Agreement reached with the Chilean, Moratti also working on deals for Montoya and Song. Former Udinese forward, in Inter‘s sights in 2011, prepared to take a wage cut. Lennon the dream signing to complete the attack
While the team is fully focused on trying to finish third, behind the scenes Inter are working on more big signings for the future. Icardi, Andreolli, Botta, Campagnaro and Laxalt are already in the bag for next season and now Massimo Moratti‘s club is closing in on another jewel: Alexis Sanchez. The 24-year-old Chilean can’t get into the team at Barcelona and has apparently reached an agreement in principle with the Nerazzurri, who tracked him at length in 2011 before Barcelona’s superior finance muscle won the day. Udinese bought the player from Cobreloa for €3 million in 2006 and sold him – after a stunning season in which he scored 12 goals and made 10 assists – for €37.5 million. At Barcelona he earns close to €4 million a year.
UNHAPPY AND ON THE CHEAP — Things haven’t gone to plan in Catalonia, however. After making 25 appearances with 12 goals in his debut campaign, this season hasn’t gone nearly so well and the Niño Maravilla has played an increasingly marginal role: just ten games and two goals so far. The first signs of him becoming restless have appeared and transfer rumours have started up, including talk of a move to Juventus. Inter have seized the moment to make contact with his representatives once again and Sanchez, who would jump at the chance to be one of the focal points of the team, has agreed to a wage cut.
CHYGRY AND IBRA — The stumbling block is now Barcelona. The Catalan club want to recover at least part of the investment they made 18 months ago. The two sides are working on it but it’s worth remembering two similar cases from the past. First there was Dmytro Chygrynskyi, the 26-year-old Ukrainian centre-back who moved from Shakhtar to Barcelona for €25 million in 2009, before returning home a year later, having failed to settle in Spain, for half the price. But the most astonishing deal was Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Bought from Inter for €70 million (50 plus Eto’o) in 2009, the Swede never really got on with Guardiola and his team-mates and was sold to AC Milan for a cut-price €24 million.
DREAM ATTACK — Inter are obviously hoping to seal a deal that won’t completely drain the club’s coffers (a loan with an option to purchase) but which can hand Strama that nippy player capable of gliding past opponents he wants. And Sanchez would fit perfectly into the 4-2-3-1 system which remains the coach’s formation of choice. That’s why, having missed out on the Chilean last summer, Inter tried to sign first Lavezzi and then Lucas. Before being blown out of the water by PSG’s petrol-dollars. With Icardi leading the line and Sanchez in support, Inter would have a fantastic front line. And the dream signing to complete the attack, with Palacio remaining a key member, is Aaron Lennon, Tottenham’s jet-heeled winger.
SONG AND MONTOYA — Meanwhile Inter are trying to strengthen elsewhere and have begun negotiations with Barça over Song and Montoya. The versatile Cameroonian joined from Arsenal last summer in a €19 million deal but has never played for Villanova, while 21-year-old Montoya is an alternative to Jung at right-back, with the added bonus that he can also slot in at centre-back. Inter sounded out the possibility of a move last year but Beguiristain (now at Manchester City) opposed the move. Things have changed now. And getting into next year’s Champions League would go a long way to convincing these players that Inter is the place to be.