FLORENCE – Inter Milan endured another day of frustration as Sinisa Mihajlovic insisted he would not leave Fiorentina to move to the San Siro.
Eight days have passed since Inter president Massimo Moratti revealed that current coach Leonardo could leave the club to become sporting director at Paris St Germain this summer, and the Nerazzurri have yet to announce who will guide the team next season.
Inter had hoped to lure former Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa but the Argentinian turned down the offer for personal reasons.
Moratti suffered a further setback today when Mihajlovic, another candidate to succeed Leonardo, announced he will remain in charge of Fiorentina.
Mihajlovic said: "Inter's entourage has contacted me but I have spoken to (Fiorentina sporting director Pantaleo) Corvino telling him that I want to remain in Florence for many reasons.
"The club has treated me well and everyone that works and plays in this club are serious and motivated.
"Everything is perfect in Florence for me and for my family.
"There are values here that I agree with, such as loyalty towards our project.
"Perhaps some people would be disappointed with my decision but I am happy to remain in Florence and I hope to stay here for many years to come.
"I hope that after two statements and a press conference, I have made my position clear.''
There was a good reason why Inter had approached Mihajlovic, as the Serbian, a former Inter player, had been an assistant to Roberto Mancini at the San Siro from 2006 until 2008.
Mihajlovic's decision to remain at Fiorentina has left Gian Piero Gasperini as the leading candidate. Inter have confirmed talks with Gasperini but remain cautious.
"It's not that we are closing in on him (Gasperini),'' Moratti said.
"He's being evaluated and he's a very serious person and a great
"But I haven't decided, no. The candidates are the same as yesterday.''
Unlike Mihajlovic, who is under contract with Fiorentina for a further season,
Gasperini is a free agent having been dismissed by Genoa back in November.
Moratti has not ruled out the possibility that Leonardo, who is under contract with Inter for a further year, could stay put.
Leonardo, who joined Inter in December after leaving AC Milan six months
earlier, led the team to finish runners-up in Serie A and win the Coppa Italia
"Leonardo is still our coach,'' Moratti said.
"I would like to remind people of that. It's not that Leonardo has left or
sought to leave.
"He remains our coach and I could recall him whatever happens.''
With Inter fans growing increasingly impatient, Moratti has stated that there
will be developments this weekend.
He said: "I will announce (the coach) between Friday and Sunday. Something will happen this weekend.''