Upper Deck Ken Giffey Jr. rookie card was STRAIGHT FIRE. Now, however, I think I’d prefer the infamous 1989 Billy Ripken Fleer card, which featured “F*** Face” on the knob of his bat.

I am sooooo old. Anyway, the Frauen also have intensified their workouts to prepare for the upcoming season. Don’t sleep on the ladies, they have an exciting group with big goals in store for this season in Munich!

Bayern Munich youth talent Ryan Johansson to play for Ireland (The Times)

Ryan Johansson, who was one of the Bayern youth players who was rostered for the Audi Tour and International Champions Cup, has apparently decided to play his international soccer for Ireland.

As noted below, Johansson has a Swedish father, an Irish mother, and was born in Luxembourg...got all that?

Ireland look set to win the three-way contest to secure the eligibility of the Bayern Munich protégé, Ryan Johansson, who made his first-team debut for the Bundesliga champions last week. The 17-year-old will be called into the Irish under-18 side next month, after he was checked out by Paul Osam, of the FAI. Born in Luxembourg, Johansson has featured in an under-age international for Sweden, where his father is from. He qualifies for Ireland through his Mullingar-born mother, Christine McCarthy.

Johansson, a midfielder by trade, played a significant amount of time at outside back for Bayern while on the Audi Tour.