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Leeds vs. Norwich: All the 2s

The Toe Poke

Inter chief Branca defends transfer policy

Inter Milan technical director Marco Branca has defended the club's relative inactivity in the summer transfer market, claiming that the Nerazurri's best piece of business was keeping Maicon.

It has been a quiet few months for new boss Rafa Benitez, who despite being linked with several big-money moves has made no high-profile signings to bolster the squad of last season's Treble winners.

Mario Balotelli and Nicolas Burdisso were both allowed to leave the club, for Manchester City and Roma respectively, while the only players to arrive at the San Siro were young defender Marco Davide Faraoni from Lazio and goalkeeper Luca Castellazzi from Sampdoria - both on free transfers.

Brazil full-back Maicon was also on the verge of leaving Inter, but his proposed move to Real Madrid fell through after he failed to agree personal terms with the Spanish giants.

Maicon was voted Europe's best defender in the UEFA Club Football Awards last month for his role in Inter's stunning 2009-10 season, and Branca believes that keeping hold of the 29-year-old was the biggest transfer coup of the summer.

"I don't understand the disappointment of Inter's fans," Branca told Corriere dello Sport. "We have kept the same team as last season, which brought us all the trophies. The real coup was that of keeping Maicon, the best full-back in the world.

"We couldn't have bought [Cesc] Fabregas and [Bastian] Schweinsteiger and it's illogical to buy [Javier] Mascherano for €22 million."


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