ESPN Soccernet - Correspondents - FC Inter Milan
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FC Inter Milan
Posted by Gianni Serra on 09/01/2011

It seemed longer than usual but even this transfer market has finally closed. For Inter everything revolved around Gasperini's arrival and Eto'o's departure. Having sold their best player to Anzhi Makhachkala, Inter tried to compensate this huge loss with two signings - Diego Forlan and Mauro Zarate. It's quite intriguing to see how they'll fit in Gasperini's trident with Milito and/or Pazzini.

This is also the season that should establish the real value of Ranocchia, Coutinho and Obi. But the players who will decide Inter's fate are still the ones from the old guard - Julio Cesar, Maicon, Samuel, Lucio, Zanetti, Cambiasso, Sneijder, Milito.

A quick review of Inter's main signings and departures.

Giampiero Gasperini (Coach). The former Genoa's coach replaced Leonardo. A shrewd tactician, very competent, with gentle manners and very strong views. Since the very first day in charge he has been trying to reshape Inter to fit in his beloved 3-4-3 formation. His football knowledge is not questionable, quite more arguable his ability to motivate players of Inter calibre. He must be an instant hit otherwise he risks to be sacked earlier than Benitez.

Diego Forlan (Forward). Only one year ago the Uruguayan was arguably the best striker in Europe. The guy who needed 27 games to score his first goal for Manchester United, showed his real nature at Atletico Madrid. His goals led Colchoneros to win the Europa League and the Uefa Super Cup. Last season, despite the triumph in Copa America with the National team, Forlan wasn't as brilliant as the previous year. His scoring rate in the last three seasons is constantly downhill: 35 goals in 2008-09, 28 in 2009-10, 10 in 2010-11. At 32 he can be still lethal and very useful but the strong impression is that his best days are already behind him.

Mauro Zarate (Forward). Arrived on loan from Lazio, the 24-year Argentinian forward can play wide or as a lone striker. Zarate gives an extra-dimension to Inter's attacking options. At Lazio many fans adored him, many others labelled him as a troublemaker. He's certainly a natural goal-scorer, who has equal chances to become the biggest surprise or the most useless among the new recruits.

Ricardo Alvarez (Midfielder). A huge question mark lies over this 23-year mercurial Argentinian. Bought as a quality alternative to Wesley Sneijder, at the moment he looks still too shy to dictate the rhythm of play in Europe. Introduced as 'the new Ricky Kakà', he will have to do his best to avoid being remembered as 'a new Sebastián Rambert'.

Luc Castaignos (Forward). The 19-year Dutch is versatile enough to play anywhere in attack. He's supposed to gain experience in this first season at Inter, but his self confidence is so evident that you can bet he won't go unnoticed.

Jonathan (Fullback). Maicon's deputy needs to learn the trade very well before being picked in the starting eleven for important games.

Andrea Poli (Sampdoria). A very versatile midfielder. Good vision, great work rate. An underrated move that is likely to turn out genial.

Samuel Eto'o (Forward). Inter lost the best striker in the World. The Cameroon skipper said he didn't choose to go to Anzhi Makhachkala 'for money reasons but to try himself in a new exciting adventure'. Ridiculous words to hide the three-year contract for €20.5 million a season still shining in his eyes. Already one game one goal in Russia too.

Davide Santon (Fullback). Gasperini shared Mourinho, Benitez and Leonardo's views: the guy is lost and was probably overrated after his performance against Cristiano Ronaldo in an epic Champions League clash. Sold to Newcastle United.

Goran Pandev (Forward). He said no to Genoa but agreed enthusiastically to join Napoli, where he can recapture the form he showed with Lazio.

Marco Materazzi (Centreback). He left. The best thing done in the last three years. A huge thanks from Nerazzurri fans - not only for the memories.

Jonathan (Santos)
Ricardo Álvarez (Vélez)
Yuto Nagatomo (Cesena)
Emiliano Viviano (Bologna)
Andrés Oña (Independiente)
Luc Castaignos (Feyenoord)
Diego Forlán (Atlético Madrid)
Andrea Poli (Sampdoria / ON LOAN)
Mauro Zárate (Lazio / ON LOAN)
Sebastian Carlsen (Helsingborg IF / back from loan)
Paolo Tornaghi (Como / back from loan)
Luca Caldirola (Vitesse / back from loan)
Davide Santon (Newcastle)
Samuel Eto'o (Anzhi)
Kerlon (Nacional-MG)
Marko Livaja (Cesena)
Goran Pandev (Napoli)
David Suazo (Catania)
Gianluca Litteri (Ternana)
Nwankwo Obiora (Parma)
Victor Obinna (Lokomotiv Moscow)
Nelson Rivas
Marco Materazzi
McDonald Mariga (Real Sociedad / ON LOAN)
Andrea Mei (VVV-Venlo / ON LOAN)
Enrico Alfonso (Cremonese / ON LOAN)
Riccardo Bocalon (Cremonese / ON LOAN)
Giulio Donati (Padova / ON LOAN)
Alberto Gerbo (Gubbio / ON LOAN)
Michele Rigione (Cremonese / ON LOAN)
Antonio Esposito (Piacenza / ON LOAN)
Denis Alibec (KV Mechelen / ON LOAN)
Jacopo Fortunato (SPAL / ON LOAN)
Samuele Beretta (AC Cuneo 1905 / ON LOAN)
Luca Siligardi (AS Livorno)
Luca Tremolada (AC Pisa / ON LOAN)
Dennis Esposito (Calcio Lecco 1912 / ON LOAN)
Andrés Oña (Independiente / ON LOAN)

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Posted by Aiyaz H. (DC Nerazzurri) on 08/31/2011

Great synopsis, Gianni. I think Mariga is also out, off to Real Sociedad.

