La Gazzetta dello Sport (Andrea Pugliese, Luca Taidelli) Inter are aiming to ‘Romanise’ themselves. After appointing the ex-Giallorossi Sabatini and Spalletti, the Nerazzurri hierarchy are now looking at some of Roma’s top players. In truth, their interest predates their appointment of the Certaldo-born coach. Because Nainggolan, Rudiger and Strootman (not to mention the youngster Marchizza and director Massara) are players who any club would be interested in. For now, Ausilio and Sabatini are simply observing as they make their plans for next season. The two clubs have a shared problem of having to balance their books by the end of June to keep in line with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules. After that, Inter will be able to let themselves loose thanks to the resources made available to them by Suning. Rudiger has already been highly praised by Sabatini (“a magnificent player”), who brought him to the capital 2 years ago. There won’t be a problem in reaching an agreement with the player, but they need €30 million in order for Roma to balance their accounts. However things seem to be progressing, as they are for Nice’s left back Dalbert.
Next, the Nerazzurri are dreaming of one of Nainggolan and Strootman to transform their midfield. These would be very difficult to sign, so difficult that Inter already have alternatives in mind. These include Tolisso (Lyon) and Krychowiak (PSG). Strootman’s recent contract renewal until 2022 might seem to have ruled this option out, but his new contract includes a release clause of between €40-45 million. By meeting this figure, Inter could bring the 27 year old Dutchman to Milan, and although he has a moral debt to the club that supported him through his 3 knee operations, he would happily follow Spalletti to Milan. Particularly as his departure would help Roma to reduce their wage bill. It’s a similar scenario for Nainggolan, who Spalletti used as a trequartista but has the ability and versatility to play in any midfield position. But he would also cost over €40 million, and they would have to meet Roma’s demands.
However, after (nearly) having sold Salah to Liverpool and with Rudiger set to leave, it’s frankly difficult to think that the Giallorossi would let another top player like Nainggolan leave. He is one of their most important players, given the Belgian’s impact on the pitch and off it, considering his rapport with the fans. Now that Totti has gone, Radja is destined to become (along with De Rossi) the symbol of the Giallorossi world. However, there are 2 buts: the now-established tendency for Roma’s American owners not to consider any player to be unsellable when faced with a sufficiently high offer, and that famous promise made last summer of an improved contract which never arrived. “I’ve already talked enough about my future and what I want,” Nainggolan, who is currently training with the Belgian national team, said yesterday. “I’ve given my all, I’ve been committed, I’ve made promises and I’ve kept my word. It’s not up to me any more.” He could hardly have been any clearer – Radja, despite not receiving an improved contract, has continued to give his all for the team and for the club, and is now hoping Roma does something for him. In fact, it is something that should already have been done.
Currently, Nainggolan earns around €4 million (easily achieved bonuses included), and he was promised that this would increase to around €5 million a season, compared to the €6 million that he was offered by Chelsea a year ago. The English team will be back for him, as will Manchester United (“Manchester United’s interest? It might be true, it might not be. We’ll see”, the Belgian said with a smile) and Inter. “I repeat, I’ve already said what I want. I’m just thinking about relaxing on holiday, not about the future. Juventus’ fans? Maybe they don’t like me because I never went there. But Real Madrid showed in the Champions League final that they were the better team, their attacking players made the difference.”
Essentially, Nainggolan wants to take some time out now and then will see what happens. Roma’s intention is to keep him, but they’ll also have to satisfy his demands. Luciano Spalletti’s intention, meanwhile, is to have him at his disposal again. “He’s shown he is a good coach, we got back into the Champions League with him,” Ninja concluded. “There’s nothing else to say. At the moment I don’t want to talk about the transfer market. There’s a month to go until it opens, I’m not worried.”