Pandev returns to Inter Milan

Goran Pandev is set to help fill the gap left at Inter Milan by Samuel Eto'o's departure for the CAF African Cup of Nations, after the Serie A leaders said Monday that the Macedonia international has rejoined them on a four-and-a-half-year deal.

The inventive forward moves to Inter as a free agent, having succeeded in a legal challenge to liberate himself of his contract with Lazio last month because he had been frozen out at the Rome side for making a transfer request in the summer.

It is a return to the club he first signed for in 2001, although he never played for them in Serie A. He went to Lazio in 2004 as part of the deal to send Dejan Stankovic the other way after loan stints at Spezia and Ancona.

"FC Internazionale announces that Goran Pandev joined the club on a permanent deal this morning," the club said in a statement. "The Macedonian striker has signed a contract until 30 June 2014."

Italian media reported that Pandev has a good chance of making his league debut for Inter in Wednesday's game at Chievo Verona.

Eto'o's spell away with the Cameroon national team this month leaves Jose Mourinho with just two other forwards, Diego Milito and Mario Balotelli, as the club have loaned Honduran David Suazo to Genoa and Austrian Marko Arnautovic does not seem to figure in the Portuguese coach's thinking.

Pandev could be used on the wing in Verona though, as Mourinho is short of midfielders because of Dejan Stankovic's and Thiago Motta's suspensions.