Inter defender Stefan de Vrij has given some indicators as to how he believes that key new figures will settle in at the club next season.
Speaking to Italian broadcaster DAZN, the Dutchman spoke highly of both newly-arrived midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu and newly-appointed head coach Simone Inzaghi.
The Nerazzurri had a highly successful 2020-21 campaign, winning the first Scudetto achieved by the club in eleven years, but the transition into the upcoming season could be a rocky one as they look to replace influential figures.
Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen became a highly influential player at the Nerazzurri last season, shaking off his erratic form since joining the club in January of 2020 to produce a string of excellent performances which helped the club win the title.
The 29-year-old looks set to miss most or all of next season as he recovers from a health emergency suffered during the Euros with Denmark, however, and the Nerazzurri acted fast to replace him, bringing in out-of-contract midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu from city rivals AC Milan to replace him.
Here is how de Vrij thinks the Turkish midfielder will replace Eriksen’s contributions:
“I spoke to Christian when it happened, I thought about him a lot. Then I left him a little quiet. He will receive lots of messages, he needs time to get back to the top.
“Calhanoglu? He is a very strong player, he creates many opportunities for other players further forward and has an excellent passing range, a good shot and is good at crossing.”
Another key figure who departed in the summer was head coach Antonio Conte, with Lazio manager Simone Inzaghi his replacement.
About the team’s ambitions for next season, he said:
“We want to confirm ourselves and continue to grow and improve. There is a lot of work to do to find ourselves in our best form in the first game. I think there is still a lot of room for growth, through working. I am very confident.”
De Vrij has worked with Inzaghi while the pair were at the Biancocelesti together, and here is his assessment of the Italian tactician in relation to his predecessor Conte:
“[Conte] I’m sorry about him leaving because I got on well with him. I thanked him because he helped me to grow and improve, but I am happy with the arrival of Inzaghi with whom I worked very well at Lazio.
“He creates a very nice atmosphere within the group and everyone will be available for the team.”