Talk of Inter move for Atletico Madrid's Diego Forlan smacks of Massimo Moratti's desperation to balance the books

The oil tycoon has admitted that cost-cutting has to be on the agenda in Pinetina, and the Uruguayan could aid them on the balance sheet, but would he produce on the pitch?
By Kris Voakes & Ben Hayward

With the transfer merry-go-round continuing to throw names into the general direction of Inter, Diego Forlan’s is the latest to cause a stir in Milan. But whereas the links to players such as Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez have caught the imagination of many Interisti, talk of an approach for Forlan has gone down less well.

Massimo Moratti’s warning that Samuel Eto’o’s proposed move to Anzhi Makhachkala has been approved due to the club having one eye on Uefa’s Financial Fair Play regulations has struck a chord. And many have automatically seen the Forlan link as the club’s latest way to cut their cloth in a way that might see them gain steady ground, with any deal for Tevez costing well over €60 million when taking both his salary and transfer fee into account.

Of course, the Uruguayan has pedigree, of that there is little doubt. But does his recent form really suggest he is the right man to replace the Cameroonian in the Nerazzurri front-line?

Forlan went into the 2010-11 season on a high after leading his country to the semi-finals of the World Cup and being named the best player in South Africa.

Things began well at Atletico, too, as he resumed his deadly partnership with Argentina's Sergio Aguero. The Argentine, now at Manchester City, had set up Forlan for both of the goals that saw Atleti defeat Fulham to win the Europa League at the end of the previous campaign. Forlan was not on the scoresheet as his side added the Uefa Super Cup to their trophy cabinet, but did bag three goals in his first two league appearances to pick up where he had left off in South Africa.

DIEGO FORLAN | Season-by-season at Atletico

Season Games
Starts Goals Booked
Sent off
36 16
1 0
36 35 32 2
30 18 1 0
32 23 8 3 0
124 74

However, an uncharacteristic goal drought followed as Forlan went 12 games without scoring, a run he finally ended by netting twice in a 3-0 win over Osasuna. All was not well at Atletico, though, as the side, having started the season as potential title challengers in the eyes of some, plummeted dramatically down the table.

Moratti is attempting to tighten the purse strings
Forlan lost form and soon lost his place in the side, following a highly publicised fall-out with coach Quique Sanchez Flores. The Uruguayan was heavily tipped to leave in the winter window but remained, and his relationship with Sanchez Flores deteriorated even further. By the end of the campaign, the Uruguayan was not even considered for a starting place and ended the season with just 10 goals in 42 appearances - easily his poorest return in four years at the Vicente Calderon.

This summer's Copa America proved he still has what it takes to compete at the top, though, and a move to Inter could see Forlan continue to perform at the highest level in the short term. His pace and power would make him ideally suited to the game in Italy, while his intelligent running off the ball means he can adapt to many positions, be it as a central striker, a deeper roaming forward or even starting from a wide position - although this is not his favourite role.

The question remains, though, as to Inter’s ambition as a club. At 32, two years is the most the former Manchester United man can be expected to contribute to any great level, whereas a swoop for Tevez would provide either a greater long-term impact on the pitch or a sell-on value of some note.

Sure, Tevez would be a gamble in terms of the total combined fee, but Forlan would be just as much a risk on the pitch. Putting their faith in an ageing forward coming off the back of a notably poor season is not the kind of move which made European and world champions out of Inter.

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