I'm pretty satisfied with the acquisitions. I think Forlán is as capable a substitute for Eto'o as we could find. The two-year deal provides a hedge against his age (32). Two questions come to mind with what Ausilio/Branca have pulled off:

1. Why no center-backs signed? I hope we have faith in the youngsters, because given Ranocchia's repeated errors/bad judgment and Samuel's age/knee surgery from last November, one would think it'd be a huge concern.

2. How will the glut of trequartistas do in a base 3-4-3 system with two wide forwards? How will they be integrated.

Hopefully Gasp will come up with some answers as the season progresses. Forza Inter!

Posted by Adeola on 09/01/2011

Ricardo alveres bad move to inter istead of arsenal

Posted by ezfulus on 09/01/2011

lol as usual, there's gotta be one typical 'wish he had joined us' comment from an arsenal fan like in every news..and in this case blog post. come on dudes!

Posted by Sia on 09/01/2011

Bravo Gianni,

Very nice break down of transfer market, I think for the money spent Inter has done superb with the transfer market.

Lastly I hope Idiot fans from other teams Like Arsenal, Milan and Juve stay out of Inter Blog, because first and most importantly they have nothing to offer (lack of intelligent) and all they write is pretty much whining about nothing that matters.


Posted by bernard on 09/01/2011

i love inter milan and am very happi with the kind of players puschased this summer.

Posted by Bellal A. on 09/01/2011

I am happy to see Inter at the end of the transfer season surprising us, i would hav prefered another centerback, does anyone know if Gasperini is going to promote any youth team defenders to the first team?

Posted by Angel on 09/01/2011

Loosing Samuel Eto'o was a huge loss to inter,and it will be interesting to see Forlan back in action after his issues with injuries. Both Forlan and Milito have had a bad season last year, and hopefully they will produce and bring back joy to all inter fans.

My only concern is that inter did not buy strong defenders in this summer market. Inter will be in trouble with Rannochia in center back.

I hope this season inter can improve, and bring back the quality and passion we all love to see on the field. Forza Inter!

Posted by Robbie on 09/01/2011

#Bellal A. #Aiyaz.H

Re: the centreback issue, I believe the intention of the management is that Luca Caldirola will be in the first team this year. He did well on loan at Vitesse in Holland last season and is an up and coming talent.

Posted by Robbie on 09/01/2011

I dont know with all the negativity around Ranocchia, he made a few mistakes true but he's quite young as centre backs go and he's done much better this season, he was one of the standout players against Milan in the Supercoppa for example (I was there in Beijing to see it) and wasnt at fault for any goals in preseason friendlies. Lets hope he can carry on the good work.

Posted by Ronnie on 09/02/2011

I too agree that Inter seriously need to beef up their central defence..

Its great to raise some young talents but honestly, you don't expect to play them all season long..

The great defenders e.g Samuel and Lucio are all of age..

They should sign someone like Demchelis or Chiellini..

Posted by Anonymous on 09/02/2011

you have to release sneijder to man utd

Posted by rudolf on 09/02/2011

@Ronnie Don't know about Demi but Chiellini surely had his worst performance ever last season.

I still regret Tevez didn't come to Inter. His form and work rate will settle quickly to Gasperini tactics.

Posted by Sam on 09/02/2011

An interesting analysis and some interesting comments on here about Inters transfers. I have particularly noticed a few people worrying about the lack of any defensive signings. I think we all must remember that a) we will probably play a three man defence and b) that we have a lot of defenders already. We have Chivu, Rannochia, Cordoba, Lucio,Samuel and possibly Cadirola who can all cover a central def position in a 4 man defence whilst you can add Zanetti to that list for a three man def. So there was no point bringing in another young defender AND keep all the old defenders.
Personally I like the look of the team. It still has a team in transition feel about it but it looks like it is headed in the right direction. We have some good youth players in the squad plus some excellent prospects in the youth teams and on loan. For me we just need to get a consistant playing format for the club. If you look at the most consistent teams in Europe you notice that most have a continuity.....

