Simone Inzaghi insists Inter are waiting for Christian Eriksen ‘with open arms’ and reveals his primary transfer targets at the Giuseppe Meazza.
Inzaghi has signed a two-year deal at Inter replacing Antonio Conte.
The former Chelsea and Juventus boss had won the Serie A title last season. It was Inter’s first Scudetto in 11 years, but Conte and Inter parted ways after the end of the season as Conte didn’t share the club’s vision for the future.
He knew the Nerazzurri would sell Achraf Hakimi, who has completed a €71m move to PSG.
Inzaghi admitted he had been informed Hakimi was on his way out of Inter.
Great enthusiasm and motivation, I know it is an important job, but it is a beautiful challenge that convinced me immediately.
“I knew Hakimi was destined to be sold, but I was promised the team will be competitive. The directors and I speak every day, we want to achieve better results in the Champions League because Inter haven’t played the Round of 16 since 2011,” the former Lazio coach said during his unveiling press conference.
“The directors strongly wanted to bring me here. I know the fans will be close to us,” he continued.
“We must defend the title, but we are Inter and we’ll do everything to be the champions next summer. I take this opportunity to congratulate Antonio Conte and his staff.”
Romelu Lukaku is believed to play a key role in his Inter side, while the future of Christian Eriksen remains up in the air.
The Denmark star suffered a cardiac arrest during his national teams’ opening UEFA Euro 2020 clash on June 12.
He was given urgent CPR on the pitch before getting a heart-starter device implanted.
However, it’s forbidden to play with a heart defibrillator in Serie A, as per the Cardiological Organizational Committee for Sports Fitness protocol, which was updated in 2017.
Any contact sport is forbidden in Italy with such a device implanted, while it is possible to continue playing in other leagues.
“I’ve spoken to Lukaku several times, he was disappointed for the elimination against Italy, but he is a certainty for us,” Inzaghi said.
“I also spoke to Eriksen before the Euros, not after. I counted on him. Inter did a good job in signing Calhanoglu, who is an important player. Eriksen has time to come back, we are waiting for him with open arms,” Inzaghi ensured.
“Calhanoglu and Luis Alberto have similar characteristics, Eriksen was very important in the second part of the season, but Hakan will do well.”
Inzaghi had seemed close to extending his contract with Lazio signing with Inter.
“I spent 22 incredible years at Lazio, I felt well there, I was lucky to win as a footballer and as a coach, but it was time to change,” the 45-year-old said.
“I had received many requests, but it was never the right moment to change. It’s a moment that arrives sooner or later, I didn’t think about it for too long.
“I will forever thank [Lazio President Claudio] Lotito, but you have to make decisions in life. I took one night to decide and in the end I picked Inter. Lotito was the first person I informed.”
What can fans expect from his Inter side?
“I want my team to have intensity, stay in the game and react to what can happen,” Inzaghi said.
“I coached de Vrij and I had played with Kolarov and Handanovic. It’s great to reunite with them, I will have a great relationship with them and the others.
“I like the daily pressure, otherwise I would not have accepted the Inter job. I have a great relationship with the directors, we must be able to handle the difficulties well when we face them.”
Who could replace Hakimi at the Giuseppe Meazza?
“We’ll try to sign some new players. Full-backs are important to me, so we will try to act accordingly.”
Federico Dimarco and Ivan Perisic are two options on the left. The former Hellas Verona defender has returned to the club after loan spells at Verona and Parma, while Perisic’s contract expires in June 2022, so his future at the club remains in doubt.
“Dimarco did well at Verona, he is a product of the club’s academy and we are proud of that,” claimed Inzaghi
“Perisic is in quarantine at the moment, we are waiting for him with open arms, he can be part of our system.
“Sensi will be a great resource for Inter. I respect him and I’ve already spoken with him. We must make him train in the best way,” Inzaghi concluded.
Inter’s pre-season begins at Appiano Gentile tomorrow.