Saturday May 1 2021
Will Conte's Inter grow or wither?

Inter are preparing the Scudetto celebrations, but the next few days could also shape whether this project grows or withers on the vine, writes Richard Hall.

It is a monumental week in Inter’s history. By the end of it, they could be Scudetto holders, have the ownership issue sorted out and have confirmed Antonio Conte as coach for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, a failure to secure investment could pour cold water over any title celebrations and jeopardise the tactician’s future. Conte is certainly looking for reassurances and it would be wise for the ownership to give him them. Inter have been transformed in his image and it would be imprudent to throw all this away.

It was the Corriere Dello Sport who announced that the critical talks between Conte and Steven Zhang were to take place this week. This gathering of Inter’s hierarchy was specifically called so that the President can clarify whether they will still be in charge next season or if they are considering selling the club due to the recent financial difficulties. Suning’s situation throughout the pandemic has been a tough one and their relationship with the Chinese government has raised questions over their ability to subsidise Inter in the manner they originally promised.

Conte has always spoken out when he believes the club should back him on the market. Who can forget his comment at Juventus when he said: “You cannot eat at a 100 Euro restaurant with only 10 Euro in your pocket.” There was also the fall-out at Chelsea when he went to war with Marina Granovskaia about the same topic, funds on the transfer market. There is no doubt that the coach will be asking just how much he will be able to add to the squad for next season, as they will want to fortify for the Champions League and try to continue domestic success.

Conte has been outspoken in his belief that Juventus still have the stronger squad and that the Nerazzurri need to be a match for them. He will undoubtedly ask for the club’s support again, as he believes that at times it was lacking. Reports suggest he will ask Zhang and the club to make it clear to the fans that there will be no serious funding (if this is the case) so that expectations are realistic. Of course, if funds are made available, then the pressure will be on Conte, but this is something he would relish.

If all is resolved and Inter look to the market, there will nonetheless be departures. Arturo Vidal and Aleksandar Kolarov are expected to leave and there are some other fringe players whose future is uncertain. Gazzetta dello Sport reported that the futures of up to nine players are being considered. The key for Conte would be that there are no major departures and the likes of Alessandro Bastoni, Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez, Nicolò Barella and other integral players, should all stay. They have areas that they need to look at improving on and there have been players linked to these positions. Udinese may have to fight Inter from taking the exciting Rodrigo De Paul from them in midfield. The Zebrette may see a double assault, as Juan Musso is a name lined up to potentially replace Samir Handanovic. The pink paper also reported that a left-back, a centre-back and a striker are positions Inter want to strengthen.

The league will watch and wonder just how these talks will go, as Inter could come out of this looking like a very serious machine if the financing model can be worked out. Conte already has a strong squad who are hungry and if this can be added to in force, then they will look devastating for the next campaign. They will have to be and Conte knows that, especially as Max Allegri’s return too Juventus looks imminent.

What Conte has done at Inter with the help of Beppe Marotta cannot be understated. They have a team who are organised, fearless and they have an identity. To break Juve’s dominance has not been easy, but as they stand on the verge off doing so, all thoughts look to the future. Quite simply, Inter’s legacy will be shaped behind the closed doors at Appiano Gentile and the Nerazzurri faithful hope it is a united front.

Have your say...
of course they'll crumble ... it's Inter, its in their destiny to caca the bed: tomorrow is May the 5th, the anniversary of gifting the scudetto to Juventus on the last day by choking at Lazio ...
on the 4th May, 2021 at 5:47pm

Maybe so, you never know. But Bayern play with flair and a lack of fear. Italian sides are afraid of the own shadow in Europe, unfortunately.

They all look slow and one-dimensional as well. And Conte's sides have a predictability about them in Europe. He won't change the 3-5-2 even when it's not working.

