Inter Milan are looking for an attacking midfielder before selling Fredy Guarin to Chelsea and reports claim that the Italian side have earmarked Tottenham summer signing Erik Lamela as their preferred replacement for the Colombian.
Lamela has been tipped to return to Serie A temporarily after struggling to adapt to life in England. The Argentinian spent two successful seasons at Roma before moving to Tottenham for £30m in the summer and Inter, Juventus and Napoli have all been linked with him recently.
At the same time, it has been reported that Chelsea are close to signing Guarin, and the Colombian midfielder has even admitted that his agent has held talks with Jose Mourinho ahead of a potential January transfer.
Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport claims that the two deals can be connected. Italian media report that if Tottenham agree to send Lamela on loan to Inter, the Milanese club will open the door to Guarin to sign for Chelsea.
Inter are considering other options including Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore, but La Gazzetta dello Sport claims that Lamela´s deal could be easier as he is still struggling to secure a place in the Tottenham line-up under new manager Tim Sherwood.
Lamela started against Southampton four games ago but he returned to the bench against West Brom, Stoke and Manchester United and he may consider a move to secure more regular playing time and increase his chances of making next summer's World Cup.
The left-footed Argentinian has started just three Premier League matches and is yet to score a goal in the league. His only strike came in the Europa League victory against Sheriff Tiraspol in November.
However, he scored 21 goals in 67 games in Italy and Inter consider him a good replacement for Guarin.
The Colombian midfielder has recently praised Jose Mourinho, saying that the Portuguese is the number one, and some reports claimed that Chelsea are set to pay £15m to the Italian side to secure his services during this transfer window.