The message from Antonio Conte after dropping points against Bologna and Verona was always the same – Inter need more experienced players in their ranks. His obsession with bringing in ready-made champions means the Nerazzurri could once again waste the talent at their disposal and overlook youthful potential to chase after a veteran name.
The club already appeased him by snapping up Victor Moses and Ashley Young in January, to join fellow Premier League ex-pat Alexis Sanchez at San Siro. These are low-cost options on loan, but are they the kinds of player Inter should be investing in for next season?
Has Moses done enough to earn a place at the club? With seven appearances, four off the bench, it is understandable to keep him until the end of the campaign, but not beyond. The same has to be said of Alexis Sanchez, as whilst he shone against Brescia, his performances certainly would not justify the enormous wages they’d have to pay if he were to sign permanently from Manchester United.
Inter have a relatively young squad and it is understandable that the coach wants experience around the players, but as has been the case in the past, there are youth products that shouldn’t be overlooked. Sebastiano Esposito is a talented striker who could play a very big part in Inter’s future. His current deal runs out in 2022 and Inter are looking to extend his contract until 2025. It is understandable that Conte needs back-up for Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku, and an experienced striker should be brought in, but it would be criminal to sacrifice Esposito’s chances by bringing in two forwards.
Ionut Radu will also return to Milan after spending the season on loan with Genoa. He is developing well, or at least he was until Matteo Perin took his gloves in January, and has been talked of as replacing Samir Handanovic at some point, so his inclusion next season and perhaps in the Coppa Italia is a ready-made solution. Midfielder Lucien Agoume is another bright young thing who has started to break through and could fill a spot in midfield, even as just a squad player.
Finally, there is Andrea Pinamonti, who was purchased by Genoa for €18m last summer. Inter have a gentlemen’s agreement that they can buy him back for €21m at the end of the season if they so wish and it would be wise of them to do so. In all competitions the 21-year-old has scored seven times in 25 games and has shown so much promise that Juventus are now trying to sign him. It would be remiss if the Nerazzurri to allow this happen when they are looking to develop a young, talented squad with a heavy Italian influence.
It is true that Inter and the Suning Group can afford to have a busy summer, but that does not mean they should not see what is under their noses. They have done this before and examples of Christian Kouame and especially Nicolò Zaniolo are just a few of the many they have let slip out of their academies, then watched their exceptional careers flourish elsewhere. It is understandable that Conte wants players ready to win and players with experience he can trust, but the opportunity is here to have a team with a young Italian core of Alessandro Bastoni, Nicolò Barella, potentially Sandro Tonali and Sebastiano Esposito.
Inter are certainly on the right track, but the window should not simply be about new faces. They have young, talented players who want to be at the club and are hungry to impress. Admittedly, Conte may be focusing simply on bringing the Scudetto to Milan and therefore is looking for seasoned winners to supplement his squad, but the project is bigger than this. To go for Scudetti in the future, they need to secure what they have in front of them.