For the third season in a row, it is a dawn of a new era at Inter, though as Varun Mathure writes, this year seems to be the real one after a few dress rehearsals.
The past season brought about plethora of changes in the black and blue half of Milan. For the first time in 19 years, Inter start a season without Massimo Moratti as owner and without their iconic No 4 Javier Zanetti.
Four years ago, the Nerazzurri were the defending Italian and European champions, but now their main objective for the season ahead will be a top-three finish and securing qualification back to the Champions League.
Under Erick Thohir the summer has seen the San Siro side bring new faces in, but perhaps the most important acquisitions from Manchester United were that of the commercial staff, for now. The Indonesian media magnate’s primary aim at the club seems to be opening up the revenue streams again in a bid to compete financially with the European heavyweights.
This sort of pragmatism has seen Inter spend their money wisely in the transfer market. The only player Inter have signed on a permanent basis is Gary Medel for €12.5m, with the other four arrivals being either free transfers or loan deals.
The most notable acquisition was sealed in February in the form of Nemanja Vidic - at 32, the question of whether the Serbian’s best days are behind him is certainly a valid one, but one that can only be answered over the course of the season.
Inter’s new captain Andrea Ranocchia will still feel he has something to prove, and being personally nominated for the role by Javier Zanetti should have given him a boost in confidence. The 26-year-old will also know that he has to run with his new role, and cannot afford to be inconsistent as he has been in the previous years.
The other new arrivals this season have been Yann M’Vila, Dodo and Dani Osvaldo – three players who are also hungry to impress. M’Vila brings more steel into the midfield, and Dodo is a player who provides options out wide. Osvaldo is a curious case, as he’s not shown himself to be reliable, but he can be decisive on his day.
There will likely be a couple more additions before the end of the month, with Alessio Cerci and Jonathan Biabiany being two players that the Serpenti are keen on. Rumours also persist of Inter trying to swap Fredy Guarin for Javier Hernandez with Manchester United, in a move that would make sense for both teams.
With a bigger squad to choose from than last season, Coach Walter Mazzarri definitely has been provided with more tactical options, whilst Inter are expected to make the Europa League proper.
There is a general feeling that the club have done well in the transfer market so far, and with the addition of another forward player the squad could be ready to challenge for a top three position.
The ex-Napoli tactician’s future was in doubt at certain points last season, but he has received the backing of Erick Thohir once again in the form of a one-year extension. However, he will have to justify the faith placed in him with results on the pitch and an improvement on last year.
For the second season in a row, Inter fans and pundits are placing the team’s chances at the feet of the young Croat. The 20-year-old is a bundle of talent, and he will hope to get more regular first team football. He is the only out-and-out creative player in the squad, and Inter need him to deliver.
The Chilean was brilliant at the World Cup, and for €12.5m he could prove to be the bargain of the summer. Medel can play in defence and in midfield effortlessly, and he might just be the man to protect Mazzarri’s back-three from being overrun as it often was last season.
The Argentine-Italian didn’t have the best of times at Southampton, but stated he is eager to put that spell behind him. With Antonio Conte now in charge of the Azzurri, Osvaldo could get his name back in contention for the Nazionale with some good displays.
Handanovic; Ranocchia, VIDIC, Juan Jesus; D’Ambrosio, MEDEL, Kovacic, M’VILA, Nagatomo; Palacio, Icardi
The top three in Italy are quite superior to the rest as things stand, but Inter can make a case to be the best of the rest. However, with Conte’s departure from Juventus and Roma’s added Champions League duties, there could be unforeseen movements this season.
|Berni (Torino)||GK||Castellazzi (retired)||GK|
|Vidic (Manchester United)||D||Zanetti (retired)||D|
|Silvestre (Milan)||D||Samuel (released)||D|
|Dodo (Roma)||D||Rolando (Porto)||D|
|Mbaye (Livorno)||D||Wallace (Vitesse)||D|
|Medel (Cardiff City)||M||Mudingayi (released)||M|
|M'Vila (Rubin Kazan)||M||Cambiasso (released)||M|
|Obi (Parma)||M||Taider (Southampton)||M|
|Schelotto (Parma)||M||Milito (Racing Club)||A|