The Piazza Del Duomo marks the central point of the city, making sense geographically, artistically, socially and culturally. It is a development that has evolved over time and up until recently, it has been mirrored by its football clubs. The grace and power of both Milan and Inter has romantically embraced the world’s football community, but recent times have seen a tale of one city. The decline culminated when neither represented Italy in Europe, but the tides have turned and Milano is back.
Money has hit football harder than the Borgias hit Rome or the Medici hit Florence. Many may argue it’s even more ruthless these days, but it’s here and you either get on the train or you get off. Milan have shown this year that they are on the gravy train and they are coming back to where they belong.
Silvio Berlusconi has gone, but with their brilliant youth system and the fact that the Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux have signed Franck Kessie, Ricardo Rodriguez, Mateo Musacchio, Hakan Calhanoglu, Andrea Conti, Fabio Borini, Lucas Biglia, Andre Silva and Leonardo Bonucci, they are announcing themselves again.
So, what of Inter? Are they overshadowed by the Rossoneri? No, they certainly are not. Milan have done brilliantly, on paper it’s possibly incredible, but that is their journey and Inter started theirs under Erick Thohir to continue with Suning. They have spent big, made mistakes and now have a chance to do what they should have done last year: have a full pre-season. Roberto Mancini’s departure severely hampered the campaign and the heads of Coaches that rolled afterwards were a result of this.
Interisti can look towards the new campaign with hope. Luciano Spalletti has taken on the reins and is the perfect man for doing what Inter need. Firstly, he has the ability to quash the egos in the squad. After dealing with Francesco Totti, you’d think Gabriel Barbosa and Stevan Jovetic will be a breeze and the latter has even looked good in pre-season. The aim is to get the Nerazzurri to play with pace and through the acquisition of Borja Valero he seems to have found the final cog to make the team tick. He may not have cost €40m, but he even a Mercedes needs an indicator.
Joao Mario’s more advanced and more important role also offers hope and if Ivan Perisic accepts his new contract, then there are even more reasons to be optimistic. Mauro Icardi may eventually find his supply, but there still is a problem.
Ask any poor suffering regular who frequents the Meazza to watch the Nerazzurri and they will tell you this, the full back is an issue. Danilo D’Ambrosio is a classic example. He was lauded for replicating the performances (eventually) that he showed whilst at Torino. This was simply what he was employed to do, but it is the lack of quality in this position that consistently lets the team down. Hence, any good performance is heralded as a breakthrough, but the likes of Davide Santon, Cristian Ansaldi and of course Yuto Nagatomo have let the team down. One shouldn’t place the blame simply on their shoulders, but instead it goes much further back, from Jonathan and beyond.
This is the reason that fans of the Nerazzurri are not concerned by the incredible work done in the red and black half of Milan. They know that it takes time to form a team. The on-off deal with Nice’s Dalbert is far more pressing, because for the team to be able to play at Spalletti’s pace, it needs full-backs who can defend and break.
The success of Inter’s transfer window will depend on the ability to acquire quality full-backs. The future of Perisic is testimony to this, as his defensive contributions have been key in covering the gaps.
The Piazza Duomo wasn’t built overnight, it was a special, artistic and embryonic development that now shapes Milan. For Inter to have their completed project, they don’t need a new blueprint, they just need to finish the job they have already started.