Allegri hopes Cassano repays AC Milan's faith in him

AC Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri has issued a plea to Antonio Cassano to continue playing for the side next season, after the striker reportedly made known his intentions to seek a transfer away.

The San Siro outfit have decided to cash in on several senior players this summer, as key duo Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva have moved to Paris Saint-Germain. And the departure of the pair has reportedly cast doubts in Cassano’s mind about the club’s ambitions or ability to challenge for silverware next season.

A switch to city rivals Inter has recently been touted as a possible solution, according to the Italian media.

“There are 15 days left to the end of the market, and we’ll see what happens,” responded Allegri when pressed on the topic at a press conference. “Antonio is our player, and [he] can certainly do well here.”

“Cassano is our player and a professional, and has to work to give his best in training. We’ve done plenty for him in the last year – from awaiting his return from heart surgery to nursing [him] back to fitness for Euro 2012.

“I’ve confirmed to him that he is an important player whose technique can help us. We’ve always shown our full interest in keeping him here, although it’s important he’s staying voluntarily, convinced of our project.”

Despite winning the Scudetto in his debut campaign on the Milan bench, Allegri’s side lost out to Juventus last season, and the 45-year-old coach has no doubts who will enter the season as favourites to clinch the prize again.

“Juventus are favourites for this season’s Scudetto, and are a cut above Inter, Roma, Napoli and ourselves.

“We, admittedly, have to adapt to the loss of Ibrahimovic and Silva, without losing sight of the objectives for a strong side such as ourselves – fighting to emerge in the top three of Serie A,” he explained.

Milan host newly promoted Sampdoria in their league opener on August 26.

Luis Fabiano denies he is moving to Al Rayyan

Luis Fabiano has denied statements made by Al Rayyan sporting director Ali Salem Afifeh that he will leave Sao Paulo for the Qatari club.

The club official announced that the Brazilian striker will fill in the last foreign player slot and that an agreement has been reached for a transfer

The attacker, however, has acted quickly to dismiss such notion, and vowed to stay at Sao Paulo until 2014.

“Luis Fabiano would like to deny what was released on Friday, August 17, that there has been any agreement between the player and Al-Rayyan of Qatar,” read a statement released by the Brazilian club.

“There have not been any negotiations between Al-Rayyan and Sao Paulo. The striker has a contract with Sao Paulo until the end of 2014.”

Luis Fabiano joined the Brazilian outfit from Sevilla in 2010 for a sum believed to be in the region of €7 million.

Ancelotti: PSG are not interested in Lichtsteiner

Paris Saint-Germain coach Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that the club are not interested in signing Stephan Lichtsteiner from Juventus.

The French capital club were expected to announce the arrival of full-back Anthony Reveillere from Lyon last week, but the deal reportedly fell through.

These developments have reportedly rekindled PSG’s interest in the Juventus right-back, but Ancelotti has moved to squash such claims and insisted that Lichtsteiner is not in PSG’s plans.

“It is not remotely true that we are interested in Lichtsteiner.” he said in a press conference on Friday. “We do want a right-back, but we are looking for a Frenchman for that role.”

PSG began their Ligue 1 campaign last weekend, drawing 2-2 with Lorient thanks to a brace from new signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Van Persie can emulate Cantona, says Sir Alex Ferguson

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes Robin van Persie can emulate club legend Eric Cantona and fire his new side to the Premier League title.

Cantona arrived at Old Trafford in 1992 and then went on to dominate English football with the Red Devils, and while United may not enjoy the same levels of success this time round, Sir Alex believes Van Persie’s arrival will at least dethrone local rivals and current champions Manchester City.

The 29-year-old Dutchman was brought to Old Trafford to galvanize United’s attack, which for once was second best to Manchester City’s last year.

Sir Alex told The Daily Mail: “No matter the years of experience we have of going for titles, last year was a different type of year. It’s the first time anyone has beaten us on goal difference. That is what cost us the league and it won’t happen again. Trust me on that.

“Robin is what we have needed for the last couple of years. We needed a finished player. We have had several players who have been this sort of catalyst, starting with Eric Cantona.

“We were still capable of winning the title without Robin but he gives us a sort of certainty for the future.”

The United boss revealed that he had originally given up hope of signing the former Arsenal striker – but that hope was rekindled after Van Persie refused to put pen to paper on a new deal with the Gunners.

He continued: “We never thought we could get Van Persie. Even if you go back six months I couldn’t see us getting him.

“I didn’t think Arsenal would let him go, but then he refused a new contract and that’s when we acted.

“It’s been a long haul but we needed a finished player. Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs are coming to the end and I need mature, top players to replace them.”

Roma set to sign Marquinhos – report

Marquinhos is edging closer to a move to Roma as the Serie A side have reached an agreement with Corinthians over a summer switch, Corriere dello Sport reports.

The Giallorossi are looking to add some fresh blood to their defence following the departure of players such as Simon Kjaer, Gabriel Heinze and Juan earlier this summer, and they see the 18-year-old Brazilian as a good addition.

Roma will reportedly pay Corinthians a €1.5 million fee to loan the centre-back until the end of the 2012-13 campaign, with the obligation to make the move permanent for an additional €3.5m next summer.

Marquinhos is expected to travel to the Italian capital shortly to undergo a medical, and will ink a five-year deal upon completion of his physical tests.

Both clubs have yet to confirm the imminent move, but an official statement is expected to be released in the upcoming days.