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Europa League round of 16 draw

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AC and Inter advised to merge

The outspoken agent of Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, among others, has suggested that AC Milan and Inter Milan should consider merging in a bid to become more competitive in Europe.

Italian football appears to be suffering the most from a worldwide economic crisis with more big names leaving Serie A than joining - and Raiola believes the best way to redress that issue would be by combining resources.

His proposal for some of Italy's top clubs to join forces is unlikely to reach much consensus, however.

"It's not a provocation but rather an idea," he told Sky Sport 24. "For me, two big clubs like Inter and Milan should merge to cut costs because they have hundreds of millions of expenses and rather than selling to foreign investors, they could form one single club for the city.

"This way, they could compete with Europe's biggest clubs. It's better to have one healthy club than two halfway competitive sides. Lazio and Roma should do the same.

"Italy has got to change the way in which it thinks, it has got to become more pragmatic."

With Edinson Cavani on the verge of leaving Napoli to join PSG for €63 million, and with Fiorentina conversely struggling to match Bayern Munich's €20 million asking price for Mario Gomez, a clear trend is developing in terms of the spending power - or weakness - of Italian clubs.

"You do get the feeling that Italian football is not in the best of shape right now, financially speaking," said Bayern Munich president and former Inter Milan player Karl-Heinz Rummenigge to Germany's Sport1 television earlier this week.

Earlier this week, Inter president Massimo Moratti said talks over the sale of a substantial share in the Serie A club to Indonesian media mogul Erick Thohir are advancing, as they seek investment in the side.

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