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 By Ben Gladwell

Inter Milan can't afford Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Javier Pastore - Spalletti

Raf Honigstein explains why Henrikh Mkhitaryan could go the way of Kevin De Bruyne and Mohamed Salah if he leaves Manchester United.

Inter Milan will not be making a bid for Manchester United's Henrikh Mkhitaryan or Javier Pastore of Paris Saint-Germain during the January transfer window because they cannot afford either, according to their coach Luciano Spalletti.

Speaking ahead of his side's Serie A clash with Fiorentina, Spalletti discussed what he called a "distracting" transfer window, since he cannot find anybody who can improve the squad he has already got who is not priced out of Inter's reach.

"I think people are ignoring it because you know all too well what the problems are. It's what I was saying at the start of the season: if we want to improve, we need to get players who are better than the ones we've already got," he said at a news conference.

"Who do you want us to go and get, who is better than what we've got? Tell me? Come on, give me some names, otherwise we just go around [in circles]. It's up to you..."

One reporter mentioned attacking midfielder Mkhitaryan.

"Mkhitaryan, [Javier] Pastore and then... you see? You need €30-40 million to buy them. We don't have it. It's no use beating about the bush -- I've been told that we can't spend €40m, so there's no point even talking about it.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has struggled for regular playing time at Manchester United.

"Maybe you could have an exchange of players on loan, but then you would need, for example, Manchester United to want one of our players, but you've both got to have the same intentions.

"Everybody has to align with this FFP and nearly everybody needs to bring in more money."

A financial boost could come from qualifying for the Champions League next season, although not even that is looking so certain after the Nerazzurri hit a rough patch of form.

After their 16-game unbeaten start to the season was brought to an end by Udinese -- only days after Inter had risked losing in the Coppa Italia to third-tier Pordenone -- they have picked up just one point and are now seven adrift of league leaders Napoli.

Fifth-placed Lazio, who have a game in hand, are just four points behind. The top four in Serie A will qualify for the Champions League this season.

"We need to get back to doing the good things we were doing before," Spalletti said. "There's still a long way to go and big results to be gained, but our plan is to be ready against anybody, even tough opponents like Fiorentina."

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.

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