This is a fairly long post, as is its continuation in part 2.
If you don’t want to read an essay on player selection, just go to Part 2, because formations are really more important and it’s much shorter.
I’ve divided this writeup into 4 predictable sections: goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders, and attackers. Feel free to just skip to any of the sections themselves.
I am pretty new to this forum, which can be easily pointed out by my join date, so I hope not to incur the wrath of this community and experience it in all its brutality at such a tender age. Please be kind in your responses.
This two part series is basically going to be about who should leave, who should stay, and the possible formations with the current set of players. It'll also highlight positions that we need to fill, and will hopefully be a good piece of commentary regarding our squad. In Part Two there'll be some analysis regarding the formations we could use with the squad.
Before I go into the post, I want to stress that this plan prioritizes youth significantly, because such a mentality is crucial to the rebirth of a new generation of silverware for Inter.
Alright, let’s begin.
Handanovic is doing a great job. Lets all be honest here; he's dealt with some very poor defensive strategies that have almost always resulted in a legendary save. He'll be at our club for the foreseeable future.
That is to say, we need a strong backup. Someone that is able to go on the field and deliver a top performance for perhaps a Coppa Italia game or a qualifier for the Champions/Europa League. Also, another club (namely Barca) may steal him away, so we need someone to be able to fill his place.
Castellazzi or Carrizo are in no way comparable to Handanovic; they're old and very injury prone, additionally not possessing the best technique. Castellazzi should be let go immediately; considering Carrizo’s meager salary, on the other hand, he can be the third or fourth goalkeeper because it is important to also realize that we need present 3 permanent backup goalkeepers.
Belec has far too little experience in Serie A, and requires a loan to a team in the lower half of the standings, such as Parma or Chievo. He has a very bright future, but isn't getting chances to prove his worth in a professional league.
Bardi should stay in Novara next year because he's doing well and developing brilliantly, having retained a starting spot on the Italy national u-21 team. Of course, when Handa starts to decline (in approx. 5 years), we can bring him back to Inter to play.
Next season, however, I'd say we should get a loan for a young talented goalkeeper in the league that has shown moments of mastery this year with his team as our second goalkeeper. Mattia Perin would be imho a wonderful one year transfer, and easily negotiable because his parent club is Genoa, which, as most of you may know, has a very strong relationship with Inter. It's also worth pointing out his performances vs Fiorentina in particular, where his saves sealed a 2-0 victory for Pescara. If Perin delivers extraordinarily well next year, assuming he joins Inter this summer, we can value him versus Bardi for the starting spot once Handa declines.
Rafaelle Di Gennaro needs to be loaned out next year to a lower Serie A club as well, perhaps to a promoted Serie B team; he is very talented but has remained untested this year.
Simply put, Di Gennaro needs minutes. If however, he proves that he can play professionally as well as he did with the Primavera, we can sell Perin, and then bring Di Gennaro back for a return to Inter as a backup. In the years to come, when Handanovic declines or is sold, we could end up selling Di Gennaro or Bardi to cash in if they both prove to be capable keepers (Inter has a lot of backups).
The current Primavera goalkeeper Raffaele Dalle Vedove could train next year with the first team while playing with the Primavera, maybe starting some matches particularly when Handanovic is rested. He will become our third goalkeeper because of the abundance of possible starters.
Next season it would be nice to see a goalkeeping roster like:
3. Dalle Vedove
When Handanovic declines, we could see something like:
2. Di Gennaro
3. Dalle Vedove or another goalkeeper if we eventually sell him
Or alternatively if Bardi is a flop:
1. Di Gennaro
3. Dalle Vedove or another goalkeeper if we eventually sell him
Of course Perin could be the starting goalkeeper in this roster depending on how Di Gennaro plays.
And finally when either Perin and Bardi/Di Gennaro are sold:
1. Bardi/Di Gennaro
3. Dalle Vedove or another goalkeeper if we eventually sell him
This roster assumes that Belec is better than Dalle Vedove at this point; if not, then their positions would be switched.
