The manager refused to talk about the Roma striker directly and said the Chilean should stay focused, but did not rule out a transfer this month
Inter manager Antonio Conte says Alexis Sanchez should remain focused amid talk of a swap involving him and Roma striker Edin Dzeko – but “we’ll be ready to open negotiations” should a deal become possible.
Reports in Italy say Roma are in talks with Inter over an exchange deal, with Dzeko looking destined to complete a move away from Stadio Olimpico before the January transfer window closes having fallen out with head coach Paulo Fonseca over the sacking of team manager Gianluca Gomber.
Roma are now eager to get the Bosnian frontman off their books, and Inter are said to be the most likely next destination for Dzeko, with Sanchez set to move in the opposite direction to Stadio Olimpico.
Conte was quizzed on the transfer talk at his press conference ahead of Inter’s Serie A meeting with Benevento on Saturday, and said a deal is possible, although nothing definite is yet in place and it would be unfair to speculate too much about the futures of Dzeko and Alexis.
He said: “I won’t talk about Edin Dzeko to Inter because he’s a Roma player. If there’s some players unhappy here, we’ll be ready to open negotiations. I’m not asking to sign Dzeko, it’s up to the club. Sanchez is our player, I want him to be focused on the next match”.
Time is running out for an agreement to be finalised with the winter transfer window due to close on Monday at 11pm GMT (6pm ET).
Sky in Italy reports that Giallorossi general director Tiago Pinto has travelled to Milan to discuss terms with Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio, with Dzeko thought to be eager to play under Conte at San Siro. Sanchez, meanwhile, reportedly likes the idea of taking up a new challenge in Rome, having struggled for regular playing time in recent weeks.
The Chilean has not started a Serie A game for the Nerazzurri since a 2-1 loss to Sampdoria on January 6, and although he returned to Conte’s line-up for the 2-1 Coppa Italia victory over Milan on Tuesday, he has largely failed to live up to expectations since joining the club from Manchester United.
Sanchez has only scored six goals in 51 appearances for Inter in total.
Dzeko meanwhile has established himself as one of the most prolific marksmen in Italy since joining Roma from Manchester City in 2016, with a total of 114 goals from 242 appearances in all competitions.