It was an extremely hot summer at the Viale della Liberazione. Saying that Inter had an eventful calciomercato would be a major understatement. In fact, Nerazzurri CEO Giuseppe Marotta and sporting director Piero Ausilio orchestrated a major squad revamp, partially prompted by the club’s dire need to balance the books and register capital gains.
Therefore, the top brass was hellbent on making a profit during the summer without jeopardizing the quality of the men at Simone Inzaghi’s disposal. So did the Inter directors succeed in this daunting mission?
Let’s analyze the club’s playing departments while comparing this season’s personnel to last term’s before reaching a general conclusion.
In: Yann Sommer, Emil Audero, Raffaele Di Gennaro
Out: André Onana, Samir Handanovic, Alex Cordaz
This may well be a rare occurrence at the top level, but Inter replaced all of their three senior-squad goalkeepers with a fresh trio.
The Beneamata made a hefty windfall by selling André Onana to Manchester United for circa 55 million euros just 12 months after securing his services on a free transfer. Nevertheless, parting ways with the Cameroonian has deprived the club of one of the best shot-stoppers in the world, one who proved to be a substantial piece in Inzaghi’s game plan.
For his part, legendary captain Samir Handanovic is undeniably over the hill, yet, his presence in the locker room will be dearly missed.
Therefore, Yann Sommer has some major gloves to fill. Nonetheless, the Swiss has proven to be a reliable custodian throughout his course despite his relatively small frame. The 34-year-old has the required standards and experience, and is yet to concede a goal after three Serie A appearances. As for Emil Audero, he’s not a bad choice at all for a second-fiddle role.
However, one can’t help but feel that this department has regressed compared to last term.
In: Benjamin Pavard, Yann Bisseck
Out: Milan Skriniar, Danilo D’Ambrosio
After losing the services of Milan Skriniar, Inter spent their transfer market session searching for a new defender capable of playing on the right side of Inzaghi’s three-man defense.
Had the Nerazzurri signed a Premier League benchwarmer like Japhet Tanganga or Trevoh Chalobah (players who were reportedly on their radars), the verdict who have been straightforward, as these players would be obvious downgrades on Skriniar.
But by the end of the summer, Marotta pulled an unexpected coup out his sleeve, sealing the signature of 2018 World Cup winner Benjamin Pavard from Bayern Munich, even if he had to overpay for a player who would have been a free agent by the end of the season.
The Frenchman might just be the ideal fit in this department. At the age of 27, he still has many good years ahead of him but has already collected valuable experience at the highest level. His versatility also renders him quintessentially suitable for the right centre-back role.
On another note, a young Yann Bisseck replaced an aging Danilo D’Ambrosio. Moreover. Matteo Darmian is proving to be a great addition to the defensive department. The former Man Utd player is originally a wingback but has been valiantly covering in a deeper role since Skriniar’s injury last season.
Verdict: Slightly Stronger
In: Juan Cuadrado, Carlos Augusto
Out: Raoul Bellanova, Robin Gosens
In Inzaghi’s tactical system, it’s momentous to have quality depth on the flanks. The wingback role is highly demanding both from technical and physical standpoints, as these men are expected to trot up and down the lane and offer their contributions on both ends of the pitch.
So luckily for the Inter manager, the hierarchy provided him with a superb addition on each side during the transfer session. While he may not be the most popular figure amongst Nerazzurri supporters, Juan Cuadrado is undoubtedly an upgrade on Raoul Bellanova.
For his part, Robin Gosens remains an undeniably solid left-back, but for several reasons, it just didn’t work out for him at Appiano Gentile. So the management offloaded the German and replaced him with the younger Carlos Augusto who was one of the best Serie A revelations from last season.
Although the two newcomers are currently serving as backups for Denzel Dumfries and Federico Dimarco, their contributions will surely be valuable.
In: Davide Frattesi, Davy Klaassen, Stefano Sensi (Returns from loan stint)
Out: Marcelo Brozovic, Roberto Gagliardini
While most fans were happy to see the back of the vastly-disappointing Roberto Gagliardini, many deemed the departure of Marcelo Brozovic as a significant blow to the midfield department. The Croatian was arguably the best deep-lying playmaker in Serie A over the past few years – although recurring injury problems marred his previous campaign.
So despite bringing in the experienced Davy Klaassen and the up-and-coming Davide Frattesi, replacing Brozovic’s quality touch and vision remains a daunting task. Luckily for the club. Hakan Calhanoglu has done an admirable job in this sense, transforming himself into a Regista.
But if a certain injury denies the club of the Turk’s services, Inzaghi will have an enormous dilemma, as the only natural replacement he has in this position is the young Kristjan Asllani whom the manager was reluctant to trust last season.
But aside from the Regista knot, this department looks as formidable as ever.
In: Marcus Thuram, Marko Arnautovic, Alexis Sanchez
Out: Edin Dzeko, Romelu Lukaku, Joaquin Correa
Here’s another department that Inter revamped during the transfer market session. Three new strikers have arrived to replace the departing trio, as newly-appointed captain Lautaro Martinez is the only survivor.
Even though two of the new signings are 34 years of age, Marko Arnautovic and Alexis Sanchez make for decent stop-gaps in a summer where the Nerazzurri struggled to lure more expensive strikers, bouncing between one target to another while failing to make noteworthy breakthroughs.
Furthermore. Marcus Thuram has already presented himself as a brilliant signing and is already building a good understanding with Lautaro.
As for the outgoings, Joaquin Correa will be hardly missed while Edin Dzeko’s departure felt right given he’s 36. Besides all the controversy, Inter could yearn for Romelu Lukaku’s unparalleled physical presence at some point, but the Belgian hasn’t delivered solid displays on a consistent basis since the 2020/21 season.
Outcome: Slightly Stronger
Inter may have lost the services of several key players during the summer transfer market. However, the management did well to replace most of them with equally competent stars, if not upgrades.
The biggest two concerns are certainly the departures of Onana and Brozovic. Nonetheless, Sommer is no slouch between the sticks, and as long as Calhanoglu is fit, Inzaghi has a formidable Regista at his disposal.
So with additional quality and depth in most departments, the Nerazzurri should be even stronger than last season and perfectly equipped to clinch the Scudetto title that eluded Inzaghi on his first two attempts and subsequently place a second golden star above the club’s crest.
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