Max De Luca – Five Things Inter Fans Can Be Optimistic About Next Season

June 5, 2017 09:00
( 14 ) Comment


Neither Sitirick and Company nor 5WPR – two of the best crisis management firms on the planet – would be able put a positive spin on Inter’s recently concluded season. Winston Wolf isn’t going to politely appear at the door and clean up the latest mess that the Nerazzurri have created.

The 2016-17 season was an abject disaster from start to finish. Looking back it’s hard to imagine that so many storylines unfolded in 11 months, but as is usually the case with Inter the truth is often stranger than fiction.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane shall we…

Erick Thohir’s inexplicable decision to sack Roberto Mancini two weeks before the opening game of the season derailed the campaign before it even started. Inter then pulled the plug on the Frank de Boer experiment 85 days after hiring the overmatched Dutchman, and in a blink of the eye the Nerazzurri were on manger number three.

The drama was not just limited to the managers as Mauro Icardi released a biography, which included a passage that enraged the Curva Nord, prompting the ultras to demand that the 24-year-old be stripped of the captaincy. They also declared Icardi was “dead to them” and raucously cheered his penalty miss in the 2-1 loss to Cagliari in mid-October.

Stefano Pioli – manager number four – looked to have stabilized the squad by guiding them on a seven-game Serie A winning run to enter the Champions League discussion, but Inter’s Potemkin village soon collapsed under the weight of the expectations, as they proceeded to go on their longest winless run in 35 years.

The Nerazzurri won two meaningless games to finish the season in seventh place, one point behind city rival AC Milan and a whopping 29 behind Juventus. No European place for Inter as they begin another Year Zero at Appiano Gentile.

But there is reason to believe that the worst is indeed over. Here are five things Interisti can be optimistic about next season:

Luciano Spalletti Can Deliver The Goods

Spalletti may seem like a consolation prize after Antonio Conte and Diego Simeone rejected Inter’s desperate advances, but the former Roma manager need not be merely a free play on a multi-million dollar lottery draw.

Spalletti led Roma to a record-breaking points total (87) in 2016-17, which would have been enough to win the Scudetto in seven of the previous nine Serie A seasons.

Spalletti will have the support of his old boss Walter Sabatini, who was appointed the joint technical director of Inter and Jiangsu Suning on May 10, and will likely have a say in which players are brought in to Appiano Gentile.

Spalletti is certainly not the sexy pick that Interisti were clamouring for but he has the know-how and expertise to get the Nerazzurri back into the Champions League.

Great Group Of Core Players Under 25

Mauro Icardi, Joao Mario (24 years old), Geoffrey Kondogbia (24) and Roberto Gagliardini (23) give Inter a solid foundation upon which to build on.

Icardi overcame a tumultuous year to set a personal high with 24 Serie A goals and added a new dimension to his game with eight assists. Icardi also passed the legendary Ronaldo with his 50th goal for Inter in September and was finally rewarded for his stellar play with a call-up to the Argentine national team for their friendly against Brazil in June.

Gagliardini was brought in during the January transfer window and hit the ground running before fading away down the stretch along with the rest of the squad. The former Atalanta midfielder made his debut for the Italian national team in late March and will be a mainstay in midfield for the foreseeable future. Easily one of the Nerazzurri’s best signings of the last few years.

Joao Mario was probably Inter’s best player in the first three months before he was mysteriously benched. The Nerazzurri are likely to reap the benefits of a restful summer after playing until July during Portugal’s winning run in the European Championship.

Kondogbia silenced his critics with a series of Herculean performances in midfield during Inter’s winning streak early in the calendar year and showed why he was such a highly-touted midfielder with Monaco in 2015. He provides some much-needed steel in midfield and has already built a formidable partnership with Gagliardini that promises to give opposing teams fits for years to come.

Suning To Splash The Cash

The Chinese owners are ready to flex their financial muscles this summer and Inter has already been linked with the likes of James Rodriguez, Angel Di Maria and Radja Nainggolan among others.

The Nerazzurri need upgrades in multiple positions and Suning seems poised to answer the call. This is an important mercato for Inter in its quest to return among the Serie A elite and Suning is ready to open its checkbook to make it happen.

