What to expect from Inter in 2021-22

by | Aug 16, 2021 14:27

With the future of champions Inter looking incredibly uncertain, Rich Hall takes a look at what’s gone wrong for the Nerazzurri this summer, and what it means for the season ahead…

“Inter are the team to beat,” insisted Juventus’s Leonardo Bonucci. “In the title race, the details will make the difference.”

It seemed his remarks were almost tongue in cheek, especially when he added that it would be ‘action in the transfer market’ that could define this season. As such, the situation looks bleak for the Nerazzurri. No sooner had they begun to bask in their rediscovered glory, they had to quickly comprehend the foundations of both this and future victories had been taken away. Asking Inter to retain the Scudetto with inadequate resources is surely an impossible task.

There has to be some sympathy with the club’s owners, the Suning Holdings Group. They are victims of the pandemic and in the grip of the Chinese government, as has been well documented. Covid-19 severely damaged their finances and the Chinese government also acted to bring money back into the country, preventing Suning from investing. So much so, that they had to get a bridging loan with heavy interest rates, just so that Inter could enter all of next year’s competitions by meeting their financial commitments.

Zhang to lose control of Inter?

This has quickly seen the Nerazzurri go from victors to vanquished. However, the blow would’ve been softened if communication had been better, not just between Suning and the fans, but internally as well. At the start when it looked like this may be happening, Antonio Conte was vocal about leaving as the club would not be able to continue the project as he wanted. Squad improvements would not be happening and the mister decided to leave.

Giuseppe Marotta made it clear that the club needed to sell some assets, as they needed to raise €80-100m through player sales and reduce the wage bill by 10-15%. So far so good in this respect, especially as Simone Inzaghi was recruited from Lazio. This bright young coach has pedigree, plays with a similar system, uses youth players and has worked on a shoestring budget before. It was then loosely communicated that Achraf Hakimi would be sold to Paris Saint-Germain for €60m, as it is better losing a wing-back than one of your star forwards.

Still things seemed calm and collected. Federico Dimarco was returning from his loan and could fill Hakimi’s position. He is also an outstanding talent and it seemed that if Inter sold the likes of Arturo Vidal, Aleksandar Kolarov and Radja Nainggolan, plus other players of this age and calibre, things should look okay next season. The Nerazzurri could still compete while integrating talented youth products such as Lucien Agoume and Martin Satriano.

This is why the sale of Romelu Lukaku has shocked Inter supporters. Reports in Italy claimed that Marotta and Inzaghi were furious about the transfer, as it had not been communicated to them. Inter had gone from making the best of a bad situation to committing footballing suicide.

Marotta against Lukaku’s sale, Inzaghi ‘furious’

One can speculate that the huge fee offered by Chelsea enables Suning to repay a lot of the bridging loan with the high interest rate, but one can only guess. From a footballing perspective, things seem to be going from bad to worse. Especially when the news leaked that Inter could only spend approximately €50m of the fee and they were still prepared to sell more players.

Christian Eriksen may also have to leave, as his medical tests will not be sufficient for him to meet the requirements to play in Serie A. Edin Dzeko, Joaquin Correra, Denzel Dumfries and Nahitan Nandez wouldn’t be bad as new signings, but they aren’t at the same level as the players they’re replacing. Dzeko in particular will not have the same impact as Lukaku – it seems that the Nerazzurri are shopping for an engine for their Ferrari in a used parts scrapyard.

It is for this reason that a title challenge seems impossible, with Inter hoping they can finish in the top four. It is uncertain who will leave, whose heads will be turned and just what will be left of this squad come the start of the season. It’s a shame that a great title-winning side could not be built on. Instead, the future is unclear for the Nerazzurri and it seems as though they will be struggling to compete financially until Suning either sell or manage to secure major investment. Maybe then, Inter can rise from the deep once again.

@RichHall80

Football Italia’s full season preview will be published in early September.

Simone Inzaghi at Inter

12 Comments

  1. Interista23

    This article will age very badly. Inter can’t claim to be favourites perhaps, but there are many positives if one looks closer than a passing glance. Inzaghi has played better football with half a squad in the friendlies than Conte managed in two seasons with his regressive, one-dimensional style. Lukaku’s goal tally was largely a result of the midfield/wingbacks piling chances on a plate for him, and his disappearing acts against Juve won’t be missed. The squad now has greater balance despite lacking individual names, providing a fluidity that has already been apparent in preseason. As shown with his results/trophies with a largely poor Lazio squad, Inzaghi has proven he can maximise potential in his players, and this Inter is head-and-shoulders above Lazio’s level. One more decent signing up front and I think these overblown fears of any struggles on the pitch can be put to bed. This Inter also still boasts the best defence in the league, with a stacked midfield full of goals and creativity that was constrained by Conte’s stubbornness, but now will be unleashed by Simone. Inter will finish in the top 2.

