Inter lead Di Natale chase

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INTERNAZIONALE have pushed their way to the front of the queue in the race to sign Empoli's hot property Antonio Di Natale.

The in-form striker has attracted the attention of a string of major clubs with his goalscoring exploits since Empoli's promotion to Serie A.

Di Natale's rapid progress was rewarded with his Italy debut against Turkey in midweek, and his call-up to the international arena has raised his profile further.

Inter are now determined to capture Di Natale and are believed to have asked Empoli president Fabrizio Corsi for first option on the 24-year-old.

Hector Cuper has been impressed with Di Natale, particularly with his versatility as the Inter coach feels the player could also operate in midfield.

As a bargaining chip, Inter could use Nicola Ventola as bait in their efforts to secure a deal with Empoli.

The top-flight newcomers are searching for fresh firepower after an injury to Luca Saudati.

Inter could offer Ventola on loan when the transfer window re-opens in January, on the proviso they are granted first option to sign Di Natale next summer.