But if Boeteng of Bayern can win a CL, then there's hope for anyone lol.
on the 4th May, 2021 at 12:34pm
I don't see Inter as CL winners either, but...
Look at the Bayern side that did so well last year. Gnabry, Boateng, PL rejects; Coman, Juve reject; Tiago, Barca reject. Kimmich, Alaba, Muller, Goreztka, youth team or signed very young. Alphonso Davies Only Lewa and Neur joined as established stars. Is it impossible that Martinez, Luka, Barella, Hakimi, the 3 centre backs, Handa, Sensi, Eriksen, Brozovic cannot be the nucleus of a Challenge next year?
on the 3rd May, 2021 at 2:14pm
Definately need Gosens from Atalanta, not many better LB's around. A striker (Aguero) Hes on a free (wages obviously key). Maybe a Dm in case we lose Brozo, but then we have Agoume. Gosens and a proven striker are a must to tackle Europe.
on the 3rd May, 2021 at 12:59pm
@Forza Azzuri

Fair enough. Yes, they could do better, and really need to get out of the group next season, but Italian sides are way behind the rest.

De Paul would be a good signing, but hardly a star, given he's 27 and never played for a big side.

Gosens might be the perfect LWB for Conte. They need better back-up players (keeper/centre-backs/strikers especially), and if they do, they could go reasonably far in the CL and win the league again.
on the 3rd May, 2021 at 10:52am
@ferban - I actually think inter would do well in the CL now - we were a better team than them early, beat them in the first derby, conte pulled the team together, solved a couple gaps with perisic and hakimi and it took off from there. I’m just glad to see an Italian team dominating again, Verona fb would be another option, same with de Paul, he’s a gun, gives bench strength plus next season only 3 subs again. This team will only get stronger too, more attention on serie a means we all benefit
on the 2nd May, 2021 at 11:01pm

The delusion to hire Pirlo is laughable. The Italian Frank Lampard with even LESS experience. What did everyone expect? The only thing missing was Pirlo drinking a glass of Pillastro on the sideline

Activity in the transfer market:
Ramsay, Rabiot, Arthur, Morata - laughable, average players and a spoilt Ronaldo who costs Juve €1m per penalty. Marotta made Juventus, built a team with no money and went to 2 finals of the CL. He was Juve's biggest loss
on the 2nd May, 2021 at 6:49pm
Anyone saying Inter won because we only had the league to focus on...

Since Juve were eliminated by Porto, 9 games played - Juve won 5 (including this shambolic Udinese comeback) so just over 50% win rate. What's your excuse now for not beating Benevento? Fiorentina? Losing to Atalanta who Agnelli says are "too small to play with the best" - laughable

Don't be bitter because Agnelli sold his soul to make Juve the Gafloptico's of Serie A. Blame yourselves, congratulate Inter, Conte and Beppe
on the 2nd May, 2021 at 6:43pm
Will fall. Too many debts and players that have not been bought outright. In next years CL (if allowed to play) they will go out 1st group stages again.
on the 2nd May, 2021 at 5:03pm
A question for all here, considering the foreign owners of clubs in serieA right now, none of them seem able to spend big. Would you guys like to see owners similar to Man City/PSG take over some clubs and be actually able buy world class players instead of serieA clubs going round like the poor paupers of Europe, pathetically haggling for discounts for any player they want to buy!!
on the 2nd May, 2021 at 1:32pm
messages not working in liveblog+????
on the 2nd May, 2021 at 12:37pm
It will wither and die. The vines will rot from within. Conte will be gasping for air and water while his vines shrivel and dry.
on the 2nd May, 2021 at 12:09pm
Might be a tad short. Could be on with it but we will see the end for sure. Not making any predictions but if we come to the end and they are in it then yeah the vine will wither without fruit. Inter supporters suck anyways.
on the 2nd May, 2021 at 12:04pm
@Forza Azzurri

Calm down with the CL winners talk lol.

No Italian team is near that level, and Inter have been a shambles in that cup for a long time, as has Conte.

