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Thread: Inter, A Strategic Blueprint

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    Inter, A Strategic Blueprint

    Watching the derby last weekend, I started thinking about what ET's strategic blueprint is for Inter, from a sporting point of view. I hope there is one, and from the limited visibility that we have had, it certainly looks like Thohir thinks more about the direction he wants the club to take than Moratti did. His decisions seem a bit less random, a bit less driven by emotion. Whatever his plan is, that got me wondering what my plan would be if I was in Thohir's (and Mancini's) place.
    Here are those random thoughts:

    Scope: I am keeping the larger financial discussion out of the scope of this plan, this is just the sporting view. Financial constraints and sporting objectives do go hand in hand, I don't deny that. But below are just ideas here to illustrate a point and a structure of a plan. Any player transfers that I talk about are only symbolic to illustrate the strategy. Of course market realities and Mancini's wishes will be different than what we imagine, so when I say buy Yaya Toure, its just to demonstrate what we need as an example. I am not suggesting that he is the player we should buy at any cost. Hopefully that will become clear in the category analysis below.

    EDIT: Have edited out the illustrative examples as they seem to be distracting readers too much.

    1. Sporting Objective for next 5 years:

    2015-16: Develop a competitive squad, compete for CL spots. Minimum: EL Qualification.
    2016-17: Achieve CL qualification, challenge for Scudetto. Minimum: Top 3 finish
    2017-20: Min top 3 finish each season, win at least 1 Scudetto, and qualify from CL group stage at least twice, reach the CL semis at least once.

    That is a bit ambitious progression, but not too ambitious either. It is achievable. The "minimum" requirement is what the coach needs to achieve to carry on, provided he has got the minimum support discussed below. If he does not get the minimum support listed below, then we need to be more realistic about what we expect Mancio to achieve.

    2. Playing Philosophy, Style

    Assuming we are starting with Mancini in 2015-16, embrace his style of football as a starting point. Which possibly means 4-2-3-1 or a midfield diamond. This style of football with constant interchange between possession football and physical chasing the game off the ball is quite modern, and can become a good base to build from in the future.

    This philosophy is important because it defines what kind of managers we can hire. It is important that when we look to replace Mancini, we look at a coach who has similar ideas so that we can build from where Mancio left off. Which leads us to the manager plan...

    3. Management:

    Consistency in the managers role is key to achieve these goals, specially in the first 2 years. Any manager changes will put this plan back at least by 1 year. However, Mancini may be able to take us only so far, and 1 change may be needed in the next 5 years.

    For this plan to work, the first two seasons objectives ideally have to be met by Mancini. He has the capability to develop a competitive squad, that is possibly the reason he was hired. Stick with him for at least 2 years, and see if he achieves these goals. If we give him the support he needs, there is no reason why he cannot achieve these realistic short term minimum objectives.

    If Mancini achieves the objectives in the first 2 seasons, give him another season with the minimum objective of a Top 3 finish and going past the CL group stage. If he achieves that give him another season with the aim of winning the scudetto and/or reaching CL semis.

    If Mancini fails to achieve the first two season objectives, then find a replacement. The new manager as to be someone who can achieve the next 3 season's objectives, and has similar football philosophy. For e.g., someone like Simeone or Mihajlovic will not be too disruptive a change.

    I would also get someone like Simeone in the 4th season in any case, if Mancini starts hitting his very familiar roadblock in Europe. I think Mancini's ideal life at Inter is about 2 to 4 seasons from here on, after which we will need an upgrade in any case.

    4. Transfer Strategy:

    To implement Mancini's brand of football, in the next two seasons we will need better wing players, stronger DMs, proper fullbacks, and at least 1 starting CB. That is a big list, and will need 2-3 transfer windows to completely fulfil considering our financial constraints. It is important that we back Mancini on the priorities. He may make mistakes, but we will make bigger mistakes if we are not in sync with him.

    Lets look at the first season strategy in more detail.

    5. Squad Categories

    The squad needs to be a mix of youth and experience, potential and quality. We no longer have the luxury of focussing only on the future - if that is what we wanted to do then we have the wrong manager. So our 25 player squad should consist of the following 4 categories:

    A. Core team: Starting XI players like Handanovic, Icardi, Shaqiri, etc who are good now and good for the next 5 years.

    B. Short Term players: Players who are quality now, but are too old to last 5 years. These are only to achieve the next 1-2 years objectives. Eg Palacio, Hernanes, etc

    C. Squad players: Players on low wages who can be counted to make decent bench strength for at least the next 2 years objectives. These will need to be improved upon when we have the budget. Players like D'Ambrosio, Santon, Juan, etc. Even Kuzmanovic

    D. Youth players: The young players on low wages who can have a big impact in 2 years time. These have to be payers with big potential. Perhaps Gnoukouri, Puscas, etc are good examples.

