Former Inter and current Tottenham Horspur head coach Antonio Conte had made Dejan Kulusevski a target at the Nerazzurri before linking up with him at Spurs this year.
Speaking to UK-based news outlet the Evening Standard, the Italian tactician explained that he’d wanted the Swede from Juventus, but that then-Bianconeri Sporting Director Fabio Paratici had refused a deal.
Kulusevski’s form at Parma on loan from Atalanta had made him a major target for a number of clubs, but it was the Bianconeri who won the race for his signature.
However, the Swede never really managed to cement himself in Turin, and was allowed to leave to join Spurs during the January transfer window.
In London he has linked up with coach Conte, and has been brought to the club by the same executive who signed him for Juventus in the form of Paratici.
However, according to the coach, the three had been involved in a different set of circumstances when they had all been at different clubs.
After Kulusevski put in an excellent display including a goal and an assist on his first start for Spurs against Manchester City, Conte affirmed that he’d always admired the player, stating that “No, he didn’t surprise me.”
“Because I asked for him when I was at Inter from Juventus,” he added. “I opened the idea with Paratici. But he wanted to cut me [out of the deal], not to reinforce Juventus, you understand, but only to damage myself!”
“Paratici also tried with Lukaku, to buy Lukaku for Juventus because he knew very well that I like him and wanted him in my team,” he added, of the Bianconeri’s pursuit of the Belgian before he joined Inter in the summer of 2019.
“It was the same for Kulusevski,” he explained. “But at that time, maybe Juventus were stronger than us in the transfer market.”