A terrible campaign last season not only saw Inter finish the season trophy-less, but also saw the team finish in sixth position, its lowest league position in many years. The Inter management, towards the end of last season, showed signs of wanting to start a long-term project with the appointment of a new coach. Andrea Stramaccioni, a young and talented coach, who had recently won the Next Gen series, and had also done some good work with the Inter Primavera. Stramaccioni was also the guy who guided the team to a sixth place finish in the league, which qualified them for next season’s Europa League.
Now to the real reason for this writeup, Inter and the transfer market. Since the appointment of Stramaccioni, Inter’s targets in the transfer market have been defined somewhat clearly, and the coach has been carried along by the management during transfer operations. For those that have been following Strama from the Primavera, it is clear that he favours the 4-2-3-1 formation, but switches to the 4-3-3 and 4-3-2-1 as the need may be, he likes his teams to attack and also keep possession of the ball. It is clear that it is with this formation in mind that the transfer market men would base their targets on.
Another important factor that should also be considered is finances. The team is low on finances, especially for transfers, and it is no secret that our president, Massimo Moratti, has stated that the team needs to sell before purchases can be made. This means that players with high market values, and the high earners in the team are going to make way for cheaper options. So many names ranging from Handanovic to Leandro Damiao have been mentioned by the media as possible targets for the club, but I am not going to dwell on that. In this piece I’ll focus on the players that I believe are suitable for the team on the field and off the field (financially).
With Castellazzi and Belec, it looks like the second and third goalkeeping spots are secure, the uncertainty however is the first spot which is currently filled by our lovely Julio Cesar. Cesar had an average last season by his standards, but that is not the reason why he might leave the club. Julio is one of the high earners on the team, and might even go for a decent fee if we are patient enough. Samir Handanovic has been mentioned as a possible replacement, and it looks as if the deal is almost done. Cesar, though, has not found a buyer yet. So I think the management might end up rescinding his contract by mutual agreement. Handanovic is a decent replacement for Cesar, an unsung hero of sorts in Udinese’s recent exploits in the league, should not cost much, earns less than and is younger than Cesar. He’s a good choice.
Defence is one area of the team that needs serious restructuring. The team conceded so many goals last season mostly because of an ageing defence. Maicon, Samuel, Chivu, Lucio, Zanetti & Cordoba were all above 30 leaving Ranocchia, Faraoni and Nagatomo as the “under-30′s” in the defence. However, things have changed, Cordoba retired after last season, Lucio came to an agreement with the club to rescind his contract; he was one of the high earners anyway, Chivu and Samuel recently signed new contracts to keep them at the club for less than they earned on their previous contracts, that leaves us with Maicon as the only defender “available” for sale. There are reports that say that he is close to completing an 8 million euros switch to Chelsea, this will definitely free up some wages. Mathieu Debuchy has been mentioned as a possible replacement while the club still has Jonathan, who recently returned from his loan spell at parma and Faraoni who could be used in the deal involving Handanovic if reports are to be believed. And of course there’s Zanetti and Nagatomo that can play at right back and left back. When Maicon eventually leaves, Inter would need to replace him and also find a good left back and an additional central defender. Debuchy would be a good, cheaper replacement for Maicon while Silvestre who has been linked recently to us is also a decent choice for the central defence, at the left back, names such as Kolarov and Cissokho have been linked to the team and while I think that Kolarov would fit in perfectly due to his past experience in Serie A, I think Cissokho might be a cheaper option. With Ibrahim Mbaye already promoted to the first team by Stramaccioni, we would have adequate cover and even in the worst case, we don’t get Cissokho or Kolarov, we would still have Nagatomo, Zanetti, Mbaye and Chivu as a makeshift leftback.
Let me start by saying that I think the management cannot guarantee that Wes is going to stay, it depends on how good the offer for him is, so we have to keep our fingers crossed. Presently, we have Deki, Cambiasso, Guarin, Obi, Duncan and Mariga all fighting for the two midfield positions in Stramaccioni’s 4-2-3-1 formation. In my opinion, it’s time for Deki to move on, West Ham looks like a possible destination but I’m not getting my hopes up. Andrea Poli, who showed us glimpses of what he can offer us looks almost certain to join but management wants to get him for a cheaper price. Strama has highlighted the need for one more midfielder and so many names have been linked to this position in particular, some of them are Paulinho, Mudingayi, Sahin & De Jong among many others. For now, Mudingayi is the closest and I personally feel that he might be a short-term replacement for Mariga who is out injured for six months, why else would we be after him? For the long-term however, the club might go for someone younger and of course, cheaper. My favourite for this position is Nuri Sahin of Real Madrid, he’ll come cheap, earn less and fit directly into strama’s style of play. For the three attacking midfield slots however, Palacio and Wes (if he stays) look like a sure bet for the right side and central attacking midfield positions, Alvarez and Coutinho are decent backups but for the left side I would love to see Ibrahim Afellay, he should also come cheap and shouldn’t earn much plus he’s a young & a decent player. Obi, Alvarez and Cou can also serve as backup.
Well, the obvious starting choice in attack is Milito, Pazzini, Longo, Castaignos and Forlan are expected to provide adequate backup but as things stand, that won’t be the case. Castaignos seems to be on his way out if reports are to be believed, an eight million Euro offer from West ham seems too good to turn down, a bad decision if you ask me! Forlan’s contract is expected to be rescinded soon while Pazzini’s stay mostly depends on Destro’s arrival. Longo looks set to stay though. Personally, I feel Pazzini deserves another season and out interest in Destro isn’t really needed but I guess Pazzini’s high wage is a major reason why he might leave.
After these have been done, the inter team for the 2012/2013 season should look like this:
Published with permission from Nerazzurri World.