Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino has admitted that it was his intention to bring Internazionale striker Keita Balde to London last year.
The 23-year-old Senegal international left Lazio to join AS Monaco last summer but struggled at the French side and has since joined I Nerazzurri on a €6m loan deal, with an option to buy him outright for €30m next year.
The Premier League side lost their first game of their Champions League campaign ?2-1 to Inter at San Siro on Tuesday night. Speaking prior to the match, Pochettino confirmed Balde was indeed a target for him at Tottenham.
“Yes, it’s true. I’ve been following him since he grew up in Barcelona while I was at Espanyol,” he told Sky Sports (via Calciomercato).
“He is a player with an interesting profile for us, I wanted him but then he chose Monaco. But he remains an excellent striker.”
Balde registered 16 goals and three assists for Lazio in Serie A during the 2016/17 season and his form in front of goal would prompt Monaco to move for him at the end of the term. However, he only played in six league games last season and didn’t score a single goal, only delivering two assists.
He hasn’t opened his account at Inter yet either, having made five appearances for the Italian side, one of those coming in the form of an 18-minute cameo against Spurs. But Pochettino seems to still hold the player in very high regard.
The English side had been hoping to recover from their disappointing loss to Liverpool on the weekend with a victory against Inter this week. However, despite going ahead through Christian Eriksen’s 53rd-minute goal, they allowed Luciano Spalleti’s side back with goals from Mauro Icardi and Matias Vecino confirming a late comeback for Inter.