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Mercato: Inter closing in on Cristian Ansaldi

The Argentine has enjoyed an exceptional season at Genoa and is seen as an ideal reinforcement in defence, although reaching an agreement with Enrico Preziosi could prove difficult.

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It's no secret by now that the full-back department is one of the areas Inter are looking to upgrade in this summer's transfer market, having failed to ever adequately address the problem since Roberto Mancini took over from Walter Mazzarri and switched the team from a back five to a back four. Whether it be Dodo, Juan Jesus, Davide Santon, Yuto Nagatomo or Danilo D'Ambrosio, no one has completely convinced in those positions over the last two seasons, so it's time for the club to make a proper investment in that sector of the pitch and liberate us from our torture.

With left-back Caner Erkin having already been signed on a free transfer from Fenerbahce, Piero Ausilio's focus is now on finding someone can reinforce the other side of our defence, and if reports are to be believed he has - at least in my opinion - identified a very worthy candidate indeed. The man in question is Genoa's Cristian Ansaldi, who has enjoyed an exemplary first season in Serie A and is supposedly top of the Nerazzurri's wish-list, with Sassuolo star Sime Vrsaljko on the verge of signing for Atletico Madrid (one of Ansaldi's former clubs, strangely enough).

According to Alfredo Pedulla, Inter are firmly in pole position to sign the Argentine despite recent interest from Lazio, with the player having already given his consent to the move after a persuasive conversation with Vice President Javier Zanetti. Pupi had an integral role in getting Ever Banega to sign on back in January, so that is very much believable. Roma, Fiorentina and even Juventus have all been linked to Ansaldi over the past few weeks, but none of them have made as much of an effort to sign him as Inter have, which is apparently why the club are confident of completing the deal.

To all intents and purposes, this would be the second time Inter have signed him in the same summer. According to Sky Italia they had reached an agreement with Zenit St Petersburg - the club Ansaldi was on loan from this season - at the end of May, before Genoa decided to buy him permanently and everything changed.

Finding an agreement with Enrico Preziosi's side will be difficult in our current financial situation; we need to sell before we buy, just like last summer, which may give other teams a chance to nick him from under our noses should they so wish. Until the Suning takeover is completed on 28 June and UEFA's Financial Fair Play deadline passes on 30 June, it's hard to know how much room for maneuver there is for us, but the fact that Ansaldi wants to come to us should give us a hand.

At the moment, Genoa are asking for between €7m and €8m in cash, but Pedulla claims Inter are confident that they can convince them to lower the price a little - perhaps by throwing a couple of players into the offer. Their current idea appears to be to offer €4m plus the permanent signing of Diego Laxalt, who has been on loan at Genoa for 18 months, while Assane Gnoukouri has also been mentioned. Time will tell if their confidence is well-founded.

As far as the player himself as concerned, I wrote a bit about him here in a piece I did on Serie A's most underrated players of the 2015-16 season. If we can satisfy Genoa and get there before any other clubs make more appetizing offers, I think he'd be a very good signing which would solve a lot of our problems, despite him being almost 30 (it's his age that makes Inter so unwilling to meet the €7m asking price). Let's face it, we've signed two 30 year-olds from Genoa in the last seven years and one of them won us a treble...

Oh, and on top of him being a great footballer, Ansaldi is also a keen musician, which can only endear him to you.