Inter or Roma? Who did the better business?
Both Inter and Roma made smart moves in the summer transfer window to improve their respective squads. The Nerazzurri knew that they had to rejuvenate the squad while complying the UEFA’s financial fair play restrictions. On the other hand, Roma aimed to build on their solid foundation of second place, and go one step further to win the Scudetto. Both clubs had to spend this summer in order to reach their respective goals for this season. Today I will be talking about which team did the better business over the past summer, and who will have the edge for the showdown later tonight.
Players wanted by both clubs
One of the biggest sagas of the summer was the case of Mohammed Salah. The Egyptian declined Fiorentina’s offer of a 1 year loan extention in early July. Inter looked to take advantage of the situation, but the inflamitory Fiorentina board threatened to sue the Nerazzurri for convincing Salah to leave Florence. The Nerazzurri then decided to wait it out, but Roma pounced and reached an agreement with Chelsea, and Salah joined the capital club for a loan with a mandatory option to buy (Roma redeemed Salah earlier this month).
Another player that was wanted by both clubs was Stevan Jovetic. The Montenegrin struggled for playing time in the last two seasons at Manchester City, and demanded a return to Italy. Jovetic’s agent Fali Ramadani, who is also Adem Ljajic’s representative, was in talks with Roma before the Manchester City forward made the move to Milan for a loan with a mandatory purchase fee.
After finishing 8th last season, Erick Thohir knew that Inter had to change their approach. The summer began with a bang, as Inter beat their city rivals AC Milan to French star Geoffrey Kondogbia. The total transfer sum is believed to be around 35 million euros. Although this is a hefty sum, Kondogbia is a proven performer, and at only 22 years old, his potential is huge. The former Monaco man helped lead the French side to the Uefa Champions League quarter finals with some stellar performances. Soon after Inter secured the services of Joao Miranda to add to Jeison Murillo in defense. In total, Inter spent 24 million euros on their new center-back partnership, which is already starting to blossom. Miranda is a proven world-class center back, and was a major part of Atletico’s title winning season only two years ago. Jeison Murillo was brought in from Granada, and won the 2015 Copa America Young Player of the Tournament. The Nerazzurri also brought in Martin Montoya from Barcelona. However, the Spaniard is currently finding it tough to settle in at Inter. There are reports stating that a return to Barca is on the cards.
Ausilio did not make any more moves until August, when Inter brought in Stevan Jovetic. The Montenegrin’s stint at Manchester City was riddled with injuries. Now, at Inter, Jovetic is looking to play consistently and become an essential part of Mancini’s plans. The Ivan Perisic saga seemed as if it was the soap-opera of the summer. The Croatian was the alternative to Mohammed Salah, who joined AS Roma. After two months of interest, Inter finally signed Perisic in late August from Wolfsburg for nearly 19 million euros. The Croatian was an important part of Wolfsburg’s plans, but the lure of Inter proved to great. Perisic’s speed, crossing, and versatility make him a player that Inter can rely on. Transfer deadline was the busiest day of the year for Inter regarding the mercato. In the space of 24 hours, the Nerazzurri signed Alex Telles, Felipe Melo, and Adem Ljajic. Ljajic fell down the pecking order after Garcia’s side brought in Mohammed Salah, Iago Falque, and Edin Dzeko. The Serb is now starting to find his feet at Inter after a difficult start. In the end, Inter completed their much awaited revamp of the squad.
Inter had to comply with UEFA’s financial fair play regulations. This meant selling expendable players. Mancini’s side sold big names such as Mateo Kovacic, Hernanes, and Xherdan Shaqiri. Although these two players are talented, Mancini opted for more physical and versatile players instead. Kovacic was sold to Real Madrid for 35 million euros, while Shaqiri joined Stoke City for 16 million euros. Hernanes was signed by rivals Juventus for 11 million euros on deadline day. Kovacic has great potential , but never performed consistently at Inter. Unfortunately for Shaqiri, Mancini lost faith in the Swiss star after only 6 months in Milan. Hernanes never reached the heights of his Lazio days at Inter, and a change of scenery was needed. Overall, Inter made necessary sales to help balance the books and pave the way for new arrivals.
Roma wanted to build on their already talented squad. The capital side had to spend big on attackers to help bring in the goals this season. Last season Roma only scored 54 goals, and their attacking play was too predictable. First, the Giallorossi brought in Iago Falque from Genoa for 7 million euros plus bonuses. The tricky winger scored 13 goals for Genoa last season. The capital side then decided to wait and asses all of their options.
Roma took their time when it came to pursuing their targets. Sporting Director Walter Sabatini was looking to get a bargain when it came to the signing of Edin Dzeko. The Bosnian international was frustrated with his lack of playing time at Manchester City last season, and was attracted by Roma’s project. Sabatini convinced the English side to lower their demands, and Dzeko joined Roma for a loan with a mandatory redemption fee believed to be around 15 million euros. Roma pounced on Mohammed Salah’s delicate situation in late July. The Egyptian vetoed a loan extension at Fiorentina, and joined Roma for a loan with a mandatory purchase fee. Earlier this month, Roma announced that both Dzeko and Salah’s moves to Roma were made permanent. The Giallorossi also brought in Lucas Digne from PSG, which gives them a solid leftback option. Wojciech Szczesny was signed from Arsenal to give Morgan De Sanctis competition for the goalkeeping spot. Sabatini also helped improve the squad’s depth. Players such as Antonio Rudiger and William Vaniquier were brought in to step up whenever they are needed.
Roma did fantastic business when it came to selling their fringe players. The Giallorossi made a profit this summer. Andrea Bertolacci and Alessio Romagnoli, who both returned to Roma after loan spells, were sold to Milan for a combined 45 million euros. After 6 unsuccessful months in Rome, both Victor Ibarbo and Seydou Doumbia were sold to Watford and CSKA Moskow respectively. Mattia Destro was sold for 8.5 million euros to Bologna, and Yanga M’Biwa was sold to Lyon for 8 million euros. Fringe players such as Jose Holebas, Marquinho, and Davide Astori all left the club. The last player to leave was Adem Ljajic, who join Inter for a loan with a mandatory purchase option.
Who did the better business
Both Inter and Roma did great business this summer. When comparing the two sides, you have to look at what they had before. Roma finished second in Serie A last season, and made some good improvements to the squad, whereas Inter finished eighth last term, and have managed an overhaul of the squad. Inter have improved more, but Roma still have the stronger side on paper. But can they get it done? So far yes. Roma have been scoring goals galore, but their defense has been shaky at times. Inter are 2 points behind Roma at the top, and have been relying on their stern defense. Who will come on top today? We will have to wait and see.