Inter sign talented youngster Ranocchia

MILAN - Inter Milan have signed top Italian defensive prospect Andrea Ranocchia but the former Bari player will spend next season at Genoa in a co-ownership deal.

"The defender has signed a five-year deal with Inter. Inter and Genoa have agreed that Andrea Ranocchia will stay at Genoa for the 2010/11 season," the European champions said in a statement on Wednesday with no financial details given.

Ranocchia, 22, formed a solid central defensive partnership with Leonardo Bonucci at mid-table Bari last season but his campaign was cut short by a serious knee injury in January.

He had been tipped for a place in Italy's World Cup squad but Bonucci went to South Africa instead and has since joined Juventus.

With Inter boasting Lucio and Walter Samuel, Ranocchia would have struggled for first team action in the coming season but he is the first part of a campaign to bring more young Italians into the club's foreigner-dominated set-up.

As part of the complex deal, the Italian champions have loaned youth striker Mattia Destro to Genoa.

Inter, whose coach Jose Mourinho left for Real Madrid after last term's treble success, have otherwise been quiet in the transfer window under new boss Rafael Benitez with the possible exits of Maicon and Mario Balotelli instead dominating the headlines.

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