    The idea above is to initially make sure we have enough Category A and B players to make a starting XI, and then slowly ease our Category B and Category D into Category A. Over the next two years, we have to work on reducing our category C.

    6. 2015-16 Squad Requirements

    Where do we focus our transfer budget on in the next 12 months, in order to ensure we achieve minimum objectives:

    Goalkeepers: There is no emergency here, unless Handa does not sign the extension. If Handa is confirmed, there is no point wasting any money here. Back up roles can be filled with former academy gks.

    CBs: We need to spend some money on at least 1 quality CB. Funds can be got by getting rid of Vidic's wages. Is Murillo the answer, I am not too sure. We need someone better than Ranocchia to partner him with. Lets call him CB1.

    Fullbacks: Between D'ambrosio, Santon & Nagatomo, we can muster up 1 starter and 2 back ups. We need another starter who is better than any of our existing options. Damian is an ideal example of what kind of player we should target, though he is probably out of our price range. Lets call him FB1.

    Deep Midfield: Medel & Brozovic are a good starting point, but we need a leader here. I don't think Guarin is that leader, though I don't mind if he stays as an alternative (ideally I would sell him while he still has some resale value left). Yaya is one example of what kind of player we need (he would be clearly category B player). If we get someone like Yaya, maybe Mancio will happily sell Guarin! Lets call this player MID1.

    Attacking Midfield / Wingers: Shaqiri and Hernanes are good options in the central attacking midfield for the short term objectives, so no major surgery required here. Maybe Kovacic could be sold (as he has the most value) to raise funds for a quality winger. This should be our biggest purchase, someone who has the quality and end product to lift our team. Ideally someone who can stay the course for the next 5 years. Felipe Anderson, Salah, Cuadrado, Gervinho, etc are examples of the calibre of player I am talking about. Lets call this player WING1.

    Strikers: Depending on whether we will play with a 2 striker option or a 1 striker formation, this could change. I am assuming Mancio wants to play 4-2-3-1, in which case Icardi and Palacio are good enough for now, with someone like Puscas as an understudy. We have no Europe next season, and a new striker will cost a lot of money, so I would wait 6-12 months. The other positions need surgery more, lets focus our funds. But when we buy a striker, it has to be a quality one.

    This would mean getting rid of the following players:
    OUT: Kovacic, Vidic, Campagnaro, Podolski, Felipe, Obi, and Guarin

    IN: CB1, FB1, MID1, & WING1

    The idea is to focus all funds on 4 players, try for free/loan deals where ever possible, but buy only quality starting players who can make an immediate difference. That is important.

    Clearly the above will come at a cost, we will have to spend more than we can make from selling players. So some investment will be needed this summer if this next 2 year plan is to work, which is critical for the next 5 years to work. If Ausilio thinks this project can succeed without additional funds, then good luck to him. I disagree with that, I think he is being delusional.

    IMO this summer is a critical juncture for Inter. Either we give Mancio the minimum he needs to build a competitive squad, or we risk losing our way again and possibly starting from ZERO again in 2016.

    7. Category Classification Analysis in 2015-16

    A. Core team - 8:Handanovic, CB1, Ranocchia, FB1, Brozovic, Shaqiri, WING1, Icardi
    B. Short Term players - 3: Palacio, Hernanes, MID1
    C. Squad players 10: Berni, Carrizo, D'Ambrosio, Santon, Nagatomo, Juan, Andreolli, Murillo, Kuz, Medel.
    D. Youth players - 4: Gnoukouri, Puscas, Dodo, Camara

    Analysis:

    1. 2015 Minimum: By buying these 4 players, we have just enough players in Category A & B to make a starting 11. This is key if we want to achieve our short term objectives. What this means is that if we can't afford players like Anderson and Darmian, it means that we must replace them cheaper, older players in Category B who offer similar quality even if its short term. If we don't do that, and replace them with Category C or D players, we seriously risk derailing this project even before it begins.

    2. Is it Enough?: It can be argued that just 11 Category A & B players will not be enough. Which is probably true. My point here is that this is MINIMUM. If we can afford more, or land more players by loan/free deals, that would be brilliant. We don't have Europe to worry about next season, so even if 11 quality players and some decent depth, we stand a chance of achieving our objectives. This is one of the reasons why I did not say that CL qualification is a NECESSARY objective for 2015-16. Its definitely something we should aim for, but to be realistic, we may not have the funds to give Mancio any more players to make that as a minimum objective. But with the above squad will give Mancio a fighting chance to achieve CL qualification even in 2015-16.

