The wheels of the transfer market are moving, and it feels like two of the key cogs in that machine this month will be Inter and Tottenham.
Antonio Conte has been repeating for some time that he absolutely needs more players, that the squad which has got Inter to the top of Serie A simply won’t do. And of course one of the players they have been pretty doggedly chasing after is Christian Eriksen.
Eriksen seemed to wave goodbye to Tottenham at the weekend, and by all accounts he is heading for Inter sooner rather than later. But where would he fit in Conte’s team? We asked James Horncastle on Tuesday’s Totally Football Show, European edition.
“If you’ve watched Inter this season,” said James, “particularly when they’ve had Stefano Sensi in the team, he plays higher up the pitch in an area where you’d expect Eriksen to play. They’ve also tried to adapt how they play, not only in a 3-5-2 but also a 3-4-2-1 with two link players behind Romelu Lukaku: that has been Alexis Sanchez and Lautaro Martinez in the past.
“I think there’s room for Eriksen in that. What I think is interesting is that Inter were initially attracted by the opportunity of taking Eriksen for free in the summer. He’s represented by an agent whose only client is Eriksen, so getting to the summer and pocketing a transfer fee-like commission would be in his interests.
“But I think Harry Kane’s injury changes things. Spurs need a striker, and they need to bring in money for a striker, and one of the ways to get that money is to sell Eriksen now.”
Spurs of course will also almost certainly need someone to replace Kane, temporarily at least, and one name consistently floated as been Milan’s Krzysztof Piatek. The Pole scored for fun last season but has been decidedly less deadly this term, hence Milan’s willingness to set him free, but would this be a good move for player or club?
“There’s definitely been an enquiry – the issue is that Spurs would like it to be a cheap loan. A year ago he was the hottest property in Serie A, he went to Milan [from Genoa] for €34million and kept scoring. He is a goalscorer but that’s all he is – he’s a passenger when his team don’t have the ball, he doesn’t link play.
“I would also look at Piatek’s motives here: I think it would appeal to him, but ultimately he’s going to a club who in April will be playing Harry Kane again, and how much game time are you realistically going to get for a player who’s 24 and needs to be starting, and leading a team in attack.”
And briefly returning to Inter, Ashley Young is reportedly close to a move there from Manchester United, which again prompts the question: why? Luckily for us and for you, James was here to explain.
“I believe they have agreed terms with the player but they have to sort it out with Manchester United. He’s a wing-back, they play 3-5-2, and they feel they’re short in that area.
:Valentino Lazaro, who they spent €25million on in the summer has had an up and down start, Kwadwo Asamoah’s always injured, Cristiano Biraghi was signed to fulfil the homegrown player quota and again he’s been inconsistent. So Young is someone they feel can do a job there.”
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