Inter were busy making January alterations as they chase at minimum a Champions League spot. Luca Cetta asks if they have sufficiently reinforced to achieve their goals.
Swapping one Nerazzurro shirt for another, Ezequiel Schelotto has moved to the San Siro from Atalanta. The Italo-Argentine has great pace, energy and willingness to take on his opponent. Schelotto can play in multiple positions along the right flank, giving Andrea Stramaccioni options and easing the pressure on Javier Zanetti. At 23, he still has time to become even better.
In Diego Milito and Antonio Cassano, Inter have one of Serie A’s deadliest strike pairings. Rodrigo Palacio compliments the duo. Rounding out the strike quartet by signing Tommaso Rocchi is puzzling. From benchwarmer at Lazio, the veteran now performs the same role for the Milan club. But he doesn’t exactly fit the mould of the trio and has struggled for goals in recent seasons. Was there nobody else to purchase?
One for the future
Former Milan great Zvonimir Boban rates 18-year-old Mateo Kovacic as a “complete talent” who could become better than he was. Immediately reinvesting newly acquired funds, Inter spent an initial €11m on the Dinamo Zagreb youngster. An attacking midfielder of great potential, he is certainly not shy, immediately asking for – and receiving – the vacant No 10 shirt.
Will they regret selling him?
Philippe Coutinho was dubbed by President Massimo Moratti the “future of Inter” in 2010. Less than three years on the Brazilian has departed for Liverpool for a fee of €10.2m. Signed as a 16-year-old, the Nerazzurri never saw the best of the creative talent. He was expected to play a bigger role after spending time at Espanyol last term, but it never materialised. Given Coutinho is only 20, have they acted hastily in selling him?
Is his time over?
From receiving plaudits upon his Appiano Gentile arrival, Ricardo Alvarez has been a sporadic figure under Andrea Stramaccioni. Two League starts to date in 2012-13 suggest the player is not part of the tactician’s plans. Alvarez was linked with moves away from Italy in January, with Southampton and River Plate mooted as possible destinations. For now the 24-year-old remains. Unless something changes in the next five months his Inter career could be over.
Marko Livaja has mainly been utilised in the Europa League, and responded to the opportunity presented by scoring four goals. The 19-year-old Croat has not been afforded the same chance domestically, but by moving to Atalanta as part of the Schelotto deal, he should get the playing time required to grow. The Orobici are known for their youth development, meaning Livaja will get a chance to shine.
The saga is over
Will he stay or go? Why doesn’t he play? England, Russia or Turkey? These questions have all been attached to Wesley Sneijder’s name for months. Eventually he did leave the Nerazzurri, joining Galatasaray for €7.5m. His last full season at San Siro and the beginning of this one were especially problematic for the Dutchman and the club felt they could no longer honour his huge contract, with Financial Fair Play looming large.
Signings such as Schelotto and Zdravko Kuzmanovic add quality and depth, while Kovacic looks a promising talent, even if very raw. Rocchi’s arrival was perplexing. Inter quickly reinvested their money made through January sales and although it looked the right time to separate from Sneijder, they could end up regretting the Coutinho decision. The Paulinho non-transfer was a bit messy too. Moratti feels Inter can now challenge not just for a Champions League place, but the Scudetto. On paper at least, most of their moves were the right ones.
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