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Saturday September 9 2017
Spalletti Inter's secret weapon

Cousins Milan might've spent more on the transfer market, but Inter got the best buy with Coach Luciano Spalletti, writes Billy Wilkinson.

Disappointment only rises from expectations, just ask any Interista. It was supposed to be the summer of Suning, as cross-town rivals Milan also had Asian financial backing, so the two were expected to lock horns for Europe’s top talents. As it stands, Milan have spent €230m, compared to Inter’s €86m.

It’s not that the Nerazzurri have had a bad mercato, they’ve covered almost all of their needs. They’ve signed a great left back in Dalbert from Nice, Joao Cancelo fills the right-sided full back position and they’ve completely revamped their midfield whilst keeping key players. The only valid criticism is that they didn’t sign a senior CB to partner Joao Miranda, or at least one in between the level of Milan Skriniar and Andrea Ranocchia.

However, I believe Inter’s best bit of summer business comes not in the form of a player, the man in the dugout, Luciano Spalletti.

I had my doubts when Spalletti was re-hired by Roma in 2016 following a previous 2005-09 stint, however those doubts were quickly erased. In Spalletti’s first full season in Rome, he transformed Rudi Garcia’s dull and unimaginative outfit into a must-watch team. The Giallorossi ended up creating the second most chances (519) in Europe’s top five leagues, only four behind Real Madrid at 523.

It would be an injustice to mention that Roma only finished four points behind first placed Juventus, albeit the race was never that close.

There didn’t seem to a player that Spalletti didn’t improve during his relatively short stay in Rome. It was once said that top managers always take players up a level: good to great, great to elite, elite to world class. You can’t deny Spalletti did that.

He took Edin Dzeko from the depths of mocking memes all the way to a Capocannoniere crown. Radja Nainggolan and Mohamed Salah were taken up a few levels to become two of the best players in Italy. Even players that were regarded as mediocre prior to his arrival, such as Emerson Palmieri and Federico Fazio, became more than respectable and reliable starters under Spalletti.

Of course, it would have been great for Suning to fulfil the hype and sign the big names that Inter fans have been crying out for. But they didn’t, and if there’s one man who’s exceptional at working with what he’s got, it’s Spalletti.

Another of Spalletti’s strengths is he’s excellent at judging team functionality and which players work well together. He took Nainggolan’s offensive game to the next level by playing him as an attacking midfielder and gave Strootman more responsibility in terms of building up play from deep. Both changes helped the functionality of the team and changed Roma for better. Considering the mix-up that is Inter’s midfield right now, it has to be a plus the Coach has experienced something of this ilk before.

It will most likely be Inter, Milan and Roma battling for two Champions League spots. In my opinion, all of their respective squads are quite similar in terms of ability and one or two key injuries could derail all three of these teams.

What sets Inter apart from Milan and Roma is the man writing on the chalkboard. Vincenzo Montella and Eusebio Di Francesco are no chumps, but they’re not Spalletti, and there’s quite some distance between the two. I think that’ll be the difference between Roma and Inter for top four.

After the past couple of years, I can understand Nerazzurri fans’ pessimism, but Spalletti is the best Inter manager since Jose Mourinho, and by quite some distance.

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...
Manchester United 7 Roma 1 (8-3 Aggregate)

Not so fantastic then or now. Inter got what they deserve.
on the 12th September, 2017 at 4:17pm
@mostafe - he's not ignoring Napoli at all, there are 4 CL spots and juve and napoli are virtually guaranteed to be 2 of those 4. they don't even need to be mentioned
on the 12th September, 2017 at 4:44am
And Napoli? You completely ignored them in the fight for the champions league places? But fair enough- Ignore them at your own risk.B
on the 11th September, 2017 at 1:13pm
Yes I agree that hiring Mr. Spaletti was a stroke of genius... not to forget that another secret weapon along with spaletti is Walter Sabitaini.. Inter has a perfect mix of players & staff to go all out & bring back the scudetto home. In January window even if we bring in just two new players (Center Back, Defensive midfielder) will be more than enough to rightfully claim our scudetto. Mark my words.
on the 10th September, 2017 at 2:55pm
this season is reminiscent of the time when le sette sorrelle ruled the roost... even as a juve fan this one will be hard to call...
on the 10th September, 2017 at 4:12am
if the last 6 years have showed us anything it's that Inter collapses in the Month of January (except last year) because of the FDB firing which turned out to be the april-may collapse. Let's see how inter does in January before you call Spalletti a weapon.
on the 9th September, 2017 at 7:04pm
Inter were better than roma and deserved to win that game, ye yes i know i know that roma had three shots on the woodwork but they were all from long outside the penalty area and that is only because inter deffende well and roma needed to shoot more, inter were the better side that night :).
on the 9th September, 2017 at 4:30pm
I get that he might be a weapon, but why secret? Everybody knows him and what he can do.
on the 9th September, 2017 at 4:04pm
We beat Fiorentina because they are much weaker this season and we beat Roma with luck since they hit the post 3 times. So, I won't be surprised if we lose points against SPAL. Maybe not exactly SPAL but maybe Crotone.
on the 9th September, 2017 at 2:40pm
Agreed..two games into the season it feels like we can even challenge for the sscudetto. Spaletti completely transformed the team. Can't wait to see us beat SPAL and confirm our status this season
on the 9th September, 2017 at 8:14am
Ac Milan will win the league. Mark my word
on the 9th September, 2017 at 7:13am
LOL
on the 9th September, 2017 at 5:01am

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