Belec could also eventually leave for some starting action; if he does, we’ll go with the third potential roster, but I think that regardless the third is the strongest roster.
Belec can fill the role of the backup goalkeeper in the future, able to go onto the field any time and deliver. Of course, we could sell Belec and then keep Dalle Vedove as the second goalkeeper in the fourth potential roster, which seems like the more likely roster out of all the four.
Many of these potential rosters have multiple talented goalkeepers; it’s important that in the future years Inter properly alternates their goalkeepers between games (with the relative importance of the match the deciding factor in who starts).
That sorts out the goalkeeping selection for many years to come.
Although Zanetti has been typically playing in midfield lately, he should play as a RB/LB substitute. Generally he hasn't been offering the same attacking charisma he gave some years back, playing a mainly defensive game in the midfield, so when Inter wants to focus our resources on the defence, they can substitute an attacking fullback with Zanetti who will purely defend closer to the goal. However, he has just gotten injured with a serious muscular tear, so we need to be prepared for the worst.
We need more fullbacks.
Gino Peruzzi is allegedly coming to Inter, and from what I have seen of his playing in Youtube videos is that he is skilled defensively and a great buy, with many claiming him to be THE successor of our very own Javier Zanetti. I feel he can occupy the rightback position quite well.
Nonetheless, Peruzzi needs to defensively adapt to Serie A and develop his attacking repertoire. Certainly he should be a starter next year though. I'm not concerned about whether or not he'll eventually deliver because he's given some very memorable performances with Velez Sarsfield in Argentina, and I feel he’ll succeed.
Other then Peruzzi, Zanetti and Jonathan can play as a rightback. I already talked about Zanetti’s qualities; Jonathan is quite poor defensively, however playing a very powerful, offensive game. Lately he’s been doing the latter quite well, so I think he should stay. Depending on the formation he may start, but imo for the majority of next year he should be a substitute, only coming onto the field when we need more rigor in the attack, when the coach is willing to sacrifice a part of the defense for the attack.
That being said, there should be a proper backup to Peruzzi; Inter should alternate players from time to time to prevent injuries. Santon is an ideal player for this role, and because Newcastle are on the brink of relegation it wouldn’t be too hard to negotiate.
Nagatomo and Alvaro Pereira have generally occupied the left back position this season. I don’t think we should even talk about Pereira; lets ignore him altogether because he has to leave this club one way or another bearing in mind his appalling performances. Naga, on the other hand, is atrocious defensively speaking; regardless of anything he may provide going forward. He should stay as a substitute in the situation that we want to seriously focus our resources on the attack to try and make a goal in the time remaining in the game, having an opposite role to Zanetti as a RB substitutes in my plan.
We need a left back that is able to defend very well, and can offer something up front; I think M’baye would be able to fill that role in time, especially because he’s only 18. I don’t have a concern with him starting at such a young age, because of the precedent of (e.g.) Jetro Willems of PSV Eindhoven, an 18 years old Dutch left back who’s been starting in most of PSV’s games, even starring in the senior Netherlands national team.
Inter needs to find another capable and left back defensively and offensively balanced that is able to alternate regularly with M’baye; in the time being, if we don’t manage to secure the services of such a player, Nagatomo can fill in that position.
Some suggestions would be Bastian Oczipa of Eintracht Frankfurt or Erik Pieters of PSV. I would really prefer Martin Caceres or Juan Cuadrado but likely Juve and Fiorentina respectively would not be willing to let go.
Cristiano Biraghi will fill the LB role excellently in the 2014/2015 season imo. He’s done very well with Citadella this season, and it’s worth pointing out his performances against Sassuolo, as well as his goal against Manchester City a few years back. Biraghi is, however, still a bit raw. Nevertheless, if we don’t get another LB in the summer mercato, it would be helpful to have him here at Inter next year; in the case that he barely plays in the first half of the season, then we can simply loan him out to a team in the lower half of the Serie A standings for the rest of the year.
