Former Inter Director Ernesto Paolillo believes that the Nerazzurri are headed in the right direction thanks to a strong summer despite difficult conditions, and especially thanks to the work of CEO Beppe Marotta.
Speaking to Italian news outlet L’Interista, the former Director gave a positive forecast for the Nerazzurri during the season already underway.
Inter had to face a summer of serious upheaval, losing head coach Antonio Conte almost immediately after winning the Scudetto last season, and then seeing the exits of Achraf Hakimi and Romelu Lukaku in a transfer window which was characterized by the club’s need to stabilize itself financially with major sales.
However, after these setbacks the club also did positive work in the transfer market, even on a limited budget, and found ways to strengthen itself, and the results can be seen in two positive early performances under new coach Simone Inzaghi in the opening two Serie A Matches.
“I am very optimistic,” Paolillo said of the situation, “and I am convinced that the team can be competitive. Of course, with Lukaku and Hakimi we had a step more than the others. That’s no longer there, but there is competitiveness and there is already an advantage in the table. And here we must congratulate Marotta.”
He spoke highly of the CEO, stating that “He chose Inzaghi, a coach who makes the team play in a way not too far from Conte’s setup. Next, he was able to take players who can integrate without too much difficulty. This group can find the right mentality to show that, having lost Lukaku, they can can win anyway.”
Of the squad he said that “What is missing is another man who can replace Darmian in case of injury or fatigue. As for the rest I would say that the team is all there, I would not go crazy on investments in other roles, absolutely.”
As to whether the Nerazzurri’s attack would be strong enough to win Serie A, he stated, “For what the level of the Italian championship is right now, yes. But I repeat myself underlining that they can compete for the Scudetto. For the simple fact that I don’t see any stronger attacks. Let’s not forget that Juventus have lost Cristiano Ronaldo.”
Of the Scudetto race he said, “it will be much more balanced. I see Inter, Juventus, Milan, possibly Napoli, and above all Atalanta in it. The Bergamo players have made us used to enjoyable football with a group of players who are now accustomed to playing together.”
On the Champions League, Paolillio stated, “As a fan I hope for the final! Seeing the strength of the other teams and the draw, I think they can certainly get past the group stage, and I think also the round of sixteen, reaching at least the quarterfinals.”
Paolillo also gave his views on the financial disparities between even big teams, saying “Let’s talk clearly, football is sick Starting with the excessive salaries, for players and coaches. These costs are not sustainable for the revenues that the teams have.”
“Except for a few teams, the others cannot live with their revenues,” he continued, “Financial Fair Play had to patch up all this – some evade it in a clear and obvious way, so it becomes an unequal competition.”
“If we go and see who makes it to the semifinals, they are always the same,” he said, “That is, those who manage to spend the most. Without more stringent rules, it will get even worse than this. This is why many clubs wanted the Super League. I think UEFA has understood the danger and will try to distribute resources better.”
On how to get back to the top of the game for Inter, Paolillo suggested, “There is a simple way, and that is to try with their football and successes to attract sponsors who bring money, who want to be associated with the Inter brand.”
“Look at Bayern,” he went on, “they have a hard core of sponsors, not only generous, but very loyal to the club. Because reaching the top clubs through higher revenues from tickets and season tickets is unthinkable. The same goes for television rights, which in Italy are sold by the league in a way that is not yet optimal.”
Paolillo closed by talking about the InterSpace initiative for fan ownership, stating that “It is absolutely a beautiful dream, romantic, but in my opinion impossible to realize.”
He explained, “The German model cannot be suitable for us, because the rules are different here. The first year you can find someone who buys the shares. Should it happen that the owner is unable to cover debts or to cover salaries and it is necessary to make capital increases, how will private individuals be able to sustain these losses and continue to put in money? Or does it mean having a team that gets by with very few resources?”