Pre Season is over we have qualified for the Europa League and have 3 points in the bag after a convincing win over Pescara. The Serie A season has arrived and the mercato is finally closed. It’s time for optimism and controversy to guide us through the season.
Back in December I wrote an article called Sitting on the Fence. I talked about the issues with the clubs dealings in the mercato, managerial appointments, the intention of Moratti and where he was planning to take our great club. I said I was going to remain sitting on the fence until the 31st August 2012. The article was written at a time when people where perhaps being a little short-sighted. After a couple of bad seasons people were calling for Moratti’s head. If you have been an Inter fan long enough you know the last couple years are nothing on what it use to be like.
So the 31st of August has passed. It’s time to remove myself from my comfortable place on the fence and make a decision. It’s an easy one, I’m siding with Moratti and his plans. In the December article I was talking about the need for a plan, for the structure of the club from top to bottom and to take some steps for future income. For the first time since Mourinho’s time at Inter, I see clear ideas, I see the direction of were our great club wants to be. I like to think Moratti has learnt from his mistakes made over the years and this summer may be another step in showing this. Moratti has taken this club to the highest point since the 60’s, we may have fallen rapidly since 2010 but now Moratti is building not just a team but a club capable of repeating that great achievement in the years to come and staying there.
So Year Zero has arrived.
What’s happened this summer?
After a positive time in charge at the end of the season Strama has been confirmed in the post of head coach. It’s now up to Strama to prove he was the right choice. Some say it was a cheap appointment but anyone who witnessed Inter under his guidance could see the bond with the players and the style of football was fluid passing and attacking. Strama is clearly a strong character and his lack experience at this level does not show at all. Strama has exciting ideas tactically he’s confident in his abilities. One aspect of Strama I thoroughly enjoy is his interviews. Confidence, respectful and elegant with his words. Many managers struggle in interviews but Strama looks like he’s being doing it for years. Overall a very likeable character who clearly has won over everyone at the club.
Behind the scenes
Action was being taken towards the end of last season. We have a new head scout in Angeloni from Udinese and have installed a new CEO in Fassone, who has a wealth of experience in making new stadiums happen and the fact he achieved this in Italy is even more impressive. That experience will be a real asset in taking us forward from that side of things. Branca has someone working alongside him in a technical role in Bedin. On the subject of Branca, I was one of many calling for the termination of his contract. It was clear that he wasn’t supported with much in the way of funds but his ability to get a deal done seemed lacking. This summer Branca has proved most wrong. Let’s be honest there was a lot of work to do, and it may have taken longer than we wished but our targets have been achieved. Branca has rid of some big waged players, reduced the age of the side and brought in several players that have strengthened and left Strama with a variety of tactical options. Branca has shown he can get a good deal, and Strama was quick to point out the work put in to sign Pereira. Credit where credit is due.
Some of the most exciting news this summer was thanks to the Chinese Construction group who are going to have largest percentage of Inter after the Moratti family. What does this mean for Inter. Well most importantly a new stadium for 2016. I have stated many times for us to achieve great things a new fully owned stadium is an absolute must. Our match day revenue will more than treble what it is now easily! The Inter brand itself will improve with the facilities available at the stadium and the funds available to buy players will increase. The location of the new stadium and it’s design is yet to be confirmed but it has been suggested that those details are soon to be released. The days of spending 30 million on players like Vieri may well return. With the work being done at Primevera level and a new stadium something special is being built at Le grande Inter.
Overall I think we have had a good mercato. You have to be realistic we where never going to sign Lucas or Lavezzi for the figures mentioned and I was frustrated with the time we wasted on those two. Even if we did have that money spending it on one player in year zero is not the way forward. I fully admit there were times I was worried, not signing Poli raised some eyebrows and not going for Veratti for a mere 11 million seemed like a big miss. Destro went for more than we where ever going to spend, but why would be let his full card go in the first place for the sake of a few million. I was starting to think we were going to miss our targets as usual. Branca has not let us down. For the first time since the days of Mourinho the manager has had full support from Branca. I don’t want to go into the past but clearly we never backed the previous managers since the treble winning season. The team looks good. Seems to be a decent blend of youth and experience and apart from Pereira they all know Serie A well and should have no trouble settling in. Mixed in with players returning with more experience such as Coutinho and a settled and adapted Alvarez things are looking good for the Nerazzurri.
So who’s in and who’s out.
Out have gone:
The promising Bardi and Longo have gone out on loan.
Julio was a real legend top professional and a great privilege to watch such a player wear the Inter jersey over the years. Though I will say he was offered the chance to stay for less money so I’m surprised he took the option to leave considering how much he loves the club. Though I believe some sort of deal might have been struck if a move wasn’t made to replace him. Lucio,Maicon and Julio where good deals to lower the wages and the age at the club and I believe they where all smart moves by the club. Memories of world-class performances from both Maicon and Cesar will never be forgotten. Further up the pitch Pazzini and Castaignos didn’t seem willing to fight for a place and the latter refused loan deals so was moved on. I am sorry to see Pazzini go though I don’t think he was ever made to feel to welcome once Leo left. His form was disappointing and you could tell he had lost motivation and the willingness to fight for starting place. I couldn’t believe we didn’t take the option up on Poli, financial issues were supposedly a stumbling block which I don’t understand to be honest. It won’t be long until we regret that decision another young promising Italian left to ply his trade else where.
