Mancini hints at Shaqiri exit – 'Inter need to balance the squad'

The coach admitted his side must limit the squad to 25 players and sparked further speculation after leaving the Switzerland international out of his latest selection

Roberto Mancini has hinted that Inter may need to sell Xherdan Shaqiri in order to balance out the squad ahead of the coming season.

The arrival of Geoffrey Kondogbia has strengthened the competition for places at Inter after a disappointing 2014-15 campaign, and Mancini says some players may need to depart to offset the new arrivals.

Shaqiri has been linked with Stoke City and Wolfsburg during the close-season, but neither switch has come to fruition, with Schalke the latest club said to be showing an interest.

And Mancini’s latest comments could mean the Switzerland international is poised to leave San Siro, as he insists sacrifices must be made.

“Shaqiri didn’t play because he is tired,” Mancini told Mediaset after Inter’s 4-3 friendly win over Stuttgart Kickers on Saturday.

“Unfortunately, as we need to limit the squad to 25 players, for those we sign someone else has to leave.

“I understand it is very difficult to leave Inter, but we have to sacrifice a few of them.”

The coach also admitted that the Nerazzurri would be interested in signing Mohamed Salah from Chelsea if he is available, although he admits the 23-year-old winger’s situation remains a hindrance to any deal.

“We have no word yet on what team Salah is with, if it’s Fiorentina or Chelsea. If he is on the market then he would interest us. But now it’s hard to say.”

Mancini was also full of praise for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who his side have been linked to, but insists they are not close to signing him.

“Ibrahimovic is a great player,” he added. “If there was a chance to sign him, we all would like to have him, but that does not mean that he will be at Inter.

“We have Mauro Icardi, so if you talk about Ibra, you cannot say anything other than that he is a great champion.

“He is Paris Saint-Germain’s striker – a great team. If he goes to AC Milan, they will be strong enough to challenge for the Serie A title.”

Meanwhile, the 50-year-old was not impressed with Inter’s second-half display against German third-tier side Kickers, who battled back from 4-0 down to almost spring a surprise.

He added: “I saw some good things. I was satisfied with the first half, albeit with some mistakes that were no doubt down to fatigue.

“The second half, however, did not impress me.”

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