Walter Sabatini Is The Real Deal

Sabatini’s track record speaks for itself as he engineered a dramatic turnaround at Roma. He built the capital city club into a serious contender with his shrewd purchases of Nainggolan, Miralem Pjanic and Diego Perotti just to name a few.

Sabatini should have a Scudetto in his portfolio save for Juve’s dominance in the last five years. Hopefully he can bring in some trusted colleagues and get everyone rowing in the same direction.

Inter Set To Trim The Fat

This has to be the year that the Nerazzurri braintrust offloads the players, which have no business wearing the shirt. Andrea Ranocchia was loaned out to Hull City in the winter and seems a good bet to leave for pastures new on a permanent deal.

The end has to be near for one of Interisti’s favourite whipping boy Yuto Nagatomo, whose schoolboy errors cost the team numerous points this past season. The same goes for Marcelo Brozovic and his petulant attitude, which will be someone else’s problem – most likely a Premier League team – in a matter of months.

Rodrigo Palacio had a great career with Inter and should be applauded for being a great servant to the team, but was largely ineffective over the last two years, scoring just two Serie A goals in 42 appearances during that span. Juan Pablo Carrizo’s time at Inter is also over while Gabigol is likely to be loaned out for the duration of the 2017-18 campaign.

Max De Luca is a journalist based in Toronto, Canada and has been published on Reuters, CBC, Yahoo, Goal, USA Today and many more. Every week Max pens a column exclusively for discussing the most pressing topics of the past week.

Do you agree with Max? Let us know below in the comments or hit us up on Twitter or Facebook.

  • defcon

    Thohir didn’t sack Mancini by the way.

  • Michael Rojas

    We really need to trim the fat, and mind you we have a big chunk of fat to get rid of. We can save money in the attack and not get another striker as we have Caprari as he looked good with Pescara and we have Pinamonti.

    I think people also forget that we have a loop-hole in the system. Players with out of league buyout clauses are also options. We have Suning. So, for example Suning could come in and buyout Belotti as they are not within Serie A. Then they can loan or sell him to Inter for maybe players+cash.

    I would also rather get rid of Brozo instead of Perisic but rumors seem we are getting Bernardeschi to replace him. We need defenders, Conti would be great on the left while we get another player on the left, we also have Di Marco coming back. I’d get rid of Candreva to bring in Berardi and have him and Gabi on the right.

    Here’s what i think would be a good squad if we play still play 4-2-3-1 under Spalletti
    Ansaldi/Di Marco…..Murillo/Medel…Miranda/Andreolli….Conti/D’ambrosio

    We’d save money on strikers if we keep Caprari, he did pretty good at Pescara and we have Pinamonti coming up. Petagna also has been a rumor.

    I’d keep Perisic but Bernardeshi is rumored to come to us and Eder would still make a good sub for now, then we can sell him once we find someone better.
    For the mid i’d also like to get Pellegrini if Roma don’t want him. I’d like to get rid of Candreva for Berardi or we can buy Berardi but let him stay at Sassuolo for a year then sell Candreva.

    I left Murillo in there for now but we need someone better, unless Spalletti can make him better. We also have Bastoni at Atalanta for a year then he’ll come to us. Most importantly we need a right and left back. I’d go for all out for Conti. Whether or not Santon can pass a medical we’ll have him as a backup for either side and he did really well the last game, maybe he got better. We’re also getting DiMarco back I haven’t watched him play last season but he could grow with us. Ansaldi proved he’s too slow for those pacey wingers, I left him in but if we can get someone better I’d sell him.

    Finally Handanovic. He’s starting to get older but still a good player. If we make champions league next season i’m sure he’ll stick around but we need to start looking for a younger player to replace him once he leaves. I’d like Sportiello. Meret also looks good. Unfortunately i wouldn’t chance it for Perin as he’s just been injury prone lately.

    What do you guys think?

