Note this is a repost from my site. I authored it, but it is formatted (i.e. graphics, etc) for the blog, so some content may be lost here.
In this article I will be conducting the Inter Primavera Review 2014… A look into the accomplishments and failures of the youth team, individual players and their ratings, and highlights and surprises.
I can’t address all the players as we have a substantial number of players in our youth team, many of whom haven’t played extensively, so my primary focus will be the ‘main’ players in the Inter Primavera, and how they’ve performed.
Ivica Ivusic comes quite highly rated, having trained with the first team a couple of times previously with Stramaccioni. He initially was behind the pecking order to the highly rated Luca Maniero, signed on loan, but Ivusic has really claimed the starting goalkeeper position in the last few months. I believe the system employed had him rotating still, but he went from no visibility to having an impact. As a player born in 96, it’s not impossible that he will be kept on next season to continue his development, but there are a lot of Inter Primavera and other youth goalkeepers who could come into the fray. Between Ivusic, Smug, and Maniero alone, we have 3 supposedly top goalkeepers at Inter. Expect him to go out on loan, however, next season.
Luca Maniero was signed in quite substantial fanfare at the start of the season on loan. Rated as one of the more interesting youth prospects in Italian football in the goalkeeping position, Italy now seem blessed with keepers. In the last few years with the Inter Primavera we’ve seen Bardi, Di Gennaro and Maniero. Interestingly, all are staged a year or two years apart on the career track – Bardi will be looking to his second season of Serie A, Di Gennaro will be looking to his first, and Maniero will be looking for some Serie B loan time. We will almost certainly sign him outright this summer, though the co-ownership rule change convolutes the situation somewhat. It is unclear if we sign him outright, but if we do, expect loans.
Isaac Donkor has been playing at a very high level for Inter Primavera in the last few years. Having already debuted for the club in the Europa League, he has recently had his contract extended. Unfortunately his season was ended early through a serious knee injury in January, after which we start to see the standard of the club’s results falling, but he has a very bright future ahead of him. I fully expect some Serie B loans in his future, and we’ll see where he stands in a years time.
Fabio Eugelfi is a keen young full back at Inter. He’s come a long way this season, recently being rated as one of our top youth prospects by our youth co-ordinators, he’s been a steady choice in a rather tumultuous team selection this season. He needs alot more development before he will even be considered for the Inter first team, so expect to see him out on loan a few times before anything really happens here.
Lorenzo Paramatti is one that many of the keen youth observers will have been following for a while now. Signed the same season we signed Simone Benedetti – 2010 – he has been a stalwart for the defense this season. He plays very flexibly across the entire back row, and has really claimed the position for himself. He still, as my golden rule caveat will always say, needs a lot more development, but I would keep a keen eye on him.
Gennaro Acampora is a somewhat disappointing case in my opinion. He did quite well last season, on loan from Spezia, but had injury problems which prevented us signing him outright, renewing his loan for another season. This year appearances have been more sporadic as he’s competed with better midfielders for space, and he hasn’t really been able to claim his own spot, coupled with further injury problems. With the co-ownership rules now having been changed, it is unlikely we will sign him outright, and I don’t see a long term future for him at Inter.
Gaston Camara is my personal favourite highlight of the season. He came in on loan from a very small club, and has absolutely dazzled his way to FCIN’s Inter Primavera player of the year. He impressed so much that the club moved to convert his loan role to a permanent contract 6 months premature, and he’s really delivering on that. He’s a pacey and agile winger who will run directly at defenders and use his agility to create space. If you watch Primavera highlights, you wont be surprised to watch games where he creates every chance! The question, now, is how his talent transfers onto the more physically mature stage with seasoned professional defenders. I for one will be keen to watch his progress – a loan to Serie B hopefully is on the cards, but it is also worth pointing out that he is only a ’96 kid.
Morten Knudsen is a somewhat unusual case. He came in under similar banner as Patrick Olsen, but his play time has been extremely inconsistent in the last 18 months. He’s meant to be phenomenally talented, but the rarity with which he takes the field must be of significant concern. He needs to be playing a lot more regularly – so I would be looking for a loan next year, but don’t hold your breath in case he is sold.
Andrea Mira is an odd case. He dazzled in pre-season, looking like a very good deep lying playmaker, but has failed to build on that at the Primavera level. He continues to impress when he does play, but the depth of competition has really harmed his development. I would hope to see him go on loan next season and really blossom into the player that we all believe he can be.
Lorenzo Tassi is the captain of Inter Primavera. He has been converted from the AMC that he was in Brescia to more of a Pirlo-style DLP now. Again, though, his is a story of injuries, and his 3 year co-ownership will undoubtedly come to a halt this summer. The question will ultimately boil down to a question of cost – for less than 2 million euros, say, I can see us signing him outright. It’s an unusual one, given the substantial investment, but we will have to see what happens this summer before we can commit to his future.
Alessandro Capello was signed in a deal worth 2.5 million for half of his rights in co-ownership last summer. He’s come in and done reasonably well, given the fanfare, but perhaps affected quite heavily by the persistent and heavy rotation that we have used in the Inter Primavera this season. He’s scored a fairly mediocre 5 league goals, but he looks good when he does play. Rumours of late have linked him away from Inter, but I for one hope we sign him outright (though not at 2.5 million euros for the other half) and loan him out. We’ll see how this pans out.
George Puscas is a great youth signing from the last summer. He came in on loan from a Romanian club, and looks the real deal. He’s deadly effective when he plays, always looks dangerous, and shows a real understanding of a goalscoring striker’s role. He scored 8 goals this year – bearing in mind the heavy rotation we use – and contributed some very important match winners. His loan has already been converted into a permanent contract, and it’ll be interesting to see where he goes from here.
Michael Ventre was a sign that something was a bit weird at Inter. With Bonazzoli already, we signed Puscas, Capello, and Ventre in quick succession, before adding Andy Polo in Jan. He’s done well as a wide forward when he has played – not a real goalscorer, but rather, more the Pandev role. He’s reasonably impressive, and clearly could have played a lot more but for the ridiculous rotation system we’ve been having. We only own half of him so I will be watching to see how this one resolves.
Federico Bonazzoli. Do not forget that name. The youngest ever Inter Serie A debutant, he’s already blowing records set by players like Balotelli and Destro out of the water, at Inter Primavera and lower levels. He’s a young and recently turned 17, but talks of a loan move for him are already being floated. I would prefer to keep him in the youth team next season, though, so we can continue to track his development, but with 9 goals for the Primavera this year and 7 for the Allievi, expect a lot from him.
Inter Primavera Management
This is where I will start to be very disappointed. The transfer strategy has been completely confused, as the Berretti team were scraped, we lumped together the classes of 95 and 96 into the Primavera, creating something far too convoluted for purpose. We had probably 2.5 players for every position, all capable of competing for the main spot, and team cohesion has really suffered. This has directly resulted in footballing failures, and a lack of acceptable results. For the talent this team has, they should have played much better. Cerrone has failed as a manager, and may well be replaced next season, and our youth co-ordinators have failed as an administration. I hope the lessons to be learnt from this are understood quickly, and applied to next year. There needs to be a much stronger emphasis of loaning out older players (next year it will be the ’96), and giving space and time to people to develop properly and consistently over the course of the season, rather than patchworking appearances.