The Most Important Winter Mercato in Recent History
Tomorrow the transfer window opens in Italy, and the scramble or players mid-season begins. Roberto Mancini’s Inter shocked the world of football in the first 17 matches of the season. The Nerazzurri sit at the top of the table heading into the new year. A solid defense from the start set the tempo for a consistent first 17 games. Although Mancini’s side sit top, only 4 points separate the top 5 teams in Italy. Even one loss could result in a team dropping up to 2-3 spots in one matchday. This is the most tightly contested Serie A season in recent history. Throughout the course of the season Mancini has continuously stayed humble, and even stated that there are “3-4 teams that are better equipped to win the Scudetto” than Inter. After the Nerazzurri’s match against PSG the manager said that the objective is to “return to the Champions League.” In such a tightly contested league, no team at the top can afford to fall behind, both on and off the pitch. With big money that comes from qualifying for the Champions League, there is a lot at stake. Today I will be looking at what this current Inter team needs to secure a Champions League birth. This is the most winter mercato in recent history for this football club
Before the official opening of the mercato, Inter have seemed to sign Boca’s Jonathan Calleri, who is coming off the back of a fantastic season in Argentina. According to Ole, the striker will sign with the Nerazzurri on Tuesday for $12 million, before being loaned out to Bologna for 6 months, who have an extra EU slot available. Hopefully Calleri can show what he can do in Italy before returning to Inter in the summer.
What positions need to be filled
After closely observing the team’s style of play, it is clear that Mancini lacks a creative player who can conduct play from deep. Geoffrey Kondogbia, Gary Medel, and Felipe Melo are all known for their defensive contribution, while Marcelo Brozovic is a fantastic box to box midfielder. It is clear that the Nerazzurri need a Pirlo-esque player who posses great vision. Inter are currently being linked with Lazio’s Lucas Biglia and former Juventus star Andrea Pirlo. These two players would certainly solve the midfield problem. Biglia’s pricetag is an obstacle, and Inter need to sell first, while Pirlo looks set to reject the Nerazzurri. It goes without saying that Inter are desperate to sign a new midfielder.
Inter only have one natural right winger in the squad; Jonathan Biabiany. Although the Frencham has performed well, Mancini wants a player who can make a bigger impact. Both of Inter’s best wingers in Adem Ljajic and Ivan Perisic only look compatible on the left side. Inter need a player with ample flair and skill on the right side. Sofiane Feghouli and Antonio Candreva are being linked to Inter. The Algerian’s contract expires in the summer, and Inter could try to sign him in January. Antonio Candreva will almost surely stay at Lazio due to his insanely high 35 million euro pricetag. Although Inter are believed to be in the hunt for a fullback, Mancini’s trust in Montoya could mean that the club will buy a right-back at the season’s end.
Sales: Who should be sold?
You need to sell before buying. This is the case for Inter this January. In order to raise funds for big moves, the Nerazzurri need to trim the squad. Andrea Ranocchia looks set to leave Inter. The defender has offers from England, but reports suggest that he will stay in Italy. Roberto Mancini has numerous fullbacks in his squad: Dodo, D’Ambrosio, Montoya, Nagatomo, Telles, and Santon. Inter can afford to offload at least two fullbacks this winter. Marcelo Brozovic could be the big sale that can fund a big money move. Arsenal are interested in the Croatian international, and Express are reporting that Inter want 25 million euros. Overall Inter need to complete some sales in order to give Mancini the players he wants this winter.
Inter need to reinforce in January. Lucas Biglia and Sofiane Feghouli seem like perfect fits for Roberto Mancini’s 4-2-3-1 formation. However, bother players will only arrive should Inter provide a big offer, which means that some players will have to be sold. Marcelo Brozovic might have to be sacrificed if a very tempting offer arrives, and the squad’s fullbacks have to be trimmed down. If Inter can do good business this January, then it could set the tone for an incredible second half of the season. Your move Ausilio…