Fernando Torres’ return to Atletico Madrid is being held up by midfielder Alessio Cerci’s determination to join Inter Milan.
Torres was understood to have been preparing for a trip home to Spain, but has now rejoined his AC Milan teammates as they prepare for their friendly against the newly crowned FIFA Club World Cup champions Real Madrid in Dubai.
Late Christmas Eve, AC Milan’s official television channel reported that talks which would see the on-loan Chelsea striker return to his boyhood club in Spain were “at a very advanced stage”.
Shortly after that news, the Spanish publication AS declared that an agreement had been reached which would see Atletico Madrid send Alessio Cerci on-loan to the Rossoneri in exchange for Torres, with the Spanish club picking up the remaining one-and-a-half years of the striker’s loan deal from Chelsea.
It had been previously reported that Cerci preferred a move to AC Milan’s rival, Internazionale, but speculation was the midfielder had been convinced to join the Rossoneri or face the next six months on Atletico Madrid’s bench.
Now it is understood that the Torres-Cerci loan-swap is being held up by the 27-year-old Italian’s desire to join Inter Milan.
On Christmas Eve, while negotiations between the Atletico Madrid, AC Milan and Chelsea were taking place; Internazionale manager Roberto Mancini made comments which may have turned the Italy international’s head.
Mancini told Gazzetta dello Sport he was still hopeful of completing a deal for Cerci and went on to praise the Italian international’s qualities.
“Cerci is strong and an important player, and I hear he wants to return to Italy,” Mancini said. “It will take a stroke of luck.”
“An offensive winger is one of our targets, but we’ll see what happens in the market in January. We must look at those who are not playing, who lack motivation and are unhappy where they are.”
“Cerci is having trouble in Madrid, he isn’t playing, but maybe Atletico picked him up because they have a project around him.”
“The chances of buying him are high, we have been following the player for a while, but we say this cautiously.”
Atletico and Milan have accused Inter of directly lobbying for Cerci and could file a complaint with FIFA.
Atletico Madrid were hoping to announce Fernando Torres’ return on Boxing Day, but the club has delayed making an official statement until details of Cerci’s deal can be ironed out.
Word from both Atletico and AC Milan is that both clubs remain upbeat and confident the loan-swap will be finalized. The completion of the player exchange is currently in the hands of Cerci and his agent, Sergio Berti.
The Spanish champions are now hoping to have Torres in their squad before they face Real Madrid on January 7th in the Copa del Rey Round of 16.
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