Realistically, the best option is to just get a strong LB on loan, and let Biraghi develop next season in perhaps a newly promoted team. Andrea Bandini (LB), current captain of the primavera, can also occasionally star in the first team for certain matches in namely Coppa Italia and Serie A games as a substitute while continuing to be a part of the u-19 squad.
Our last game against Palermo should be the final piece of proof that Matias Silvestre is a terrible defender. Inter MUST abandon the supposed gentlemen’s agreement, and remember when we were cruelly denied the services of Argentine sensation Javier Pastore at the hands of Zamparini. He really cannot stay.
If he does… :fu:
Ranocchia and Juan Jesus are clearly talented players, despite some of Rano’s questionable performances of late. Especially in the first half of the season, they delivered quite well together. Both of them have the capacity to be world class CBs.
Competition from Campagnaro and Andreolli, both coming to the San Siro next year, will only make Rano and JJ motivated to train and work harder. Campa and Andreolli are also very strong backups, giving Inter the option to alternate defenders between Coppa Italia and Serie A matches to prevent injuries.
Now, let’s talk about the rest of our defenders. Chivu and Samuel are both old, and while El Muro still can give a solid performance, he’s much more injury prone and inconsistent due to his age. Also, Chivu’s salary is outrageous considering how he’s played lately. In the spirit of the youth project, should we really be playing Samuel when we can give that starting spot to a younger player with more potential? The answer hurts but it’s frankly quite obvious.
While some of the readers will think that Alvaro Pereira hasn’t still fulfilled his potential, we need to be honest and realistic. Mauro Zarate certainly didn’t fill his potential for the majority of last year, and yet we kicked him out because he simply wasn’t consistent. Pereira is only consistent in his current mediocrity; I’m indifferent to whether or not he stays, but he certainly shouldn’t be starting. Imho he should just leave.
With all this offloading, it’s clear that Inter will need more center backs. I would personally suggest recalling Bianchetti and Rigione from loans to be able to fill in for any injured or suspended defenders next year. In fact, the latter is 23, which is quite an old age to be on a development loan.
Ricardo Alvarez should stay. He was always destined to be a late bloomer, and it is highly probable that his form will only get better from here. Clearly he should be played in an advanced position like in our games against Atalanta and Roma where Alvarez scored and contributed greatly to our play.
Cambiasso shouldn’t play at this point. A lot of people have pointed out how he hasn’t been looking the same since the treble clearly because of his current mindset, and I couldn’t agree more. We should bring back Crisetig and Duncan, both DMs (with different respective styles), who together can fill the void left by his absence from the starting lineups. Regardless of his legendary qualities and the occasional demonstration of pure defensive skill and football intelligence, we need to move on because when a player isn’t confident and eager to play, he simply won’t play. Also the importance of prioritizing the youth initiative is a very powerful argument to this decision.
Obviously Kovacic stays; he MUST start more. Same goes with Benassi. However, I think that youngsters like Simone Pasa and Niccola Belloni should be loaned out to Serie B in the January mercato depending on the minutes they receive as part of the first team and their overall performances in the first half of the season.
Stankovic has a massive salary and yet he barely is on the pitch; his time at Inter has ended, and perhaps has been prolonged by a year. He’s had 3 appearances this season, all of which certainly don’t merit his paycheck.
Ezequiel Schelotto is not Inter material. His technical abilities amount to zero and he has very little football intelligence, as well as potential for that matter. Additionally he’s incredibly undisciplined, as evidenced by his fights against Catania and Atalanta. Even though he may be passionate about the Nerazzurri, his mentality clearly demonstrates that he doesn’t understand or uphold the responsibility and the honor of wearing the Inter shirt. This transfer was absolutely atrocious (of course still incomparable to Silvestre’s).
I don’t know what to think of Obi; a couple of years ago I was excited to see how he’d bloom and held sufficiently high expectations for his future, but the stark reality has been that he has an injury problem, likely sustained from an earlier injury that will hinder his playing career entirely. We should really sell him especially because we have many other midfield players in his position that currently have much more potential and are free of the plague of injuries that sadly clouds Obi.
