As the calciomercato draws to a close, our 2014-15 squad is starting to take shape:
Icardi - Palacio
Dodo - Kovacic - M'Vila - Hernanes - Nagatomo
Juan - Vidic - Ranocchia
Bench: Carrizo, Berni, Andreolli, Jonathan, D'Ambrosio, Medel, Kuz/Taider, Alvarez, Osvaldo
"Kids" on bench: MBaye, Krhin, Obi, Laxalt, Botta
OUT: Guarin, Kuz/Taider, Schelotto, Campagnaro, Silvestre + Zanetti, Milito, Samuel, Cambiasso, Belfodil, Castallazzi, Wallace, Rolando
A few concerns:
1. Center Backs: We are looking weak on the CB side (with only Andreolli and a makeshift Medel on the bench), specially if we want to play a 3 man defense. I am hoping here that if we get rid of Campagnaro and Silvestre, we will make space for Rolando. Perhaps that is the plan.
2. Creativity: A bit worried about the lack of creativity, specially since Kova/Alvarez/Botta have yet to develop an end product. Who will make the goals? So far, I can see a couple of attacking outlets - from the left via Dodo's crosses, and from the midfield via M'Vila-Hernanes's passes. Its not enough. A couple of injuries, and we could end up watching the 2nd part of last season...
3. Wings: Still no solution to the right flank - perhaps a winger is needed. A good winger could also help add creativity, and another attacking outlet. Jonathan and D'Ambrosio don't look the part. I hope this is the area where Thohir decides to give us a "gift". A 20m+ winger/SS would also solve the issue of creativity.
1. Financially sound: From a financial point of view, we have done well so far - reduced the wage bill, while strengthening in some areas. Also the postponed nature of liabilities is a good thing, the impact on our P&L this year will be minimal. This is vital from a FFP point of view, specially if we qualify for CL.
2. Sensible Transfers: From a sporting point of view, Dodo, Vidic and M'Vila are already showing what they bring to the table. That looks promising. Not as sure about Osvaldo (troublemaker who hasn't played much last season) and Medel (quite one dimensional), but overall its probably the most sensible transfer summer we have had since the Mourinho era.
3. Lowered expectations: I really like the fact that Thohir is not putting unrealistic expectations on this team. He has already said that not qualifying for CL will not necessarily mean disaster. That is the right approach, as this new look squad needs to work without much pressure to develop into a good team.
Lets see if there are any surprises during the remaining window. I am hoping for 1 big SS/Winger purchase (Cerci? Lavezzi?) and one cheap CB (Rolando?).
I guess a lot depends on who else we get this summer, so let me look at 2 scenarios:
1. We get Cerci + Rolando or equivalent: In this case, we have a squad which could potentially challenge for CL spots. Juve (even after Conte leaving), Roma and Napoli have the advantage of more continuity, whereas Inter will have to integrate a lot of new players into the team - so I think we will be just behind them, but we should be finishing in the top 4, and if one of the top 3 clubs under perform (which is very possible), then we should be ready to take advantage. So a CL spot is not out of reach, and this IMO is what Inter should be aiming at.
So in this case, we aim for Top 3, and minimum expectation is Top 4.
2. No big transfer: Here we assume that Inter get a back up CB and/or a back up winger, but no big buys. This is possible, as our finances are not the best and Thohir's rebuilding plan is multi-year. This would mean, IMO, that we should be expecting Top 5 finish. We can aim for Top 3, but its extremely unlikely as our level is closer to Fiorentina than to Napoli/Roma - considering that Fiorentina have more continuity. Perhaps even in this scenario, I would expect Mazzarri to finish above Milan, Lazio, etc.
So in this case, we aim for Top 4, and minimum expectation is Top 5.
I so hope we try for the first scenario. God knows we Interisti deserve it.