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Inter have second thoughts on Mascherano, Balotelli and Maicon wrangling continues...

Inter's chase for Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano has been blown off course as they look at midfield alternatives.

With the moves for Mario Balotelli to Manchester City and Maicon to Real Madrid on the verge of hatching, the Nerazzurri are looking at players to bolster their squad.

Mascherano was on top of Rafael Benitez's wanted list, but the club are not keen to spend more than €15 million in cash on the Argentinian international, who is ready to leave Anfield after telling the club he wants out.

Inter were considering a €15m plus Sulley Muntari offer, but La Gazzetta dello Sport claims the club is eager to pull the rope on mega spending, and they are looking at Genoa's Giuseppe Sculli and Lazio ace Cristian Ledesma.

In relation to the Balotelli and Maicon transfers, wheels have started to turn again. Maicon's agent Antonio Caliendo is in Madrid speaking with Real Madrid over the player, but he hinted his client could end up "staying with Inter".

It seems Madrid are not keen on offering the Brazilian his €7m per annum wage expectation.

For Balotelli the deal is still progressing. Despite his homesickness worries, agent Mino Raiola and a delegation of City directors are expected in Milan to negotiate during the next 48 hours. Balotelli has agreed to a reported €3.5m a year wage deal, but City are yet to meet Inter demands over a transfer fee.

They offer a skimmed €26m plus bonuses for the hitman, but Inter are holding out for €30m plus add-ons.

Massimo Moratti warned at the weekend that the right offer would see Balotelli leave, a less than perfect bid would see him stay.

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