By Elia Raimondo
FERREYRA LINED UP AS MILITO REPLACEMENT
The hard-earned 2-1 victory over Napoli in last weekend's Serie A fixture has regenerated the atmosphere around Appiano Gentile, following a week of speculation regarding the ongoing Wesley Sneijder stand-off which had made for a gloomier air around the Inter training complex.
The reawakening, regardless of whether that result will help to eventually overhaul Juventus in the Scudetto race, has also reached the transfer gurus at the club, who have turned their attentions to South America in their search for the Nerazzurri's next stars.
The most recent acceleration of interest has come in regard to a vice-Diego Milito - or perhaps more accurately, an heir to the Argentine. Inter's target is Facundo Ferreyra, Velez Sarsfield's ex-Banfield youth who has already bagged 13 goals in 15 appearances this season.
It is not clear how much the 21-year-old would cost the Beneamata, though club officials are thought to be hopeful of completing a deal in June for less than €10 million. The operation is not impossible, nor are those for Brazilian midfielder Paulinho and Chilean defender Igor Lichnocsky.
STRAMACCIONI SET FOR DEFENSIVE SWITCH FOR LAZIO CLASH
With a tough trip to the capital ahead of his side, coach Andrea Stramaccioni is set to switch to a back four as he looks for ways to overcome a Lazio side who have an excellent home record this season.
Stramaccioni this week had his side line up with a four-man back line in training in anticipation for a potential switch for Saturday night's Serie A Round 17 clash, with Yuto Nagatomo at right-back and Alvaro Pereira on the opposite flank, and Walter Samuel and Andrea Ranocchia making the central pairing.
It is thought that the young coach is hoping to use a flat back four to exploit the Biancocelesti down the wings, where it is perceived that Vladimir Petkovic's side are most vulnerable.
He may be set to be excluded this weekend, but defender Juan Jesus has quashed rumours he could look to leave Inter. "I want to stay here 20 years, I'm really good here," said the 21-year-old Brazilian.
CHIVU CLOSE TO COMEBACK
Some good news coming out of the training ground regarding defender Cristian Chivu is that the Romanian should be back in action in the next 10 days. The 32-year-old has not played since dislocating the second toe on his right foot in the second leg of the Europa League qualifying tie against Hajduk Split on August 2, but he has been back in training for the past three weeks and could now make his return to first team action in the Coppa Italia last 16 clash with Verona at San Siro on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Chivu and his team-mates have been boosted by a recent addition, with youngster Luca Garritano having been brought in to train with the first team. The 18-year-old attacker made his Inter debut as a substitute in the 3-1 Europa League victory at Neftci in October and has been a key member of the squad which took the Nerazzurri into the knockout stage of the NextGen Series this term.