Inter Milan Transfer News and Rumours Tracker: Week of Dec 9
Another weekend of Serie A football and another weekend when Internazionale failed to win.
Nerazzurri boss Walter Mazzarri, speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport (via Sky Sports), admitted that his players were beginning to feel the pressure resulting from their poor run and the fans’ unrelenting desire for a victory.
The Milan side haven’t won a game in Serie A since they beat Livorno on November 9.
Mazzarri has indicated that his current personnel are not up to the demands that come with pulling on the famous blue and black of Inter. He described his team as “a young and inexperienced side” and it is clear that something needs to change.
The January transfer window provides Mazzarri and new club owner Erick Thohir with an immediate opportunity to remedy some of the squad’s failings. The latter has indicated that new arrivals are imminent, speaking to Liputan 6, he said, “It’s very likely that we will make some new signings next month and that a few players in the current squad will be sent out on loan.”
This slideshow considers some of the dealings rumoured to be taking place in the blue half of Milan at the beginning of 2014.
***UPDATED: DECEMBER 13***
Inter Set to Miss out on Zuculini
One of the more exciting prospects to have been linked with a move to Lombardy over the last few weeks is Bruno Zuculini. The 20-year-old midfielder has been tracked by a number of top European sides, with Internazionale firmly in the running.
Unfortunately for Nerazzurri fans, the club look set to miss out on his signature.
The Racing Club player is in line to move to England at the end of the season, work permit allowing, the news will come as a blow to Inter, but also to Manchester United, City’s rivals who were also hoping for a move.
The player is already considered to be one of the best defensive midfielders in his native Argentina and is still in the running for a spot in the nation’s World Cup squad.
Ranocchia Closer Than We Suspected
Earlier in the week (and later in the slideshow) we presented Andrea Ranocchia’s move from Inter to Chelsea as one more likely to be confined to the file marked “speculation”.
It was suggested that Ranocchia would not be suitable for a backup role at Stamford Bridge, where his occasional lapses would be exposed.
The club’s recent pursuit of Kurt Zouma also seemed to indicate that Ranocchia was no longer in favour with the buyers in West London.
Ben Jefferson wrote: “The Italian international has fallen down the pecking order at the San Siro under Walter Mazzarri and is ready to seek a transfer.”
It may no longer be a case of a side seeking the perfect player for a specific role, Chelsea’s defence is in a dire situation and an accomplished Italian international has become available.
Some opportunities are too good to miss.
A Move for Milito?
According to the Mirror, West Ham could be set to secure a deal for Argentine forward Diego Milito.
The striker, who was one of the stars of the club’s European triumph in 2010, may be 34, but he remains a goal-scorer of some pedigree and class.
However, his contract comes to an end in the summer and Internazionale appear to have no problem letting him go for a cut price before then.
West Ham are being dragged further and further into the relegation quagmire in England and manager Sam Allardyce has been criticised for failing to address the club’s attacking inadequacies.
First-choice forward Andy Carroll is still far from fitness, while the team’s other options, Carlton Cole, Ricardo Vaz Te and Modibo Maiga, do not find the net with much regularity.
The move would see Allardyce returning to his Bolton days, where he managed to re-motivate ageing greats who appeared to be nearing their sell-by date.
The club have also been linked with the likes of Demba Ba and Emmanuel Adebayor, but Milito would represent a much cheaper option.
Eyeing City Trio
The three Eastern Europeans would each fill a different one of the team’s requirements and all would arrive motivated to put mixed tenures in Manchester behind them.
Dzeko has rarely enjoyed long stretches in the City first team, and having begun to look like an important player in September, has been reduced to impacting games predominantly as a substitute. It is a role he perfected under Roberto Mancini, but now 27, the time has surely come for him to build another lasting legacy at a club.
Jovetic has been similarly frustrated since arriving at Eastlands. Despite his undisputed talent, he has rarely featured and his adaptation period has been undermined by injury.
Kolarov was one of Serie A’s stars before moving to the Premier League, but has too often looked defensively suspect in the Sky Blue of City.
The New Zlatan
Another rumour concerns the future of Halmstads’ 17-year-old wonderkid Valmir Berisha.
The striker has been targeted by Liverpool, as part of their extensive rebuilding plans, but they will face competition from across Europe.
The ‘New Ibrahimovic’ also crops up on the shortlists for clubs such as Arsenal, Manchester United, Spurs, Celtic, Juventus and Real Madrid among others. It is clear he is a youngster with a big future, although he has calmly stated that he is keen to wait for the “right offer” before making a move.
If Inter do pounce, however, it is unclear how Berisha would solve their immediate problems. At 17, he is hardly likely to add much to a squad already crammed with young players.
Lavezzi Back to Italy?
One target that would both compensate for the lack of experience and the absence of fit, firing forwards would be Ezequiel Lavezzi.
Having struggled to hit the heights expected of him since joining Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 back in the summer of 2012, it might be time for a change of scene. Lavezzi’s hard-working approach is admired in Paris, but he does not contribute the goals that are expected.
Before this weekend’s rout against Sochaux, he had scored only one league goal all season, against Nantes in August.
Arsenal, Tottenham and Milan are also reported to be eyeing up the former Napoli man, but, for now at least, no transfer has been agreed.
Mazzarri has publicly expressed his admiration for a player who he describes as “a great player and a great guy”.
Watch this space!
Ranocchia to Stamford Bridge
One departure that had been mooted was that of international defender Andrea Ranocchia.
The 6’5" centre-back had been linked with a move away, with former Inter boss Jose Mourinho considering making a deal, according to John Cross of the Daily Mirror.
While Bleacher Report’s Sam Tighe dismissed Ranocchia’s suitability for a potential backup role in West London, the potential transfer has not been dismissed by any parties involved.
In principle, the rumour makes complete sense: Chelsea have been struggling defensively this season and their capitulation against Stoke over the weekend, where they conceded three goals, has only highlighted this weakness.
Mourinho must surely be seeking defensive reinforcements as a January priority.
A move for Ranocchia would surely signal the end of David Luiz’s troubled tenure at Stamford Bridge, but it remains to be seen whether Jose will swoop.
Balancing the Books
Should Ranocchia not move and perhaps, even if he does, Inter will surely need to offload some stars to balance the books. With Thohir keen to stamp his own imprint on the squad and redevelop both the approach and the identity of the team, some of the players guilty of underperformance over the years will likely depart.
Fredy Guarin is one of Inter’s better players, but the club might be unable to resist some of the attention that the Colombian midfielder has been receiving in recent times. My colleague Colin O’Brien last week linked the versatile star with a switch to Barcelona, and in the intervening days, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur have also been added to his list of growing admirers.
Beyond Ranocchia, Chelsea have also been linked to talented youngster Mateo Kovacic, although they do not particularly need another creative midfielder at this point in time.
A proposed deal that seems to have gone quiet, however, is Spurs’s proposed move for Alvaro Pereira. The left-sided star seems, in principle, like the ideal figure to solve Tottenham’s deficiencies down this side of the pitch but, for now at least, there is nothing else to report.