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With zero dollars to spend, Inter Milan handcuffed in transfer season

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So, it’s only loan deals if we have hopes to bolstering the roster.

Liverpool v Leicester City - Premier League
Many Inter transfer plans could hinge on Philippe Coutinho’s potential move to FC Barcelona this month.
Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

It shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Interisti that the Suning Group has no interest in “splashing the cash” during the winter mercato.

During his pre-match press conference Thursday, Luciano Spalletti said the club has “set limits” to what it is willing to spend and that limit appears to be next to nothing.

“To keep saying that we must spend a lot in this transfer window, after the club has already set limits, seems to be the best way to harm ourselves,” Spalletti told reporters ahead of Friday’s Serie A match at Fiorentina. “It also reduces the chances of improving with what we have got.

“No single player can arrive and change the fortune of a team, to say otherwise would be to send the wrong message to our players.”

After going through the first 16 games of the season unbeaten, three losses and a year-ending draw with Lazio find the Nerazzurri in third in Serie A, seven points behind league-leading Napoli heading into Friday’s match up with Fiorentina – a team Inter defeated 3-0 to start its unbeaten run.

The only way Inter will be able to spend any money during the winter transfer season is if they sell players for cash. This would mean selling a player like Joao Mario for €40 million or even hope that Liverpool sells Philippe Coutinho to FC Barcelona.

If the latter happens, Barcelona might be more inclined to look at a loan deal for Gerard Deulofeu, who has been linked to Inter.

If not, and Coutinho still makes the move to Camp Nou, Inter Milan would still receive some of the record money being reportedly offered. Inter picked up Coutinho for about €3.8 million in 2008 from Vasco Da Gama, then sold him to Liverpool for €13 million in 2013 (how silly does that deal look right about now?).

What Inter management did at the time of his sale to Liverpool was to insert a 1.25 percent sell-on clause meaning Inter would recoup 1.25 percent of whatever Liverpool sold the player for. Now, while that would mean about €2 million coming to Inter if and when the sale is complete, the fact remains that most teams have that sell-on clause at more than 10 percent.

Regardless, it appears the transfer line in the sand has been drawn and Inter ownership have no interest in battling Financial Fair Play rules again.

As for Spalletti, he is more inclined to focus on the lineup he has rather than the one he doesn’t.

“Everyone knows we cannot make big signings in this window,” he said. “We can do better by making sure that our players play to their potential. That’s how you get over difficult moments.

“The lads who are training need to know that I believe in them completely, but they themselves have to be committed and know what it means to wear the Inter shirt.”