Posted by sam on 09/02/2011

in either their management (Man U) or in their style of play or philosophy (Barcalona). This allows them to a) develop a successful youth program as players are bought up playing the same style as the first team and can seamlessly graduate into the top ranks, giving the club a higher percentage of successful youth recruits. b) make scouting players easier as players can be looked at years in advance for personalities that match those of the club, lowering the risk of bad transfers and c) make the choices of coach easier as the club will have a recognised playing philosophy which any incoming manager must agree to adhere to.
Inter is too unsettled in this respect. We change coaches so much that youth players have trouble adapting to the changing style of the first team. We often have a scattergun approach to transfers as each coach have different requirements and it goes on.
We have the squad and the youth, all we need is the environment around them that allows them to flourish.

Posted by Shello on 09/02/2011

Hello to all my nerazzuri brothers, the market wasn't bad could have been better with a marquee signing but none the less i am behind inter 100%. I think some of you are being a lil to hard on rannochia,,i think he is very talented and young so he has a long way to go,,i think chivu is past his time a CB and yet gasper persists to start with him. Is anyone else annoyed by his 3-4-3 formation? I think this inter team needs to be built around the trequartista(snieder mainly), 2 fowards, 2 wide MF, 1 treq, 1CDM, 2 fullbacks and 2 CB. We have the talent for those positions plus people coming of the bench to fill these roles to cater for the long season to ensure no injuries. I really hope he scraps that 3-4-3 formation as soon as possible. On a good note i am looking foward to good things from: castaingnos, couthino, alvarez, and zarate. Everyone else has the experience to guide these youngsters,,i think we will be a surprise this year as long as we play a better formation. Forza Inter!!!

Posted by Tony on 09/03/2011

Some great comments posted here. We all have hopes for continued Inter prosperity given their evolving makeover. I wish they had foubd a way to keep Santon, as he is Italian afterall. One transfer not mentioned is the signing of a young (16yrs old)player many are comparing to Baggio. He is years away from stepping up to 1st team play but its nice to know we got him. As the seson unfolds I am going to be a realist and hope and pray we finish in the top 3 so that we can play CL in 2012.

Posted by Jonathan on 09/04/2011

I still think Davide Santon has great potential and should be give more chance. He was sublime against CR7. Roma should have gotten him instead of Newcastle

Posted by Austin on 09/04/2011

@ Jonathan

I agree with you on the raw talent of Davide Santon, however I think that game against Ronaldo did more to make him overconfident than a better player. He never really played again after that match and I think most of it had to do with attitude. Up until that point he seemed to be the future left back of Inter but I think he got so cocky that he had just stopped one of the best attacking midfielders in the world that he immediately thought he was the best. (Basically he became a Bendtner lol).

I'm glad he left to Newcastle. I wish him the best, and think if he can get his head right he will be a great player - but it wasn't going to happen at Inter and I think we're better off without him.

Posted by Gianni - UPDATE on 09/05/2011

Aiyaz's comment about Mariga loan to Real Sociedad made me think that maybe could be useful for you to read the overall list of ins and outs. So I put it below the original post.
As regards the trequartista dilemma (even Shello talked about it), I think Gasperini is looking to use Sneijder in a deeper position, the one Milanetto used to cover at Genoa. The lack of young centrebacks will be an issue if the whole old guard falls down all together. I don't think so.
And I think Sam is totally right about Inter's inability to program and define their own style. Every year back to square one. And that's why there is no chance for Inter to start a dynasty in Europe...
@ Rudolf. I agree about Tevez. His habit of chasing defenders would have helped to compensate Eto'o's departure.

Posted by Anonymous on 09/05/2011

forza inter,

yes disappointed that eto left but delighte to see forlan and zarate come on board. the best move inter made was to keep schneider.
i think that we will do well this year. the priority should be getting back the scudetto. we were so close last year. we have depth and experience. milito looks good and he has scored regularly on the pre-season. i think CL is going to go to Barac again but we can challenge and go far. lets believe. forza interisti

Posted by Connor on 09/07/2011

Big loss of Eto'o, Santon.. Santon was a great fullback and yes he was big headed but let's all face it. what great footballer isn't? I think Jonathan was a stupid buy, we already had Nagatomo AND Santon.. Tevez would be stupid, he'd just ask for even more money then Eto'o was earning and just so he could whine and complain about being too far away from home in one years time.
Gasperini's beloved 3-4-3 formation could be the death of us completely. Pre season was not convincing enough and if the formation fails, Gasp NEEDS to see that Inter are more suited with 4 in the back, and a CDM/CAM. I hope Gasp realizes this before it's too late, for the sake of Inter's reputation and his reputation as a manager.

Posted by Austin on 09/08/2011

@ Connor

I believe Jonathan plays out right, whereas Santon and Nagatomo play left. The thought process being that Jonathan is a long term replacement for the aging (and god did it show at times last year) Maicon.

The one thing I will say about the prospect of Tevez is this: despite the fact that he whines, moans and would have wanted a pretty large salary - he is a workhorse. He chases the ball around like few forwards I've seen and puts the work rate of a certain Swedish forward we've had the pleasure of watching in the past to shame. I find it amusing that so many city supporters seem to ignore how hard he works on the field because of his tabloid escapades. We would have been lucky to have him and hopefully Zarate or Pazzini will chase the ball around in the final third - Forlan and Milito are more target men than terriers.

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