Transfer news: Who could be on the move this summer?
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Antonio Conte is set for showdown talks with the Inter Milan hierarchy on Thursday in an effort to clear up the uncertainty over his future. Conte led Inter to their first Serie A title in 11 years this season but the Scudetto has not papered over the cracks at the club.
The 51-year-old former Chelsea and Juventus manager has one more year on his contract with Inter but has repeatedly been linked with other clubs recently.
Like many of Europe’s biggest clubs, the coronavirus pandemic has had a serious effect on Inter’s financial standing.
The club’s bottom line was hit hard by Covid-19 and the lack of fans in stadiums, with the club recording a loss of £87million in 2020.
Chinese owners Suning have been seeking investment since October and, with the summer transfer window approaching, may be forced to part with some of their most prized assets in order to limit the damage this summer.
That means not just players like Romelu Lukaku, Laurtaro Martinez and Achraf Hakimi, but Conte, who has hinted he could be open to a new challenge after two years with the club.
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“I’ll be staying or leaving Inter? Now we enjoy the celebrations, then we’ll meet and decide,” he told Le Iene recently.
“We will choose the best destiny for Inter.”
Inter held a party to celebrate their Scudetto on Tuesday, with Conte, his staff and vice-president Javier Zanetti all attending, but the occasion was soured by the uncertainty around what the future holds, with Conte refusing to answer journalists’ questions when he left.
The club’s players and staff are readying themselves to go on holiday after their final Serie A game of the season against Udinese on Sunday.
But before that game Conte is going to sit down with club president Steven Zhang and directors Beppe Marotta, Piero Ausilio and Alessandro Antonello today to ‘discuss the future strategy of the club’, according to Sport Mediaset.
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The report states that Conte is ‘likely to demand guarantees on the transfer market’ if he is going to stay on for another campaign.
Inter’s financial status is the potential stumbling block, but there could be some progress on that front.
According to Bloomberg, US fund Oaktree Capital is close to buying a 30 per cent stake of the club in a deal worth around £237million (€275m).
However, there are no guarantees that investment in Inter will mean the club is able to hold onto the likes of Lukaku, Martinez and Hakimi, who are bound to attract interest from other clubs.
Conte, meanwhile, has been linked with the vacant Tottenham job, while both Ronald Koeman at Barcelona and Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid are facing uncertain futures.
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