Gaby Mudingayi hasn’t proven why we should buy his rights from Bologna, and imho he should definitely be sold in the summer mercato. It was even a move counter to the youth project development because he was 31 years old when we opted to get a loan for his services.
Macdonald Mariga should be sold back to Parma immediately; his transfer was a really blatant flop, and I’m surprised that we haven’t done it earlier.
Even though we purchased Kuzmanovic this January, frankly his performances have been lackluster, and considering he’s a CDM, honestly his defending has been quite dreadful. However, it is important to consider that he may be a necessary presence as a substitute, so I have to say that I am personally indifferent to his presence in the team.
A major problem with this revamping of the midfield is that it places quite a lot of responsibility on younger players and assumes their ability to play at the highest level of football.
However, it is important for them to gain Serie A experience, and they’ve proven themselves at the Primavera level and for some at the professional level as well. Again, Inter needs major changes that will allow us to be challenging for Europe and the league in two years.
One thing the young players have is very strong passing ability, which is crucial because it can retain possession to develop an attack.
Fredy Guarin has exceptional technical ability but it is often squandered by a highly selfish playing style that was only consistently delivering results in the earlier stages of the season, with it currently always culminating in a spectacular loss of possession. He’s adopted the classic Robben style of playing, where you dribble a couple of players and make a terrible shot at goal that misses by a longshot. If he manages to pass the ball more and incorporate himself into a team, then I’m sure he’ll really do well here at Inter.
Personally, again I’m indifferent to his presence, and I really don’t think he should start matches, although, like Kuzmanovic, he may be a necessary presence as a substitute (considering potential injuries and suspensions).
Daniel Bessa must return from loan at Vicenza to be one of our starting attacking midfielders, and he has the skills to really succeed at Inter if we use him properly and don’t lose yet another young talent (like Seedorf, Pirlo, Balotelli, and Coutinho). How we should use him (in my opinion) will come in Part 2 .
I would, nevertheless, strongly prefer Bessa or Alvarez as attacking midfielders over Guarin because of their higher tendency to integrate themselves into the Inter collective through proper passing.
Walter Gargano has not really shown why we should purchase him for 5.25 euro; he frequently loses possession and his passing is horrific. Imho the deal just isn’t worth it, and frankly it would be better to give his position as a destroyer to a younger player, considering he’s in his late 20s. He should be returned in the summer to Napoli.
Diego Laxalt from Defensor Sporting in Uruguay should play in both the Primavera and the first team ala Bandini and Garritano (as a substitute) to gain a preliminary amount of experience in Europe. I don’t think he’ll be ready as a starter next season or the year after, but I may be wrong (hopefully ).
Ruben Botta is an excellent purchase by Inter, and considering it’s a free transfer, we have absolutely nothing to lose. Also, he’s a valuable attacking asset and has been valued by his coach at Tigre as the greatest player in the entire history of the club, which exactly isn’t a modest compliment to make.
For attacking wingers we have Alvarez and Botta; however, the latter hasn’t been proven to be ready for the challenges in Italian football and he’s just sustained a six-month injury, so we need to be prepared without him in the beginning of the season. I think Botta shouldn’t be a starter but a frequent substitute, so that he can gain the experience next season for him to excel as a starter the year after. We need, however, another winger mainly based on the left side of the pitch. Alejandro Gomez, a Catania player we have been following for two years, is the ideal player for this position. He has brilliant footwork, passing, and shooting skills, truly the reason why Catania has been challenging for Europe this season. He is certainly worth the pricetag.
Rocchi should leave as soon as possible imho. It's much better to have a younger, less experienced player on the pitch rather than an incredibly injury one. Additionally, its not like he's playing sensationally, that he's proving his worth as a long term starter for the team with the way he’s playing right now, and it is given that he will leave either this year or the next.
