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Saturday August 11 2018
Inter need explosive Keita

As the Nerazzurri look to move for Monaco forward Keita Balde Diao, Richard Hall examines what he’d bring to the squad.

In the black and blue half of Milan, all the talk was of Luka Modric and the potential of a sensational move from Real Madrid. While that plot thickened though, another started to come to light, with Monaco’s Keita Balde Diao was suddenly thrust into the conversation.

The talented wide man had impressed in Serie A before at Lazio, and now it seemed his destination would be San Siro. At 23 years old, he has all the attributes to be an excellent addition and one that would bring a new element to Luciano Spalletti’s team.

The Nerazzurri havealready enjoyed an excellent transfer window, but if they can push this deal through, then they will add to the plume of feathers already in their cap.

The Senegal international was originally reported to be coming to Italy with Antonio Candreva going in the opposite direction. With the Italian international unconvinced though, it appears sporting directorPiero Ausilio has once again got a club to agree to a season-long loan with an option to buy.

Keita is said to have agreed personal terms and is ready to return to Italy, just a year after he left Lazio. His life in Monaco was blighted by injury - he played only 23 games - but Keita still managed to score eight and assist five.

He was originally part of Barcelona’s prestigious youth academy, but was allegedly kicked out for his pranks, although the supposed final straw of putting an ice-cube in a team mate’s bedstill sounds harsh.

He made a new home in the Eternal City, moving there for €300,000 in 2011. It wasn’t until the 2013-14 season that he eventually broke into the first team and started to show what he could do. Between 2013 and 2015-16 he managed 11 goals and eight assists across 93 games, showing that while he had all the raw talent, he lacked consistency.

It was during the 2016-17 campaign where he seemed inspired by Simone Inzaghi and found both his consistency and the net. This was perhaps no surprise, as he had worked with Inzaghi for six years in the youth ranks, and he finished the campaign with 16 goals and three assists.

Now, as a move to Inter comes closer, Spalletti can hope to get a man who has raw pace, superlative dribbling ability and is difficult to contain when he is running directly at a defender. He loves to cut in from the left and can receive and give the ball quickly. He is also capable of crossing with pace and can shoot.

What is interesting for the Nerazzurri coaching staff is that they haven’t got anyone like him. Ivan Perisic is powerful and chips in with goals, but simply doesn’t have the extreme pace that Keita has.

Yann Karamoh does have the potential to develop into a player that has all the right attributes to be a star at Inter, but he’s still learning and needs to trust his own ability. Matteo Politano scored 20 goals in 96 games for Sassuolo and will get more chances at Inter, and has similar qualities if he can be consistent. Finally Antonio Candreva, if he remains, can be superb on his day, but lacks pace and last season didn’t score a single goal - consistency an issue again.

What Keita Balde will bring to Inter is something different, someone who can carry the ball a great distance and quickly. When playing the likes of Juventus or Champions League opposition, he will be perfect for the counter-attack. After the arrival of Lautaro Martinez, he would further lift the burden of goals that has sat on Mauro Icardi’s shoulders, giving the Beneamata a player for the future who can grow with some of the other bright young hopes.

Keita is a player with unquestionable ability who, if he recaptures his Lazio form, will send shivers down the spines of Serie A defences again.

Have your say...
I've been really impressed with how Inter have done in the transfer market. Some impressive additions to a strong core without any serious sacrifices. If Modric does arrive, and I think that's a big 'if', this would be a really competitive squad that can hopefully push for silverware. Fingers crossed!
on the 13th August, 2018 at 2:07pm
inter have put together a very capable team. rumour of another midfielder coming, modric unlikely but rafinha may return. Great starting 11 and finally depth on the bench! Top 2 squad in italy by far.
on the 13th August, 2018 at 3:27am
Liverpools Keita is better. Inter need to stop cheating then shrieking that others are cheating. Cheating liars.
on the 12th August, 2018 at 11:46pm
Wow Keita, perfect acquisition to end the mercato. Agree with the article 100%, keita is fast, great dribbler, and explosive. He’ll add another dimension to our attack and finally i’m not worried if perisic is not playing. With keita & lautaro, we can start to think about life when icardi eventually decides to move on.

@Doo-wop, actually it’s Keita who didn’t want to extend his contract with lazio. He only had 1 year left and probably lotito was being cheap with the contract extension as usual.
on the 12th August, 2018 at 3:36pm
Milan need this guy.

He's so good.
on the 11th August, 2018 at 7:15pm
I agree he would b a good addition 4 Inter but how does Candreva lack pace!? He may be past his prime n cmin off of a poor season but I always got the impression he was one of the quickest, not slowest players that Italy had!
If Inter could get Modric that would b perfect. A great player n a Croatian contingent similar to when Inter had the German trio when Serie A was at the very top! Exciting!
on the 11th August, 2018 at 2:21pm
The EPL is the greatest league ever in soccer and proved so with Spurs winning the ICC cup this pre season, a huge modern cup watched by millions.

However, Serie A sides have knocked the EPL teams out of the park in this transfer window. Ronaldo came, Modric maybe, Inter, Juventus and Roma all bought well.

All this while the great EPL was left with the likes of Felipe Anderson & Sokritas(couldn't cut it in Italy), one season wonder Allison, and United with Brazil reject Fred.
on the 11th August, 2018 at 12:58pm
i wondered at first to hear keita comings, then i smiled, oh i got it; its now same with juve. They got cuadrado, douglas costa fighting for place in the right wing, now we got the same approach. Look, i dont dare to say we will be no.1, but no.2 for sure. Get modrc feel supreme and be inter. Inter is fearsome name to face, you must admit, you cant be sure whats coming in your way. One thing, i like vecino very much (still in awe of his last minutes heroics!). So he is our vidal coming next season!
on the 11th August, 2018 at 11:31am
Keita is exactly the player I've been screaming for Milan to sign for the last 2 seasons. Our team has no pace!

Congrats to Inter if they make yet another great signing.. but wow it'll be a painful one for me.
on the 11th August, 2018 at 2:18am
Why aren't Milan trying to sign him? Actually please can we spend whatever money we have Martial at Man Utd? We need physicality and pace down the left hand side of the pitch to get some life. How about we bring back SES?
on the 11th August, 2018 at 2:00am
Cmon Modric, you are all that's left
on the 11th August, 2018 at 1:47am
I’m still not sold on Keita.he showed some tiny flashes of promise at Lazio but not enough for management to use regularly or keep him. I don’t think it was a racist thing, he just seemed not wanted by Inzaghi.with major move this is huge opportunity for him to show if he’s on a higher level.and god do Inter need it. Sadly Candreva who I loved at Lazio n NT became a total flop. Still cant believe after winter meltdown they still finished 4th ahead of Lazio who had an entertaining amazing season
on the 11th August, 2018 at 1:47am

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