    3. Transfers over next 3 windows: Over the next 2 years, we need to slowly replace the Category C players with some Category A or B players, as much as the budget allows. IMO the first priority will be a striker/winger, who could be got on loan in the winter. I do feel that the above squad is short a winger, but wanted to be realistic with this summers spend.

    4. Youth Development: Over the next 2 years, the focus also needs to be on developing some of the Category D players or academy players into Category A. With someone like Gnoukouri, it may be possible. Some of them may leave on loan to develop, and get replaced by academy players.

    5. 2016-17: By that season, we will need a bigger squad with more quality depth. I would expect at least 15 Category A & B players if we want to achieve our goals. It is important to remember, that if everything goes as per plan we may also be playing in Europe (CL or at least EL) so will need quality players for rotation. If funds are a problem, we may have to look at more loan deals or Category B deals. I know a lot of FIF posters are anti-Category-B, but when you don't have funds, you have to improvise.

    8. A bit of fantasy

    This bit is just a lil bit of indulgence from my end. I just wanted to see how the starting XI will look like with the above squad, and how our B team will look (which gives an idea of depth):

    Starting XI:

    0 0 0 Icardi 0 0 0<br />
0 WING1 0 Shaqiri 0 Palacio 0<br />
0 0 0 0 0 0 0<br />
0 0 Brozovic 0 MID1 0 0<br />
0 0 0 0 0 0 0<br />
FB1 0 CB1 0 Ranocchia 0 D'Ambrosio<br />
0 0 0 0 0 0 0<br />
Handanovic

    Reserve XI:

    0 0 0 Puscas 0 0 0<br />
0 Dodo 0 Hernanes 0 Camara 0<br />
0 0 0 0 0 0 0<br />
0 0 Medel 0 Gnoukouri 0 0<br />
0 0 0 0 0 0 0<br />
Nagatomo 0 Juan 0 Murillo 0 Santon<br />
0 0 0 0 0 0 0<br />
Carrizo

    Not too shabby. The reserves in attack look very weak (dodo as a winger makes be cringe a bit), so maybe we do need another winger fairly quickly. Maybe a loan deal to replace the Podolski loan failure. And perhaps we should replace Brozovoic with Medel in the starting XI. But this does look like a decent starting point.

    To summarise:

    Anyways, the squads are beside the point. The thought process is what counts, and breaking the 5 year plan into what we need this summer - we need at least 4 quality players (Category A or B), ideally 5. After that, we need add 1-2 quality players every window plus replace any who don't work out. That is the kind of commitment it will take to ensure that we are in the CL in 1-2 years time. This plan also hinges on Mancio keeping his shit together and not losing his head. If he loses his head, we need to replace him with someone who fits this playing philosophy as close as possible, and push our objectives back by 1 year so that our expectations are not unrealistic.

    Rebuilding is going to be a slow and painful process. I hope Thohir has a similar plan, and has the commitment to see it through.
    Last edited by Bluenine; 24 Apr 15 at 13:04.


  2. #2
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    First of all, I have a lot of respect for the effort you put into your post. However:

    No offense Bluenine, but to me this post is rationalizing a FIFA career mode lineup or some shit like that. The actual strategic part of the post was really convoluted and made lots of crude generalizations. Like saying 'in the next 5 years, we should replace the worse players in the squad with better players if we want a better team and better results'. Or, "we should sign 5 quality players and increase the number of quality players if we want better results". That's pretty obvious man.

    You say "we need these players for Mancini's brand of football" but you haven't actually explained what that brand of football will look like. And that's my point. The part of this post that wasn't crudely vague was complete fantasy because you don't know what Mancini wants. We don't have a clear style of play.

    How is it realistic to buy Darmian, fuckin Anderson, and Toure in a single transfer window? On top of what we are going to spend on Murillo, Brozovic, and Shaqiri this summer?

    Why would you sign Reid and bench the new CB we signed for 8 million? Why would you release Vidic when he's been really solid for us? How is Winston Reid a better defender than Ranocchia? Sell Andreolli, Vidic, but keep Juan?

    Why sell Kovacic and buy another talented young player? We know what Kovacic is capable of, that alone is reason enough to build something around him. That team also has very little continuity from last season. None of the players in the midfield has been at Inter for longer than 5 months, let alone Toure, and there is no Serie A experience. Dodo and Camara as the substitute wingers? What kind of depth is that? And after a single decent debut, Gnoukouri deserves to be a sub for next season? Why not a loan? Reminds me when everyone wanted Benassi as a sub after his game vs Pescara two years ago.