    • Mikey

      I agree with most of your points. Top priority should fullbacks. I have a special place for Santon, I still feel he’d be a decent backup so I don’t want him to leave. Nagatomo and Ansaldi should go. NAGATOMO HAS TO GO. Forget the Japanese shirt sales. I’m sure we all prefer trophies than extra profit from that market. Not a big fan of D’ambrosio, but he’s pretty versatile and could make a half decent backup, but never be a starter. Conti should be main target. Shame fucking Milan managed to get Rodriguez.

      For central defense, if it’s true we’re getting Rudiger or De Vrij, that’d be great, though I’d prefer Manolas. This may sound controversial but I’d rather keep Murillo than Miranda. I still see potential in Murillo, he’s young and was great last season. I still think he was going through second season slump this time around. I don’t know, I have a special place for him. Miranda isn’t getting any younger and his attitude isn’t great. But we definitely need one or two more top center backs.

      I say we take the money and sell Perisic, the guy is 28 and we wait another year or two his value will decrease dramatically. Remember Sneijder? I remember the summer of 2011 Man U were offering like 30-40 million for him and we kept him, next season he left for like 12. Perisic wants UCL football and we should respect his wishes and let him leave with all he’s done for the club. Take the money and invest in Bernadeschi or Berardi. And what about Salah? I heard rumors he’s itching for a move. Gabigol, I still think he was a big mistake, but he didn’t play enough so I’m really not sure of his quality, he should be loaned out to another Serie A team, but we have to make sure that club will actually play him, maybe loan him to Sampdoria if Schick leaves.

      For midfield. I say we keep Banega and Mario, and let them rotate and compete for that starting spot at #10. Granted Banega is 28 and he’ll also lose his value, but remember we got him for free. He can be world class when he’s on his game and I don’t mind him leaving for nothing in a couple seasons since we got him for nothing. Sell that piece of shit Brozovic, nothing further. To reiterate, I really hope we get one or two more center backs, b/c importantly this will allow Medel to go back to playing midfield and competing and rotating with Gaglia and Kdog. I personally like Medel but he is not a center back. Though his performances were pretty admirable, his mistakes here and there at the back really screwed us (like the home game vs Roma). Naingollan would be an awesome signing but shit 50 million? I don’t know about that. I’d rather invest that sort of money on Veratti, but convincing him to sign will us will be tough.

  • Bob

    every club goes through dark periods, lets hope the worst is over for us and we can get back to where this great club belongs!

  • Binto Baggio

    I will be more optimistic if we change the captain, Icardi is just lack of determination and leadership, but unfortunately I dont know who is fit to this duty

    • ADRIANO158

      Dude, if you really think that, I’m sorry, but you are really blind and stupid. I don’t mean to be rude, but… for real, do you even watch…

    • Mikey

      If we strip him of the captaincy then we might as well sell him.

  • Inter4ever

    Trimming the fat is the biggest positive.

  • VieriTottiDelpiero

    Agree. Spaletti was the only choice for us. With time+budget, Spaletti can change Inter to become UCL team again. We should re-build the team around: ICARDI, GAGLIARDINI, JOAO MARIO, KONDOGBIA and CANDREVA (I respect his experience). We need a goalkeeper to replace Handanovic in 2 years (Meret) 2 fullbacks (Conti, Zappacosta), 2 center backs (Manolas/Rudiger, and De Vrij), 2 midfielders (Verratti, James Rodriguez), 2 stikers (Berardi, Bernardeschi).

    Inter 2017/2018:

    GK: Handanovic, Meret, Padelli
    DF: Rudiger, De Vrij, Miranda, Andreolli, Conti, Zappacosta, Spinazzola, D’Ambrosio
    MF: Verratti, Gagliardini, Kondogbia, James Rodriguez, Joao Mario, Candreva
    FW: Icardi, Berardi, Bernardeschi, Eder, Pinamonti, Gabigol

    • Amin Sadrnejad

      This squad size is massive for two competitions and u forgot Di Marco and Caprari.

    • INTERisLife

      Y is candreva in ur team

  • Amin Sadrnejad

    Makes sense in every single word. Great one Max.

  • zuldegret

    Keep epic brozo.

    • Amin Sadrnejad

      Kill epic Brozo