It was only Stjarnan, the lowest ranked team in the Europa League, whose home stadium could only hold 1,000 fans, but it was still an impressive demolition. A hat-trick from Mateo Kovacic who finally opened his account for Inter in style, a brace from Mauro Icardi and a maiden goal for Dani Osvaldo saw the Nerazzurri romp to a 6-0 win over their Icelandic opponents.
Coach Walter Mazzarri was also very pleased with the side and could only compliment Kovacic - whom he has worked with ever since he got to the club to acquire a more attacking approach to his game: “Yes, we did everything right today. I'm delighted for Kovacic, he finally got that goal.”
The Serpenti now open their Serie A season on Sunday with a tough away trip to Torino, who booked themselves a place in the group stages of a European competition for the first time in 20 years as well. But, it may be that September 1 proves to be the most important day for this season’s aspirations.
The club has done good business in the transfer window so far with regards to the incoming players, who we profiled some time back. During this week, it was reported that Ricky Alvarez is leaving for Sunderland in an initial €1m one-year loan, and mandatory redemption clause of €11m should the Black Cats stay up this season.
Inter also farmed out Ruben Botta and Ezequiel Schelotto to Chievo on loan deals, with Matias Silvestre and perhaps even Hugo Campagnaro likely to leave. The other big sale that technical director Piero Ausilio is trying to complete is that of Fredy Guarin. The Colombian has been subject of interest from Zenit, and the Nerazzurri are looking for at least €15m for him.
If these deals do go through, then Inter find themselves with about €25-€30m to spend on a top quality player, and more than likely it will be a forward. There are quite a few big names floating around, particularly Ezequiel Lavezzi of Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich’s Xherdan Shaqiri and Manchester United’s Javier Hernandez.
Lavezzi worked with the Coach at Napoli, and even Erick Thohir indicated that talks might be underway for the Argentinean. However, his price-tag could be a potential deterrent as the Parisians will be looking to get the most out of the deal, given the restrictions imposed on them by UEFA for not adhering to Financial Fair Play regulations.
Javier Hernandez would get another forward into the Inter ranks, but his recent form has not been encouraging. With Rodrigo Palacio, Icardi and Osvaldo it could be that he finds himself fighting for a spot, but he does bring more options for the attack and provides adequate cover should one or more get injured.
The player that fans are most keen to see arrive is Shaqiri. The Swiss international’s agent mentioned that there is interest from both Inter and Juventus, but that Bayern’s asking price is a stumbling block for any potential move. The left-footer would take the pressure off Kovacic to be the sole creative force, and could slot in well into a number of roles.
Any of these arrivals are heavily dependent on if Inter manage to offload some of the players mentioned earlier. But there is also the argument that a top signing could then hold back the likes of Kovacic and Icardi as the pressure would be on the manager to play a marquee signing.
However, should one of these names arrive at the club over the coming days, expectations will definitely rise once again and Inter will be obliged to challenge for a top three spot.