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Jan 31, 2013

Inter snap up Kovacic and Kuzmanovic

Inter Milan have moved to bolster their midfield with the signings of Mateo Kovacic from Dinamo Zagreb and Zdravko Kuzmanovic from Stuttgart.

Mateo Kovacic
Mateo Kovacic has been tipped for the top by Zvonimir Boban

- Blog: Inter will regret Coutinho sale

Croatia Under-21 midfielder Kovacic, 18, is a surprise arrival at Inter, with the club having been strongly linked with a move for Paulinho.

However, the Brazilian midfielder announced that he had opted to stay with Corinthians and the Nerazzurri moved swiftly to snap up Kovacic in a deal worth an initial €11 million.

“Everything happened so quickly,” he told Inter’s official website. “I am still in shock - I don’t even know what to say. Dinamo is my home and it is difficult to leave but when Inter call you, one of the biggest clubs in the world, you can’t refuse.

“Obviously I must still pass my medical but I hope they are just a formality.”

Croatia legend Zvonimir Boban, who played for AC Milan for over a decade, was full of praise for his compatriot.

“The player has talents that could make him even better than me,” he told Sky Italia. “He is an incredibly serious professional for someone his age. Kovacic is a complete player. He is not a born regista but he is playing there now. He is a complete talent that can still grow - he has incredible potential.

“I didn’t expect all this. I learned about it this afternoon. It was a surprise. Inter did very well to sign him. I believe he is perfect for the 3-5-2, he can play as a second striker or advanced playmaker and sees the field like a playmaker.”

Kuzmanovic, 25, also heads to Inter in a deal rumoured to be worth around €1 million.

Serbia international, who joined Stuttgart for €8 million from Fiorentina in 2009, would have been out of contract with the Bundesliga club at the end of the season.

"I am happy to wear the jersey," Kuzmanovic told Tuttomercatoweb. "Valencia were interested, but my desire was always to return to Italy."

The duo arrive as Inter bid farewell to Phillippe Coutinho, who departed for Liverpool on Wednesday, and MacDonald Mariga, who has made the switch to Parma on loan.

Meanwhile, Buenos Aires-born Schelotto, 23, has swapped Serie A clubs by leaving Atalanta for Inter in an undisclosed arrangement.

The winger said: "I want to say goodbye to Atalanta, the team, the fans, the coach, everyone who always believed in me.

"But I'm glad I've joined Inter, the biggest club in the world. I hope to be able to give my very best for this team. I'm thrilled to be here and I've been welcomed with open arms."

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