SINGAPORE — Barely a couple of months into his new job, Inter Milan manager Antonio Conte is already concerned with the lack of transfer activity in and out of the club.
Having already frozen key players such as Mauro Icardi and Radja Nainggolan out of his project, the former Chelsea manager has not seen many additions, including his biggest target, Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku.
And the Italian cut a pensive figure as he fielded questions during the club’s official media conference for the International Champions Cup on Friday (19 July), a day before they face United at the National Stadium.
“The reality as of now is that Lukaku is a Man United player,” the 49-year-old said.
“He has been a player whom I admire for a long time. Even when I was the Chelsea manager, I tried to bring him into my team. I consider him an important player to improve my team, but we know very well our situation in the transfer market.”
English media have reported that Conte is unhappy that transfer talks with Lukaku have stalled. According the The Mirror, Man United are demanding a £75 million (S$128 million) fee for the Belgian striker to move, but Inter have made only a £60 million bid.
Conte has so far only brought in veteran Uruguayan defender Diego Godin on free transfer and midfielder Nicolo Barella on loan from Cagliari. And he has made no secret that he feels that his team’s progress has not gone as quickly as planned.
“I cannot hide that we are a little behind in our progress,” he said in Italian, in response to a question from an Italian journalist.
“A delay in transfer deals can be damaging for the team, but I have been communicating with the Inter officials and we will decide on our next action soon.”