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Is a move for Keita Balde in the works for Inter Milan?

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Inter could swoop in for Monaco standout.

Senegal v Colombia: Group H - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Keita Balde of Senegal is challenged by Juan Cuadrado of Colombia during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Group H match between Senegal and Colombia at Samara Arena on June 28, 2018 in Samara, Russia.
Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

New news breaking last night in Italy is that Inter Milan have a new trick up their sleeve: Moving in for AS Monaco’s Keita Balde.

An added twist to the move is that the Nerazzurri are willing to swap Antonio Candreva to make the move happen.

Calciomercato reports that Inter would move in for Keita if their potential deal with Real Madrid for midfielder Luka Modric doesn’t come to fruition. Inter is awaiting news as to whether Modric is open to a move to the San Siro and, if he is, will Real Madrid be willing to part with him on a loan/purchase deal.

As for Keita, Inter has been reportedly working behind the scenes with his people to secure a deal if they can make a move with Monaco happen. However, reports also suggest that the deal for Modric is not necessarily tied with Keita, meaning the Nerazzurri could land both, if the stars align.

Last season, Keita scored eight goals with five assists in 19 matches with Monaco in limited action.

AC Milan v Manchester United - International Champions Cup 2018
Juan Mata #8 of Manchester United and Manuel Locatelli #73 of A.C. Milan battle for a header in the first half during the International Champions Cup 2018 at StubHub Center on July 25, 2018 in Carson, California.
Photo by John McCoy/International Champions Cup/Getty Images

Another option to Modric has also sprung up as Manchester United has reportedly offered the services of Juan Mata, if Inter fails to land Modric. The caveat with Mata is the deal would have to be done by Friday as the Premier League transfer window closes at week’s end.

Additionally, reports are that a deal for Mata would not include moving Ivan Perisic to Manchester United, despite Jose Mourinho’s avid interest in the Croatian winger.

But, Calciomercato has also reported that Modric has already agreed to terms with Inter leaving Real Madrid president Florentino Perez the lone obstacle. Perez has stated the only way for Modric to leave is if a team pays his exit clause which is a ghastly €700-€750 million.

Conventional wisdom here is that Modric’s talks with Perez — which are expected to be Wednesday — with either be to convince Perez to let Modric go without the clause or to renegotiate a larger contract for the Croatian midfielder.

Now, we have to be careful here not to suggest that Balde would be a replacement for Modric. Balde is a forward while Modric is a midfielder. Balde would add an attacking option for Luciano Spalletti to work in conjunction with Mauro Icardi, Lautaro Martinez and Ivan Perisic.

Modric, on the other hand, could be a strong attacking midfielder or trequartista — which could be a bit of a stretch, but possible.

Udinese Calcio v FC Internazionale - Serie A
Antonio Candreva of FC Internazionale in action during the Serie A match between Udinese Calcio and FC Internazionale at Stadio Friuli on May 6, 2018 in Udine, Italy.
Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

I actually like the Keita proposition, even if it means sending Candreva to Monaco — which he likely isn’t very fond of. We get a Sadio Mané-type player who is quick and already has solid experience. It isn’t that Candreva is bad, it’s that he can be inconsistent. Not that Keita won’t be, but it is likely he won’t be.

As for Modric, it would be a good name to have, but I just fear a Borja Valero situation where he is active part of the time and a hinderance the rest of the time. Valero has his upside — he is good on the defensive end, but not so much offensively. Modric would likely be just the opposite. The question is whether Modric is worth the potential price?

With Mata, I really don’t even know what to think. Mourinho is way too anxious to get rid of Mata, mainly because he has too many midfielders. Again, it isn’t that Mata is bad, he is just inconsistent.

I guess, when it comes down to it, I would rather see Rafinha in an Inter shirt over Mata and perhaps even over Modric. I love the passion Rafinha has for the game and for Inter. It isn’t just about a payday — at least it certainly doesn’t seem that way — for Rafinha. But, if we could pony up the money for Modric or Keita, why would we not do it for Rafinha?

Let’s be honest, Inter has had a stellar summer transfer season and we have picked up and created what could arguably be a strong contender for a Scudetto. Juventus has splashed the cash for Joao Cancelo and Cristiano Ronaldo but Inter has built its team smart. Not dropping a ton of money but getting players that fit the system.


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