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Indonesian tycoon Erick Thohir appears set to conclude his long-running bid to acquire a majority stake in Internazionale after the Serie A giant’s president, Massimo Moratti, stated that a deal is necessary for the long-term future of the club.

Indonesian tycoon Erick Thohir appears set to conclude his long-running bid to acquire a majority stake in Internazionale after the Serie A giant’s president, Massimo Moratti, stated that a deal is necessary for the long-term future of the club.

Thohir, who is the head of several media groups in Indonesia, has been holding talks with Moratti, who has led Inter since 1995 and owns around 90% of the Milan club. Inter has debts of around Eur300 million and has not won a major trophy since 2010, finishing a disappointing ninth in Serie A last season. Moratti’s latest comments come after former Inter president Ernesto Pellegrini criticised the prospect of foreign investment, stating that he and a group of Italian businessmen would be prepared to invest in the club. Moratti has stated Inter needs to adopt a new strategy, suggesting that the club has rested on its laurels since its historic UEFA Champions League, Serie A and Coppa Italia treble in 2009-10.

He told Gazzetta dello Sport: “For years Italian football – and I must take a fair share of the blame – won on the pitch in Europe, but, in financial terms, we played entirely at home. And we’ve lost. (Italian) Football has been living off money from TV rights and impressive transfer dealings. Don’t get me wrong, football needs those things too. They create an identity and cohesion with the fans, who are the patrimony of the side. But today we find ourselves unable to create a system. We have outdated stadia, no format that can realistically attract worldwide interest. Building a solid market outside Italy is a long process. A difficult and costly process. And we are up against tough opposition. The arrival of a shareholder from Asia, for example, makes that market much more approachable. It also forces you to change managerial habits and attitudes. It opens up a world of new resources in a way that is almost automatic. Basically, it makes you even more international than something like the treble can.”

Moratti maintains the Thohir deal isn’t concerned with addressing the club’s debts, but instead boosting revenue generation that has dipped from Eur251 million in 2010 to the current figure of Eur170 million. He added: “Inter’s debt is similar to those of other big clubs, and I’m not in the slightest bit worried about Inter’s debt. Besides, they are completely manageable. I could easily continue at the helm of Inter on my own. The problem isn’t the debt. The real problem is turnover. That’s what’s needed for development: it’s a commercial problem if we really want to define it in business terms. But, in football, saying that sounds ugly. What I’m worried about is the future of the club. Irrespective of the building of the brand on the international marketplace.”

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