Monday January 15 2018
Is Lisandro right for Inter?

Inter always did have a special bond with Argentina and hope Lisandro Lopez can strengthen their defence, writes Ramez Nathan.

“Even my 80-year-old mother knows Inter need a centre-back.” Luciano Spalletti’s plaintive cry at being asked yet again whether the Nerazzurri were a little short in defence made it obvious who the first January reinforcement would be. Step forward Lisandro Lopez, who arrives on loan with option to buy from Benfica.

A decade ago, Inter were the reigning Argentinean Serie A champions, with Javier Zanetti and Walter Samuel forming the team's backbone in defence, Esteban Cambiasso composing in the middle of the park, while Hernan Crespo and Julio Cruz damaged every opposition.

The Argentine contingent has been whittled down considerably nowadays, with Mauro Icardi feeling a little lonely in that locker room. Perhaps Lisandro can bring some more of that gritty South American approach that so many of his predecessors had.

A man who won the Primera Division in his home country and triumphed with three Portuguese league titles at Benfica could give you the impression of a new champion calling the shots at the back next to Milan Skriniar.

Conversely, Lopez never made it regularly to the Benfica starting line-up in all three seasons and started only six games this season in all competitions, failing to claim any clean sheets.

In today's market a player loaned from the Primeira Liga for €500,000 says a lot about what he can contribute, and the fact Inter turned down the chance to sign him in the summer says even more.

Even Julio Cesar, who played alongside Lopez and was the shot-stopper behind the Treble-winning Inter, recognised the difference between his former club's needs and the quality of the new Beneamata signing, only praising the defender's love to laugh in the dressing room and their hugs when he celebrated scoring.

Following their win against Chievo on December 3, Inter turned their unbeaten record to a five-game winless streak, also getting knocked out of Coppa Italia by Gennaro Gattuso's Milan.

Once centre-back Joao Miranda was forced off injured against Sassuolo, the lack of strength in depth became painfully evident. As Andrea Ranocchia also had a knock, Spalletti ended up using Davide Santon in the middle with Skriniar. It’s a sad state of affairs for a potential Scudetto contender to be so short in key areas.

Lisandro Lopez brings cover, but what else? Does he have the same warrior’s spirit as Miranda, the calm under pressure of Skriniar or the ability to dictate play with the ball at his feet?

What Lisandro does bring is height and power. He’s very tall and bulky, practically impossible to beat in the air and on set plays. Pace is his weakness and he can struggle when opponents run at him, so counter-attacks could be potentially disastrous. In other words, he’s an Argentinean Ranocchia.

Is that what Inter really needed? In a way, yes, because the issue was not one of finding different characteristics, but purely of numbers. You can’t get a Skriniar or Miranda clone on loan with option to buy, so the only alternative was to find another Ranocchia. 

Have your say...
He he is on loan and after a few below par performances Inter will send him back to the "mittente".
No more than an ordinary stopper.
on the 17th January, 2018 at 6:33pm
HE is a good experienced CB that will be a back up at inter. He is good at tackiling and interceptions. Again he will be nothing more than a back up. Alot of ppl are saying this is a waste but Inter have no depth at CB. who knows, he can turn out like Fazio.
on the 16th January, 2018 at 5:11pm
@ DARIO - Rolando was a beast under Mazzarri and for 4 million Ausilio did not want him since Inter had signed the bidone D'oro Vidic on free transfer. but since inter were afraid to lose a useless Ranocchia for free Inter re-signed him to 2.5 mill a season rendering him absolutely useless to anyone ! but it's like signing Gabi-one-Gol to 2.9 mill a season because that's a joke !
on the 15th January, 2018 at 8:01pm
Not a chance!
Another "BIDONE" to add to their collection..........
on the 15th January, 2018 at 4:49pm
It's a worry when a top Serie A team has to scrounge around for scraps from an average Benfica team, but January is always a tough time to buy and he'll be there to cover only.

If they lose Miranda and/or Skriniar for a long spell, though, they're probably doomed in their bid for a top 4 spot, because Lopez and Ranocchia are mid table players at best.

Inter will need a few more players, with Deulofeu probably the best they can hope for - someone who'll add a bit to attack and help out Icardi
on the 15th January, 2018 at 10:30am
This was like getting Rolando on loan, only perhaps with a little bit higher risk, as Lisandro López never played in Serie A before. But since he`s only here to be a backup [Zinho Vanheusden`s replacement in the pecking order], I don`t think we should worry much about it. It will probably end up a dry loan spell, as INTER should look for starters in the market.

Let`s see who will will eventually arrive to INTER with the mission of unblocking the Serie A teams who park the bus.
on the 15th January, 2018 at 9:18am
Good article, rounds off the situation well. Personally I had some hope that the lack of depth would have given Zinho a chance to shine. The injury took care of that... It has been sooooo long since we've had a academy player really break into the first team. Pinamonti hasn't had a chance either.
on the 15th January, 2018 at 8:23am
A brief article but a good read nonetheless.
The punch line was literally the last sentence of the article, laughed so hard while reading it.
on the 15th January, 2018 at 2:33am
All the attributes described here fits Fazio, and just like him, Lisandro should be given a chance.Ps.I wonder if Football-Italia wrote a piece when Roma brought him in.
on the 15th January, 2018 at 1:05am
with a zero budget, he'll do just fine as a third string cb.
on the 15th January, 2018 at 12:52am

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