Written By Onyeka Daniel
Inter Milan have had a good start to the 2023/24 season, topping the Serie A table after 13 games while also being labelled as the favorite for the title. They’ve also progressed to the knockout stages of the UCL with two games to spare.
But the club is not leaving anything to chance with regards to their long term planning as they’re already looking at several targets to strengthen the team for next season. While several names have been linked, it appears that three names have become much more concrete and will in all likelihood join the Nerazzurri in the next summer transfer window.
The names are Lille defender, Tiago Djalo, Atletico Paranaense goalkeeper Bento and Djugardens midfielder Lucas Bergvall. According to a new report, Djalo has verbally agreed to join Inter Milan on a free transfer during the upcoming summer transfer window. According to the report, the Nerazzurri are confident that unless the 23-year-old changes his mind, he will become an Inter player for next season.
Djalo is a player who had been on Inter’s radar as early as the January transfer window of last season. That was when it became clear that Milan Skriniar would not be extending his contract. Had the Slovakian joined Paris Saint-Germain for a fee in January then Inter were considering a move for Djalo. The Portuguese international is a player who the Nerazzurri had marked out as a potential like-for-like replacement for Skriniar.
In the end, Skriniar stayed at Inter until the end of last summer. However, given that the Slovakian left to join PSG for free when his contract with the Nerazzurri ran out, a replacement was still needed. In the end, Inter signed Benjamin Pavard from Bayern Munich to replace Skriniar. Djalo was never a serious candidate in the summer due to a lengthy period on the sidelines with an ACL injury.
However, that does not mean that they have entirely lost interest in signing Djalo. On the contrary, Inter have closely followed the Portuguese during his injury. And they have been in constant contact with his representatives. Inter cannot formally negotiate a pre-contract agreement with Djalo for next summer until the January transfer window, as his contract with Lille runs out at the end of next June.
Barring a last minute change, the Portuguese will be playing for the other Milanese club next season after previously playing for AC Milan early on in his career. Another player that the club is working on is Atletico Paranaense goalkeeper Bento. Inter are already starting to plan for the future in the goalkeeping position. In the summer transfer window prior to this season, there was significant upheaval in the role. Samir Handanovic left Inter after more than a decade.
And so did Andre Onana, the man who the Nerazzurri had signed just twelve months prior as Handanovic’s long-term successor. Handanovic retired from football. And Onana, meanwhile, made a big money move to Premier League giants Manchester United. Inter looked at a number of possible replacements in goal. The Nerazzurri considered a number of younger options. Among these were Andriy Trubin, who eventually made the move to Benfica from Shakhtar Donetsk after prominent links with Inter.
Paranaense keeper Bento was also on the Nerazzurri’s radar. But in the end, Inter took a bit of a different tack. Rather than signing a younger keeper for the future, Inter brought in veteran Yann Sommer from Bayern Munich. Then, Emil Audero came in on loan from Sampdoria as a backup option. But that does not mean that Inter have locked down the position for the long term.
Far from it, the Nerazzurri are still considering their strategy for as early as next summer. According to reports from Brazil, Bento is one of the main players on Inter’s radar as their next goalkeeping signing and he’s expected to cost around €15m, and at 24 years of age, Bento would have real prospects to grow into the role at Inter. Finally, they are reported to be ahead of RB Leipzig and teams in the Premier League in the race to sign young Sweden midfielder Lucas Bergvall from Djugardens.
Unlike the previous names mentioned, Bergvall is seen as a signing for the future and he’s expected to join the Primavera team because his experience in senior football is still relatively limited. But the fact that the Swede has already made 24 top flight appearances certainly indicates early signs of maturity. Inter are not the only big European club to have made contact with the 17-year-old’s entourage.
RB Leipzig want to bring Bergvall to Germany. And some teams in the Premier League are also keen. But Inter remain in the lead because the Nerazzurri have already spoken extensively with Bergvall’s family and representatives. They feel that the Nerazzurri’s project and facilities would be a good fit for the young midfielder.
There’s some good news for Inter manager, Simone Inzaghi in relation to his injured players. Italian defender Alessandro Bastoni is aiming to be fit for Sunday Serie A match away to Napoli. He missed out on the 1-1 draw against Juventus after picking up a calf injury during the international break. He suffered the injury during training with the Italian national team.
Therefore, Bastoni played no part in Italy’s EURO 2024 qualifying matches against North Macedonia or Ukraine. The Azzurri secured their spot at the Euros next summer. Francesco Acerbi was the player who shifted out to play on the left side of the back three, Bastoni’s usual position. He’s also expected to be out of Inter’s Champions League group stage match away to Benfica.
But a return may not be too far on the horizon for Bastoni. Inter face yet another tough away test in Serie A next weekend. The Nerazzurri travel to Campania to play defending Italian champions Napoli. It will be a match with big implications for Inter’s title tile. And naturally, Inzaghi will have his key players available to him for the match. So there could be some good news for the coach in that regard. Bastoni may be fit to at least be part of the squad for the trip to Naples. There would still, of course, be questions about the 24-year-old’s match-fitness.
Whether Bastoni would be fit enough to start or just make the bench would be in question. But having the Italian international available at all would certainly be a boost for Inzaghi. As for French defender, Benjamin Pavard, he has started working on improving his fitness without a knee brace. The 27-year-old had been wearing a protective knee brace since picking up a knee injury during a Serie A match against Atalanta. Hiss knee has still not fully healed, and he has gotten back into condition.
According to reports, Pavard has been able to start therapeutic work without the protective brace. This represents an important development in the Frenchman’s development. It means that the initial healing phase of his recovery is on course. Therefore, it looks as though Pavard should be able to spend the coming weeks making a full recovery and then gaining full match fitness. Projections have long suggested that he should return to the pitch sometime around the holidays. Therefore, it could be at the end of December that he will make his come back to action.
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