    A midfield of Brozovic-Yaya would get raped. Guess we're not going to use defensive midfielders? It's also ridiculous to play 4-2-3-1 so arbitrarily. And its also worth noting we've looked shambolic whenever we've played it, although I think the formation is overused as an argument - eg. you can play the same formation as Bayern Munich, doesn't mean you can play like Bayern Munich. We weren't shit under Mazzarri because of 3-5-2. We were shit under Mazzarri, AND we played 3-5-2. Though that doesn't mean formation is meaningless either.


    I was actually looking back on a similar kind of post made by myself at the beginning of this season. It had Alvarez/Pastore/Ljajic behind Icardi, a midfield of Xhaka-Mvila-Kovacic... with Mazzarri as manager. In other words, it wasn't remotely realistic because I'm imposing my ideas and brand of football on Mazzarri's ideas and brand of football.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I'm not going to make a strategy, but my ideas as to how we should approach the next few years are the following:

    1. The Slitztheory.
    2. Only sign young players if they are the very best of their age group.
    3. Never sign stopgaps for more than 5 million.
    4. You should always try to sign champions.
    5. Always try to buy a player for less than they are worth (bosmans, one year left on their contract, out of form, transfer listed etc)

    /FMmodeon

    My dream would be Toure for 0-5 mill, Allan for 7 mill, Gonalons for 8 mill, Eder for 7 mill, and Darmian for 8 mill. Maybe a sub DM and sub GK as well? Sell/release/loan Carrizo, Campagnaro, Juan, Nagatomo, Jonathan, Dodo, Medel, Kuz, Guarin, Hernanes, Obi... I'd also recall Ricky Alvarez for the bench. So a starting lineup like:

    .. Eder . Icardi . Shaqiri
    .. Kovacic . Gonalons . Toure
    D'Ambro . Vidic . Ranocchia .. Darmian
    ..........Handanovic

    Alvarez . Puscas . Palacio/?
    ? .... Allan . Brozovic
    Di Marco . Andreolli . Murillo . Santon
    .......?

    /off
    Last edited by bandiera; 21 Apr 15 at 23:18.


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    1) Winston Reid has signed a new contract with West Ham. Why should we buy both him and Murillo and then let one of them sit on the bench most of the time!?

    2) Yaya Toure? It will be a dream but a very expensive one. He has to take a big cut in his salary which I don't think will happen.

    3) Felipe Anderson - The guy a lot of people talks about around in Europe. As I have said before: Take a look on the FFP rules and what kind of sanctions we can receive. Malaga was told not to be able to qualify for the Champions League the next time if they manage to secure a spot for this within the next four seasons as a punishment. Do we want the same.

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    Agreed. It should also be said that if a Serie A club wants Anderson, Lotito will demand a fucken massive pile of money. He'll be swimming in more cash than Scrooge McDuck.

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    Bandiera,

    You make some good points. However:

    1. This article is NOT recommending that we buy Anderson, Yaya, Reid, or Darmian. I have just used them as examples of what quality level of players we need, just to illustrate a point. This is explained right in the beginning in the para called "scope". I know, its a big article, don't blame you for skimming past that. Looks like Jrgnsn has also done just that. Hopefully this takes out 80% of the issues you had with the article

    2. Sometimes it is worthwhile to sell a talented young player to buy another. Just like in Kovacic's case, he is a third choice AM in Mancini's view, and as a midfielder he is below Guarin in the pecking order. For a 20-30m rated kid, that is a waste of talent and for Inter a waste of money. I much rather deploy that 20-30m in a position/player that is more suitable for the coach, wouldn't you agree?

    3. Having Gnoukouri, Camara and Dodo as depth is to illustrate the same point you are making. That even after 4 quality player buys, our depth will still be shite, and our expectations shouldn't be sky high.

    4. I did not suggest we sell Andreolli. I think he is a decent bench player, just like Santon, and club trained as well.

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    First of all, massive props for putting this much effort into a plan. It's something I'd definitely like to have a go at myself. Objective wise, I see where you are going, but in my opinion some of the stuff in there is laughable.

    I read up to the Winston Reid part and had to stop because I was laughing too hard.

    You say some things as if they are logical decisions to move the club forward, which is what we all want, then there is Winston Reid.

    "CBs: We need to spend some money on at least 1 quality CB. Funds can be got by getting rid of Vidic's wages. Is Murillo the answer, I am not too sure. We need someone better than Ranocchia to partner him with. One example would be Winston Reid - again not sure whether we can get him."

