New York City FC midfielder Andrea Pirlo is being continually linked with a loan to high-flying Serie A outfit, Internazionale. The Italian World Cup winner spent three previous seasons with Inter between 1998 and 2001.
Pirlo left Juventus to join the MLS expansion side at the close of last season. However, Italy coach Antonio Conte has implied Pirlo’s chances of making the squad for Euro 2016 could be improved by a loan back to Serie A.
“If Pirlo returns to Italy I would be very pleased,” Conte told the Associated Press. “He could train properly and would still make an impact.”
While Pirlo himself has been typically tight-lipped about the situation, there have been conflicting signals coming out of the Inter camp.
Manager Robert Mancini downplayed the rumors.
“Pirlo? I don’t even have his phone number. It’s you lot that have been on about him for weeks,” Mancini told the Daily Mail. “He’s a fantastic player who has won everything in Europe and now he’s decided to try a new experience in another league.”
But Inter legend and current vice-president Javier Zanetti refused to rule out the possibility of his former teammate rejoining the club: “Pirlo’s a great player and he would fit in well in any side. But at the moment he’s not an Inter player. You never know.”
Meanwhile, Inter shot back to the top of the Serie A standings with a 4-0 victory over Frosinone on Sunday. While Mancini admitted he was “delighted” to be back atop the table, he played down Inter’s chances of winning the title.
“If the lads can keep this up, we’ll be able to challenge for the Scudetto,” said Mancini. “But our real target is getting back in the Champions League.”
“We’ll have to wait and see. There are three or four sides better equipped than we are to win the title because they’ve been playing together for longer.”
Without European competition to contend with at the moment, Mancini’s men now have the week to prepare for next Monday’s top of the table clash with second-placed Napoli.