Football

Antonio Conte: Inter Milan don’t have much money to spend

But Italian side are linked to moves for Giroud, Eriksen, Young and Spinazzola

Inter Milan coach Antonio Conte has insisted his club do not have much cash to splash in the January transfer window, despite the Italian side being linked to a host of players.

Reports suggest the Nerazzurri are close to signing Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud.

Inter have also admitted their interest in Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen, with negotiations ongoing.

The club was also linked with a move for Manchester United fullback Ashley Young, although that may not materialise if the swop deal which will send winger Matteo Politano to AS Roma for wing-back Leonardo Spinazzola materialises.

Despite this, Conte insisted after his side's 4-1 Coppa Italia win over Cagliari at the San Siro yesterday morning (Singapore time): "There is not much money, the director has been clear.

"We must be good at finding situations that can bring us benefits.

"We must find cheap opportunities, otherwise I see it being hard. The ideas are there, if there is the possibility, we will improve.

"What you can't get with money, you have to get with intelligence and wit."

Romelu Lukaku scored after just 22 seconds and added another goal to book Inter's spot in the quarter-finals.

Lukaku took advantage of a panicked back pass from Christian Oliva to ram home Inter's first goal inside the opening minute for a perfect start for the home side, who will next meet Fiorentina.

The Belgian striker then missed a chance to touch home Nicolo Barella's powerfully struck cross, but veteran Borja Valero, 35, behind him scrambled it over the line for a 2-0 lead after 22 minutes.

Barella was again the provider via a quickly taken corner for Lukaku's second four minutes into the second half. Andrea Ranocchia finished off the scoring with a replica header in the 80th minute.

Cagliari, who have now lost five successive games, scored a consolation in the 72nd minute as Alberto Cerri back-heeled the ball into the path of Oliva, who finished with a powerful strike.

Valero told Sky Sport Italia: "I think we are physically the best team and you can tell from our performance on the pitch.

"I think everyone knows how physically tough Conte is. We have worked hard from July and now the results are evident.

DOES EVERYTHING

"Conte does everything. From Monday to Sunday, he is the one who works the most and gives us a great desire.

"It's a great satisfaction to convince this coach to get a spot in the team."

Meanwhile, Napoli and Lazio set up a meeting in the last eight as they both won at home against second-tier opposition with Ciro Immobile continuing his scoring ways for Lazio as they beat Cremonese 4-0 yesterday morning.

Immobile has scored 23 goals in 24 matches this season. Patric, Marco Parolo and Bastos scored Lazio's other goals.

Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne netted his first home goals of the season to lead his side to a 2-0 win over Perugia.

Both came from the penalty spot.

Football