A Verona LB, a good, not great Udinese midfielder, and yet another epl reject does not make a CL winning team.
on the 2nd May, 2021 at 11:37am
Conte's inter will as you say, wither. bd
on the 2nd May, 2021 at 8:13am
Truth is Suning will stay and so is Conte, Moratta and the rest of the squad. However even with sponsorship injection we cannot ask for any star players to come. That era has gone. But Inter will surely invest in younger squad to match its objectives for next season. This has been a good foundation to build on a great future ahead. Sponsorships will come easily now that Inter when are confirmed as Champions.
on the 2nd May, 2021 at 6:44am
Fonzerelli This season Inter have already amassed their points total of 82pts from last season with 4 games to play. They will most likely surpass Juve's points total of 83pts, which was with a "proven" coach. While Juve won't have performed this bad under Sarri, they certainly wouldn't have won the league as the primary issue is not the coach but the squad. Pirlo was likely just a smoke screen by Agnelli to mask a deficient squad that he knew would lose the title to Inter and knocked out of CL.
on the 2nd May, 2021 at 6:25am
All looking rosey at inter, Zhang secured a loan to stop the club having to be sold or losing any players, will be interesting who they target. My guess is young talent on loan, but if they bring back di Marco, possibly Emerson and de Paul, possibly a new keeper, that’s team capable of winning CL. The gulf between inter and other teams in terms of talent is massive. Best defense, best midfield and best attack in the league by far. And I’m not even an inter supporter
on the 2nd May, 2021 at 12:41am
Why is it I always hear claims that Inter's early exit from Europe gave them an advantage in the title race, but no one has mentioned that with their run to the UEL finals last season, Inter had a much shorter break and pre-season than the other teams? Even when they started the season they had to play 3 games in 8 days to catch up on the postponed game. I’d call that having a distinct disadvantage compared to all the other teams.
on the 1st May, 2021 at 10:45pm
@Chris... are you bragging about just two more games in than Inter that you messed up so bad with that deep squad? or you don't know much about football?
on the 1st May, 2021 at 8:46pm

If anything it demonstrates a lack of understanding of the game and what has happened since Inter were eliminated from the Champions League. Its just a great job from Conte and the players

That disappointment served as a catalyst to the players and club, to re-focus. Juve only played two more games, not exactly game changing, and on top, have still to this day a much deeper squad (Vidal, Kolarov, Young are not exactly world class players anymore, especially compared to Kulusevski etc.)
on the 1st May, 2021 at 7:08pm
Chris, why are you so dishonest? Inter were already 4 points away at the top by the time European competition resumed in February. Every Serie A team in Europe except Roma got knocked out early. Don't talk as if Juventus and Milan had to play 6-8 extra mid week matches. Inter had two legs against Juve in Coppa Italia as well when Milan played Europa round of 16.

You're basically saying the rest of the title contenders still can't catch up with Inter despite focusing on the league since March.
on the 1st May, 2021 at 6:19pm
@chris ...and Juves cockiness. the fact they hired an unproven 1st year coach after 3 proven coaches, would easily win everything. juve sold it, Inter was luckier than Milan. but Conte is a great coach. they have a chance to reinforce and win more trophies next season.
on the 1st May, 2021 at 5:57pm
Let's not kid ourselves and say Inter have taken the world by storm.. They have conquered Serie A due to having nothing else to focus on.
on the 1st May, 2021 at 3:17pm
Hard to know. Probably depends in who he owner is.

If it's another American, expect sales, because they want profits first.

But if they keep their best players and sign a top LWB and a few strong back-up players, then they could easily win the league again.

But the real test is the CL, both for Conte and the club itself, who have been atrocious in the CL for a long time either side of 2010.
on the 1st May, 2021 at 1:46pm
As hard as it is to say - I hope they grow and dominate. More attention on serie a will only benefit Milan we need money - inter are the best chance of drawing more sponsorship attention to the league. Juve about to hit a rebuild, friends in Italy tell me money situation because of Ronaldo wages is worse than reported. Roma embarrassed the league in Europa, sadly shows the gulf between big leagues currently. Still praying zlatan can reverse our fortunes, although current team not gd enuf 4 CL
on the 1st May, 2021 at 12:38pm

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