Inter appear to have conceded defeat in their pursuit of Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard after completing the signing Sulley Muntari from Portsmouth.
The Ghana midfielder, 23, has signed a four-year deal with the Italian champions but the transfer fee has not been disclosed.
Former Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho, who identified Lampard as his number one transfer priority, acknowledged that Lampard had chosen to stay at Chelsea.
“I am not disappointed with him. The key thing for a player is to do what makes you happier. If his decision is to stay at Chelsea because he is happier, that is fine for me,” Mourinho told reporters.
Muntari, who played at Serie A’s Udinese between 2002 and 2007, spent just one season in England where he helped Portsmouth win the FA Cup for the first time since 1939.
“I am very disappointed to let him go. He’s a terrific player and was a great signing for us,” Pompey manager Harry Redknapp told the club’s website (www.portsmouthfc.co.uk) on Monday.
“But Inter Milan came in and made a big offer which allows us to strengthen the team in a couple of other positions.”
Muntari is Mourinho’s second major signing at Inter after Brazilian winger Mancini moved from Roma.
“Muntari is the last buy,” Inter director Gabriele Oriali told reporters. “Now we will work on trimming the squad because Mourinho wants 22 players and three goalkeepers. There will be some painful goodbyes.”
Mourinho admitted that his squad was top heavy with strikers.
“There’s too many of us and the situation is not easy. We must work to have 25 players and at the moment there are lots of attackers and I can’t let all of them play as I would like,” he said.