Samir Handanovic, Goalkeeper – Udinese – Part of the deal that saw Faraoni head the other way. Obviously this move signalled the end of Julio Cesar time as Inter’s No:1. A great move by Inter younger and cheaper. Samir is a quality goalkeeper teams like Man Utd were after him not so long ago. A talented keeper who has got an eye for saving penalties. Many big years ahead for Samir don’t be surprised if one day he will become one of the all time great Inter goalkeepers just like Cesar.
Matias Silvestre, Central defender – Palermo – Initially a loan to buy clause. A decent centre back that knows the league well. Plenty of experience and was highly rated at Catania and Palermo. His time to step up another level.
, Left back – Porto – Not seen him play but from what I have read he is a talented full back. An area I was really hoping for a new signing as I don’t believe Nagatomo is good enough week in week out. So Pereira should fill that gap better at defending and more of a threat going forward.
Walter Gargano, Centre Midfielder – Napoli – Another loan with a view to buy clause. Gargano is a decent midfielder, hard working team player. According to the stats he has a pass completion rate of around 80 percent which is better than what I thought. My only issue is I thought we lacked a holding midfielder and I doubt that’s the position for him. Otherwise certainly a decent player to add to the ranks.
Gaby Mudingayi – Centre Midfielder – Bologna – Reportedly we have payed 750k now and another 750k at the end of the season. For what we have payed I don’t think we can complain. Is he going to sell shirts? No, is he going to light up the Guiseppe Meazza? No but what we will add is tough tackling and hard work to the midfield. Versatility is key when competing for titles and there will be games when a player like Gaby is required. More points will be won with the versatility added to the side.
Rodrigo Palacio – Forward- Genoa – Around 11 million spent on a player we have been chasing for a while. Again another player that’s brought some attributes and quality we didn’t have enough of before. A team player with the ability to find the back of net and set up others. Palacio had a really good Pre season and I look forward to watching him this season.
Antonio Cassano – Forward – AC Milan – free as part of the Pazzini deal. Finally Cassano has arrived. I have waited a long time for this moment. I am a huge fan of Cassano and I love watching him play and I was gutted when he signed for Milan. Cassano is capable of getting double figures in goals an assists. A real magician on the field. His touches,movement,creativity and finishing is outstanding. If it was not for his attitude in the past I truly believe he would have been a world-wide footballing legend.
Last season Wes said ” we have stars and some good youngsters but nothing in between”
The moves in the mercato have added some qualities that we were lacking as a squad. We now have relatively complete squad, leaving Strama with several available formations and tactical variations which the team has lacked for a few years. There are rumours of Paulinho arriving in January which would take up the holding midfielder role.” Though I understand the need for Longo to get first team football with the Europa league and Coppa Italia I would have like to have given him a chance. Is there a manager better than Strama out there to help Longo grow?
Let’s not forget some players have been promoted from our successful Primivera side such as Cincilla, Mbaye, Bianchetti, Benassi, Duncan, Romano and Livaja. Some others have returned from valuable loan experience such as Belec, Johnathan and Coutinho. How much time the promoted players will get is yet to be seen but with an extended bench capacity some valuable minutes can be gained.
According to the Gazzeta Dello Sport say the deal is done for Paulinho to be coming to Inter in January after the Club World Cup. I don’t know much about for him. All I know is he’s the holding midfielder we miss and he’s meant to be a talent.
All in all our wages were a reported 170 million and now sit at 140 million euros and considering two years ago it was sitting at an unhealthy 200 million. So a competitive squad that cost a lot less than previous Inter sides.
My first 11 in a 4-3-2-1 and a 4-2-3-1
What to expect this season
Our aim must be Champions League qualification. Financially we need that income to help strengthen the side next summer. I believe we can challenge for the Scudetto but it won’t be easy. Challenging for the top three I believe are obviously our good selves and Juve,Roma,Milan and Napoli. It’s definitely going to be an exciting season.
As Inter fans we have to be patient let’s not expect miracles. The club has a plan we are heading in the right direction. It the current financial state football is in (except a few) we are going somewhere. We will lose some games we shouldn’t, some players will have bad games but let’s get behind our team give them our full support. Let’s not forget how much Moratti loves this club and wants to bring success to the Nerazzurri. We are fortunate to have such an owner and we shouldn’t forget it.
In a few years when we are lifting the Champions League again and parading it around the Stadio Facchetti we will look back on the 2012/2013 and say that was the year our journey began.
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Posted on September 3, 2012, in InterFamily, Serie A, Transfers and tagged Cassano, Football, Gargano, Handanovic, Inter, Moratti, Mudingayi, Nerazzurri, Palacio, Pereira, Silvestre, Stramaccioni. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.