The European Championships are in full swing over in France but the summer transfer market continues regardless, with clubs all around the continent working through the night to improve their squads ahead of the coming season. With the objective of Champions League football still to chase and a new wealthy business partner, Inter are naturally one of the more active teams at the moment, with several roles that need upgrades if they are to steal a place at Europe's top table off either Roma or Napoli (Juventus, unfortunately, are way out of reach for the foreseeable future).
In the last few days therefore, the Nerazzurri have begun some rather intricate talks with Sassuolo, also set to participate in next year's Europa League, with the aim of unloading some of their unwanted squad players on the Neroverdi and receiving some glamorous replacements in the process. Depending on which source you are reading however, the specific names which have been mentioned in these discussions vary. Which makes things very confusing indeed.
Put simply, there are five players who have been linked with a move from Inter to Sassuolo (Andrea Ranocchia, Davide Santon, Rey Manaj, George Puscas and Assane Gnoukouri), while there are four players who have been linked with a move from Sassuolo to Inter (Sime Vrsaljko, Domenico Berardi, Francesco Acerbi and Alfred Duncan). What's difficult to work out at this stage is how many of those players will actually make the switch from Milan to Reggio Emilia, in what combination and with what amount of money. If any.
Let's start with Ranocchia and Santon. Sassuolo coach Eusebio Di Francesco is said to be a fan of both defenders, according to Alfredo Pedulla and Gazzetta di Modena, and could receive the former on a season-long loan, although Gianluca Di Marzio believes his wages could be a stumbling block to agreeing a deal. The latter, meanwhile, has been mentioned as a potential sweetener in a deal for Vrsaljko, by papers such as Corriere dello Sport and La Repubblica, a man whom Sassuolo sporting director Giovanni Carnevali has confirmed is of interest to Inter, stating "it's true, they've asked for him while offering us various players in return". The other three men who could make up these 'various players' are Manaj, Puscas (whom Sassuolo showed a strong interest in last summer) and Gnoukouri, all of whom need game-time and would get the chance to improve with the Neroverdi. However, Di Marzio is reporting that Croatian right-back Vrsaljko will complete his transfer to Atletico Madrid by the end of this week, which would scupper that plan if true.
If Inter's interest in Vrsaljko is unlikely to bear any fruits however, they will also struggle to prise any of the other aforementioned players off Giorgio Squinzi's club. Berardi would undoubtedly be an ideal signing for Inter, but after a meeting between Juventus and Sassuolo on Monday he looks set to stay put for another season (Di Marzio), having decided against a move to the Bianconeri in favour of playing in Europe under a coach he has a great relationship with. Inter are still monitoring the situation (Pedulla, Di Marzio), but it is extremely difficult to imagine that he could be brought to San Siro this summer. Acerbi and Duncan meanwhile are on Inter's shopping list due to the new squad restrictions that are about to come into effect, which requires Serie A teams to reserve space for at least 4 players who've come through an Italian club's youth system and another 4 who've specifically come through their own - but they too are unlikely to sign, according to Carnevali himself. This is because Sassuolo do not under any conditions want to let go of either, as their upcoming season will begin very early (due to Europa League preliminaries) and they would not have much time to find adequate replacements and integrate them into the squad.
With that in mind, I fear that the only transfer which could actually take place is Ranocchia heading to Sassuolo on loan. This could take place without any other players involved as it would have the approval of all three parties (Pedulla), whereas the rest may just end up being talk. Let's hope not.