x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Moratti bullish about clinching deal for Eto'o

Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti is confident he can tie up a deal for Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o.

Samuel Eto'o is close to leaving Spain for Italy.
Samuel Eto'o is close to leaving Spain for Italy.

Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti is confident he can tie up a deal for Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o. Inter are negotiating with Eto'o and his agent with a view to bringing him to the San Siro in a swap deal which would see Zlatan Ibrahimovic move the opposite way. Inter will also receive ?45 million (Dh236m) and Alexander Hleb on a season-long loan.

Moratti told the club's official website: "Until things are wrapped up, there's nothing to say but I am confident. Eto'o is one of the most important players on the market. Along with Ibra, he's one of the most wanted. It's a good chance for us to have another champion." Moratti had nothing but praise for Ibrahimovic, who was the top scorer in Serie A last season. "He's a very serious professional. He has always behaved well with us," he said. "He helped us win the championship and he was top scorer last year."

Hleb's agent, however, says the midfielder would welcome a move to Inter, but insists he has not been informed of any possible deal. "Hleb will leave this morning with the team on the flight to London where Barcelona will play a friendly," Maurizio Guadino told Calciomercato.it. "No-one has talked to us yet about Inter, the two clubs are in talks and so at the moment Alex is thinking about working hard for Barca."

The Belarus international only moved to the Nou Camp last summer from Arsenal, but has struggled to adapt. The 28-year-old midfielder said just a few days ago he would remain with the treble winners following advice from teammate Thierry Henry, who suffered a similarly difficult first season at Barca. But Guadino believes he would jump at the chance to move to the San Siro. "It's obvious that he's not happy," he added. "Last year he hoped to play with more consistency, but they won everything there was to win. I don't like speaking about possibilities, but Inter would be a good destination for him, there's no doubt."

Inter new boy Lucio was delighted to link up with his new teammates yesterday after completing his move from Bayern Munich. The Brazil captain put pen to paper on a three-year contract with the club last night before flying to Los Angeles where the team are on a pre-season tour. "I am very proud to join a club and a team like Inter," Lucio, 31, told Inter Channel. "I am here to give my best and keep winning. It's true, I will meet Julio [Cesar] and Maicon, two friends and national teammates, but I know many other of the Nerazzurri champions, whom I have often met as opponents in recent years."

There was good news for Inter's city rivals AC Milan as well yesterday, as David Beckham revealed he is confident he will be back at the club next season. The Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder impressed during a six-month loan spell with the Rossoneri last season and new Milan coach Leonardo has revealed he would welcome him back. Tottenham and Chelsea, now managed by Carlo Ancelotti, the man who brought Beckham to the San Siro in the first place, are also reportedly interested.

However, Beckham, 34, claims there is only one destination for him come the end of the Major League Soccer season. "I hope to return to play for Milan," he told the club's website. "They have remained in my heart and honestly I am confident I will greet them again in November. Leonardo wants me in rossonero immediately? It's really pleasing to see that I have left good memories." Speculation is mounting Beckham could leave the Galaxy sooner than expected as his relationship with the fans continues to grow sour. He was roundly booed in Sunday night's friendly against Milan and had an ugly confrontation with supporters during half-time in what was his first home game since his return from Italy. Galaxy would likely demand close to ?13m.

* With agencies