Milito was planning to sign for Racing Club in Argentina in the summer if he hadn’t attained the season ending injury against Cluj in March; if he stays, he won’t be playing with as much enthusiasm or passion for the jersey next season because of a longing to return to his homeland. Also, remember that next season he’ll be 34, which is pretty darn old for a striker, and coupled with his high salary, the verdict sways in favor of releasing Il Principe.
Antonio Cassano is a very interesting case; he has blatant disciplinary issues, coupled with a very poor fitness regiment, and yet he has clear talent. However, in the construction of a new Inter, we have to get players fully committed to the jersey, that honor the jersey WITH discipline and a Zanetti-like mentality, and additionally who stretch and train often, because it seems like we have fitness problems. Though he claims he was a fan of the Nerazzurri as a child, he's awfully uncommitted. If there is a major change in his attitude, then he should definitely stay, but sadly, I just don't see that happening.
Now let’s get to the jewel of Boca Juniors: Rodrigo Palacio. He’s been in amazing form this season, having surpassed the 20 goal mark, which is no easy task for a striker especially in Serie A.
But the fact is that he’s thirty years old and only getting older, which puts him at much more risk for injuries. He should get much less playing time, and preferably should start only in formations demanding versatility from a lone striker; regardless of his original position as a secondary striker, he can also do very well as a central striker. I feel he will be a key player in the future, but primarily as a substitute.
I cannot make clearer that Inter needs to really alternate all the players, from the goalkeepers to the attackers. We have to try and outsmart the injury plagues we have received that crippled our season from definite CL football and a rivalry with Juventus over the scudetto to competing with Udinese and Catania over Europa league spots. It’s a damn shame what happened this year, but it was clearly the fault of coaching and management who knowingly overplayed many of our players.
Next season Inter should realize the importance of prioritizing youth, and that'll start with the attack. Strama must alternate forwards. Who will start really depends on the type of formation.
Samuele Longo should come back to Inter from RCD Espanyol next season to be a supersub or maybe a starter in minor matches. The fact is that he really needs Serie A experience.
Marko Livaja is clearly talented, and was very involved in Atalanta’s win over us at the San Siro. He can be one of the best supporting strikers in the world if he is given the opportunity to develop here at Inter as a starter. Getting him back isn’t a gamble because he obviously has the necessary skills to succeed right now.
The acquisition of Mauro Icardi is a great move; he has promise as well as current ability, demonstrated in his matches vs Juventus and Pescara. It’s amazing that he’s only 20 years old, so he could be at Inter for quite some time.
I think for the most part Icardi will be playing as the central striker, with Livaja as the secondary striker. Longo, Palacio, and Garritano will likely feature as frequent substitutes, or starters in Coppa Italia matches and games for Champions/Europa league (if we even qualify next year).
Halfway through the season, Icardi, Livaja, Longo, Gomez, or Botta, depending on who delivers the least and isn’t getting minutes, should go on loan to a lower Serie A side such as Parma or Siena. My guess for this position would be Longo; it would be beneficial to him if he gets some Serie A experience, because so far he's played in only the Primavera League and La Liga.
Luca Garritano should get more minutes, likely after the January transfer window when one of the above leaves. Next year should be his last in the primavera imho; after that, he should be put on loan. Same goes with Francesco Forte and Matteo Colombi.
However, this plan will not be effective at all unless we get an entirely new fitness program with an experienced staff, because the current trainers and fitness staff are obviously not doing their job well when most of the squad gets periodically injured.
* An asterisk will be placed next to players that will also be featuring in the Primavera as well as the first team on occasion
1. Samir Handanovic
2. Mattia Perin
3. Raffaele Dalle Vedove *
4. Juan Pablo Carrizo
Leonardo Longo *
Javier Adelmar Zanetti
Jonathan Cicero Moreira
One more left back
Ricardo Gabriel Alvarez
One more DM
Francesco Forte *
Matteo Colombi *
Walter Adrian Samuel
Esteban Matias Cambiasso
Diego Alberto Milito
Stay tuned for Part 2.