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Senegal’s Keita Balde returns to Italy with ambitious Inter

Balde played in Senegal’s loss to Colombia which saw them knocked out in the group stage at the World Cup © AFP/File / EMMANUEL DUNAND

ROME, Italy, Aug 13 Inter Milan on Monday continued their strong summer transfer window ahead of the start of the Serie A season, announcing the return to Italy of Senegal international Keita Balde on loan from French Ligue 1 side Monaco.

Ambitious Inter, who have been busy in the transfer market after finishing fourth in Serie A last season and qualifying for the Champions League for the first time since 2011, have brought in the 23-year-old former Lazio striker for a reported initial five million euros ($5.7 million).

The fee will rise to 39 million euros should the Serie A club exercise an option to buy next summer, according to Italian media.

“The forward Keita Balde Diao is a new Nerazzurri player. The Senegalese has signed for Inter from Monaco on a year-long loan with an option to make the deal permanent,” Inter said in a statement.

Balde rose to prominence at Lazio in 2016-17, when he scored 16 goals in 31 league appearances — 10 of which were from the bench — before sinking into a contract row at the start of last season and leaving for France.

Last term he scored eight goals and provided five assists in 23 Ligue 1 appearances as Monaco finished second behind champions Paris Saint-Germain.

Balde joins fellow Inter newcomers Radja Nainggolan, signed from rivals Roma, promising Argentine attacker Lautaro Martinez and Dutch international centre-back Stefan de Vrij.

They have also brought in right-back Sime Vrsaljko, who started in six of Croatia’s seven matches in their run to the World Cup final, on loan from Atletico Madrid.

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