Nobody in England or with even the hint of a connection inside Liverpool thinks the Reds are actually trying to land Inter Milan midfielder Mateo Kovacic, but in the Italian press it continues to be talked about as something of a done deal. A foregone conclusion. With only the pesky details to work out before the player’s inevitable move to Anfield.
Some of those details may seem rather large—like how much Liverpool are actually going to pay for him—but the consensus in Italy is that an agreement is a matter of when and not if. One way Liverpool won’t be paying for Kovacic, at least according to Corriere dello Sport, is with Mario Balotelli. They claim Liverpool offered him to Inter as part of a Kovacic deal but saw the idea shot down.
They further claim Inter are desperate for a cash injection that would allow them not to buy Yaya Toure as was once rumoured, but Monaco’s 22-year-old defensive midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia. Kondogbia has at various times also been linked to Liverpool and Arsenal as well as fellow Serie A clubs AC Milan and Juventus, and it at least keeps to the idea that a defensive midfielder is the priority.
Despite that Inter’s managing director has suggested Kovacic is going nowhere and English journalists with ties to Liverpool insist they have heard nothing about the club being interested in him in the first place, the press in Italy and Croatia continue to claim the two clubs are bargaining hard over the player and that Inter are demanding £21.5M while Liverpool have been unwilling to push past £16M.
About the only thing that seems certain, then—that everybody can actually agree on—is that Mario Balotelli won’t be heading in the other direction. Because either Inter don’t want him or because the two clubs aren’t even talking about a potential Kovacic deal so Balotelli never could have been offered in exchange in the first place.