    Reid > Ranocchia? Even I'm not a massive fan of Ranocchia but fuck me he'd have to do something astronomically wank to be considered worse than Reid. Also, we have to be honest, Vidic and Ranocchia could work, if not we have Murillo, if not Juan, if not Andreolli, all of whom I consider better than Winston.

    I really want to believe we can get Darmian, Toure and Felipe Anderson, but be real. It just won't happen without a major outgoing, and where does that put our plan if one of the "core team" departs?

    There are so many unfathomable and undeterminable factors that can completely knock this down. What if we overachieve, and Mancini leaves at the end of next season, having spent shit loads (in your plan) to bring in players for his system. That wouldn't knock us back a year, it would be more I'd say.

    Anyway, I realised what I've said is really ranty, and I apologise for that because I admire the effort and passion behind it. You may be onto something with certain aspects, but overall it just wouldn't work, being realistic of course.

    The truth is, I don't think any of us know exactly what budget we are working under, and exactly what conditions it depends on. It's difficult to make assumptions either way, in that we are still and elite club on history and fan base alone, or that we are no longer competitive really so we struggle to compete with teams for major targets.

    The actual concept of the post is interesting. I too would love to see ETs plan, if it is something like this, because football is a business as well and you have to make shrewd decisions that fit in with your plan. Objective wise I can see him being perhaps harsher if he throws money at it, which he is well entitled to be, it's his.
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  11. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by InteristiTerrier View Post
    First of all, massive props for putting this much effort into a plan. It's something I'd definitely like to have a go at myself. Objective wise, I see where you are going, but in my opinion some of the stuff in there is laughable.
    Dude, the stuff you find laughable is the stuff I have clearly mentioned in the beginning as being "out of scope" of this article and are just examples for illustrative purposes. Whether you agree re the players or not, that does not matter - because the only opinions that matters for those decisions is Mancini's, not mine nor yours. I myself do not think Inter will buy any of Yaya, Anderson, Reid or Darmian. But somehow these names seem to distract everyone a bit too much, so I am going to edit the article and delete these "illustrative" names.

    This article is more about the structure and the starting point of plan. About the objectives, and what we need to achieve those objectives. Hopefully this gives an idea of how many players we need this summer, and next summer, and so on. It also gives us a good idea of where we stand. Even after buying 4 quality players, we still most likely will not be better than the Top 3 teams in Serie A. That is the reality, and we must set realistic expectations.

    Do take a shot at the plan. It would be interesting to get more view points.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluenine View Post
    Inter, A Strategic D
    Fixed
    Quote Originally Posted by Armes View Post
    Had Mazzarri been on the bench today, losing a game from 1-0 to 2-1 against Stramaccioni and Deki, he'd be photoshopped, graffittied and put on every forum urinal for the especially unwatchable second half, stupid and snail subs, tactical idiocy etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluenine View Post
    Dude, the stuff you find laughable is the stuff I have clearly mentioned in the beginning as being "out of scope" of this article and are just examples for illustrative purposes. Whether you agree re the players or not, that does not matter - because the only opinions that matters for those decisions is Mancini's, not mine nor yours. I myself do not think Inter will buy any of Yaya, Anderson, Reid or Darmian. But somehow these names seem to distract everyone a bit too much, so I am going to edit the article and delete these "illustrative" names.

    This article is more about the structure and the starting point of plan. About the objectives, and what we need to achieve those objectives. Hopefully this gives an idea of how many players we need this summer, and next summer, and so on. It also gives us a good idea of where we stand. Even after buying 4 quality players, we still most likely will not be better than the Top 3 teams in Serie A. That is the reality, and we must set realistic expectations.

    Do take a shot at the plan. It would be interesting to get more view points.
    I see what you're saying. To be honest I didn't mean to bash it, shows you are dedicated. I think you definitely deserve credit. I'll have a go later using your plan.
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    Misread it as: Inter, a Strategic Bullshit
    Quote Originally Posted by bandiera View Post
    referees 'without question' favour juve? i think youre overstating the effect of buying out the refs.
    Quote Originally Posted by bandiera View Post
    I did some thinking over the bench issue. I think when a player is benched, it can make them think more.

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  17. #13
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    Mancini and playing philosophy/style in the same sentence....

    Good read though.
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    “There is no comparison. On one hand, we have a duel within the city, a constant and direct confrontation. On the other, we have a historical hostility. Sportingly speaking, the real enemy is Juventus.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by nerazzurri4life View Post
    Mancini and playing philosophy/style in the same sentence....

    Good read though.
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