Inter head coach Antonio Conte has likened the January transfer window to a “virus that we must contain” as rumours continue to swirl around the Serie A side, and stated that Jose Mourinho's recent criticisms of the Nerazzurri's interest in Christian Eriksen is “not a problem”.
A plethora of names have been linked with both arriving and leaving San Siro this winter as Inter continue their push to end Juventus' dominance in Serie A.
One name that had been doing the rounds was Ashley Young, who has since signed for Conte's side from Manchester United, but the coach has grown tired of reports that he claims are simply wide of the mark.
“This is the most difficult period of the season for a coach, because there are constantly names in the papers, some stories that are true, others that aren’t,” Conte said. “The transfer window is like a potential virus that we must contain.”
On whether Young would start against Lecce, he added: “Young has just arrived, so it’s unthinkable to suggest he’d come with us to Lecce. He will start training and we’ll work towards next week against Cagliari.
“Ashley is super experienced and played both on the right and left at Manchester United. He was born a winger, but can play as the fifth in a midfield. He hadn’t played much recently in the Premier League, so will take a little while to get into shape.”
And in response to Mourinho questioning Inter's respect for Tottenham amid their ongoing pursuit of Eriksen, Conte said with a shrug: “It’s the usual. Jose and I know each other, it’s not a problem.”
The Nerazzurri trainer was also quizzed on a proposed swap deal with Roma, with Leonardo Spinazzola seemingly nailed on for a switch with Matteo Politano heading the other way. Negotiations ultimately broke down, however, and Conte gave little away with his explanation.
“I made a technical decision for the Spinazzola-Politano transfer. That’s all I can say,” he said. “After that, other things happened that are not under my purview, so you’d have to ask someone else. I was asked for my opinion, I gave it, that can be listened to or not.
“Matteo already had his heart set on Roma and he wanted to stay there.”