• Premier League

Torres, Dzeko and Sagna on Inter's hit list

ESPN staff
March 25, 2014
Fernando Torres was criticised with Chelsea's other strikers by manager Jose Mourinho this season © Getty Images

Inter Milan president Erick Thohir is ready to raid the Premier League again after agreeing to sign Nemanja Vidic from Manchester United.

Edin Dzeko, Fernando Torres and Bacary Sagna were confirmed as three potential targets in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport on Tuesday.

Inter director Piero Ausilio had previously played down links to 28-year-old Dzeko and Sagna, 31, but Thohir has says they are being considered.

"Maybe one of those three will really arrive, but they must fulfil our criteria," Thohir said. "With [Rodrigo] Palacio already over 30 and [Mauro] Icardi very young, the attacker we want has got to be aged somewhere in between."

Thohir is keen on reducing the average age of his side "to around 26.5," which is why the signing of Sagna, whom Arsene Wenger has admitted has not looked close to a new deal, would reduce the number of more experienced players arriving.

The defender will be a free agent in the summer and has, reportedly, told friends he is preparing to leave after seven years at Arsenal.

Manchester City are also said to be interested in Sagna and their striker, Dzeko, may be seen by Inter as a realistic target because he is not a first choice for Manuel Pellegrini when all the strikers are fit.

Torres' future has looked likely to be away from Chelsea for some time. He has seldom lived up to the £50 million transfer fee the club paid Liverpool for him in 2011.

The striker recently admitted a return to Atletico Madrid was possible and was one of the misfiring strikers subjected to criticism from Jose Mourinho earlier this season, albeit when the manager claimed he believed his view would remain private.

"With Vidic, Palacio and possibly Sagna, there would only be room for one more player in his thirties," Thohir said. "We're not going to have more than four.

"All I can say is that we like Sagna and that, right now, it's all down to him. If we don't get him, then we'll go for somebody younger. We'll be investing a lot in midfield or attack, but we will also be reducing our wage bill considerably at the end of the season."

That will happen whether Inter qualify for Europe next season or not, although finishing inside the top five is crucial to Thohir's long-term plan.

"I will feel we have failed if we don't get back into Europe," Thohir said. "And yes, the Europa League is fine. It would be best to qualify for it next season because there are likely to be lots of top European clubs involved, and Inter need to be involved in Europe, not just from an economic point of view, but also for prestige.

"Of course I'm aiming to be in the Champions League before 2016, but I've already said this."

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