Gianluca Pagliuca has cast an eye on Samir Handanovic’s recent form and assesses that Inter must not ‘sacrifice’ him this summer.
The Slovenian is in improved form of late for the Nerazzurri and has saved penalties from Maxi Lopez and Antonio Cassano in the team’s consecutive wins at Sampdoria and Parma.
For one of Inter’s most notable former goalkeepers of recent years, this run is no surprise and should be given recognition.
“He has always saved penalties, this year he has saved three and the last two were significant because they coincided with two wins for Inter away from home, which is the fundamental key to reaching the Europa League,” Pagliuca has explained to Tuttosport today.
“It is true, last year he saved fewer, but that can happen. Handanovic is a specialist and the saves against Sampdoria and Parma count as much as goals in victory.
“Is it a talent or can you train for it? One has it or doesn’t have it. With practice you can improve, but it is a natural gift.
“Of course, you then have to do other things, such as study the opponents - I watched DVDs, documented the methods of the specialists and it think Handanovic does this well.”
Pagliuca was asked how Handanovic’s season as a whole has been and on the prospect of Inter considering his sale, to raise funds for other activity in the summer transfer market.
“He started so so, but he has recovered to being great and is having a super season finale.
“He made a couple of mistakes against Parma in the first meeting this season and against Atalanta but the performances have been good and you cannot place him in doubt.
“Handanovic did well last year, when he also had the ghost of Julio Cesar to drive off. Apart from Gianluigi Buffon, he remains the best in Serie A.
“Should Inter stick with him then? Absolutely, he is a player that makes the difference. Certainly, though, if they were to receive an offer of €70m to €80m…otherwise they must sacrifice someone else.”
The suggestion is that Francesco Bardi will be brought back from a loan spell at Livorno for next year, if Handanovic is sold.
“He has an assured future, he is a great prospect and has played a good season but he is still young and needs to play with continuity.
“I would send him out on loan again and would defer any decision to summer 2015 - right now Inter must start with Handanovic.”