Spalletti hopes Perisic stays at Inter, open to big offer

Reuters , Wednesday 26 Jul 2017

AS Roma's coach Luciano Spalletti reacts. (Reuters)

Inter Milan coach Luciano Spalletti is desperate to keep hold of coveted Croatian winger Ivan Perisic as he overhauls his squad ahead of the next Serie A campaign but the Italian is well aware that every player has a price.

Inter's ambitious Chinese owners went through three managers last season as the club finished in seventh place to miss out on European football and former Roma boss Spalletti was hired last month in a bid to challenge for top honours.

Spalletti has already recruited Slovakia international defender Milan Skriniar among a raft of signings but may need to reluctantly part with the highly-rated Perisic to free up funds to strengthen his squad in other areas.

"Sure, there were rumours, but the status quo is that we want to keep Perisic, he's an important player in the team and we're counting on him to start the new season," Spalletti told reporters at team training in Singapore on Wednesday.

"Having said that, if someone comes in with a very difficult offer to reject, then we'll consider that, but of course, we'll need to find a valid alternative for Perisic as well."

The 28-year-old has been linked in the British media with a move to Manchester United but Spalletti, preparing his team for Thursday's friendly against Bayern Munich, will not want to go into the new season with a significantly weaker squad.

"Obviously our goal is to be in the first four positions," the 58-year-old added of a side that has failed to finish in the top-three of Serie A since 2011.

"The first three are quite difficult to overtake because last year we had a 25-point difference from the first three, so that's going to be a big challenge for us.

"Having said that, we're going to work very hard, try to assemble a strong team, we're confident we can get to the fourth position at least."

The 2010 Serie A champions will also play Premier League winners Chelsea in the National Stadium on Saturday to conclude the International Champions Cup Singapore tournament.

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