Luciano Spalletti has increased speculation that Inter are keen on signing Radja Nainggolan from AS Roma this summer after hailing the 30-year-old in a post-season press conference.
The midfielder's agent Alessandro Beltrami met with I Nerazzurri's director of football Piero Ausilio on Thursday afternoon in what was believed to be a meeting regarding the Belgian and fellow client Nicolo Barella of Cagliari.
After securing Champions League football for next season in dramatic fashion with a 3-2 win over Lazio on the final day of the season, it is thought the Serie A giants will recruit heavily this summer in an attempt to improve their squad, despite their impending Financial Fair Play talks with Uefa.
Di Marzio: #Inter target #Nainggolan and #Barella for the midfield:#Spaletti’s first choice is Radja, who Roma value at no less than €40m.— EnJoY Inter (@EnjoyInterNews) May 25, 2018
This morning Ausilio met with #Barella’s agent to express Inter’s interest in the 21-year-old Italian. pic.twitter.com/sLnF6jcNeU
And during a press conference on Thursday evening, as quoted by Italian news outlet Gianluca Di Marzio, Spalletti hinted that Inter's reported interest could have been founded after admitting his admiration for both Nainggolan and Barella.
"They are two good players," the 59-year-old responded when probed about the speculation.
It is thought that both are being lined up in replacement for on-loan Barcelona man Rafinha, who joined Nerazzurri in January of this year.
Although the Italian side are keen on retaining the Brazilian's services on a permanent basis, Spalletti has admitted himself there may not be the funds available to suffice the 25-year-old's demands.
However, Nainggolan will almost certainly also carry a hefty price tag and pay packet, with Roma reportedly waiting out for around €40m (£35m) and the former Belgium international - who announced his retirement from representing his country after being overlooked by Roberto Martinez for this summer's World Cup - earning around €5m a year (£4.6m).