  2. I MISS MARCO BRANCA AT INTER

    Who is really concerned as long as they finish top 4 in Serie A. It’s how Inter finishes in Europe. Last year every single italian team made it past the group stage in Europe except Inter ! and to be exact, they finished last in their Group and in the process set the italian record as the only Italian team to fail to pass the Champions League group stage 3 years in a row and this record is active so if they fail to pass the group stage Inter with set the italian record as the only Italian team to fail to pass the Champions League group stage 4 years in a row smashing their own record. Not to mention their other things …. like going over year in between champions league wins, the first time Inter ever finished last in the champions league group stage and let’s not forget that conte’s inter was the first inter to ever lose to Real Madrid at home. In short, Inter has a lot of work to do in Europe because In Europe, when people think of the black and blue team from Italy they think Atalanta !!

  3. FERBAN

    Despite the 2 poor sales (though 115m for a 28yo is not too bad provided the replacement is good – and so far it hasn’t been, with an over-the-hill Dzeko the only arrival), the rest of the squad is still pretty decent.
    Another thing going for them is Inzaghi. He got the best out of a pretty average Lazio squad, with little money spent, and should do better with a superior Inter squad. Top 4 is very likely, and 1st not out of the question either. The problem at Inter could be the long-term ambitions. Will Barella, Martinez, Bastoni, Skriniar want to stay at a broke club?
    As for the CL, Inzaghi surely can’t be any worse than Conte? But unless they get a proper replacement for Lukaku, they can forget (like all Serie A sides) about going far in Europe.

  4. I MISS JUVE IN SERIE B

    @I MISS MARCO BRANCA AT INTER… when people think of the black and white team from Italy they think bunch of Zebras running every damn year to win CL yet they fail again! Their fans never understood Zebras don’t play football, they just run!

  5. Borche

    The club did what had to be done. I was gutted for Rom leaving the first few days, but eventually I realized that his value would most likely be halved next summer. if they are able to get Zapata and Dzeko for third of that sum, it’s not bad business. They are betting on Lautaro coming out of Lukaku’s shadow and be the leader, so let’s see how that goes. Even in the betting office, Inter is 2nd favorite for scudetto, slightly behind Juve. Lower expectations will actually be good for them.

    @Branca: must be sad life when your main satisfaction is not your team’s success, but your rival’s failure. And Inter are the reigning champions of Italy and the last Italian team to win CL. Juve’s last win came quarter of a century ago, and in the last 3 seasons you went out to Ajax, Lyon and Porto. You ruined Ronaldo shot at being the GOAT. Inter might have underperformed in Europe in the last couple of years, but Juve has too! Going out in the group stage or last 16 barely different. I know you think group stage exit is much worse, but it isn’t. Tt gives you so much satisfaction tho, writing about it on every Inter related blog for 10 months now. So enjoy it man, enjoy 🙂

  6. I MISS MARCO BRANCA AT INTER

    @I MISS JUVE IN SERIE B

    It’s kinda hard to criticize Juve’s Champions League performance when Inter has not played a round of 16 match in the competition in the last 10 years! Juve went From Serie B to the CL finals in 8 years how hard can it be 😉 but i get it, Inter’s first trophy in 11 years coincides with their worst result in Champions League ever….coincidence ? I THINK NOT !!!

  7. Stankovic

    Inter, the champion21/22

  8. Edin

    Wow what a great article. I mean the intelligence and thought put in to this article is second to none. Lets brainstorm together Richard Hall. Inter have the best midfield in the division by a mile. Couple that with Sensi and Vecino being fit and it only gets better. They were forced to sell Lukaku? Maybe if you open your mind to think a little, could it be that Inter wanted to sell Lukaku? 115 Million for any player is extraordinary money and Inter took it. Look at the team first. Dzeko might not be Lukaku, but Dzeko, Zapata Correa Insigne might be better. Only a simpleton might consider Inter winning the title as impossible since we have the best defense in the division by a mile. What team will compete with them this year? Lets see, Juve with Arthur Bentacour and Locatelli in the middle? What would they do vs Brozo Barella Chala Sensi? Locatelli wouldnt even have been called up to the Euro if not for Sensi and Pellegirini getting injured. Napoli? probably more suited to winning than Juventus except they will have Juan Jesus starting CB. Milan? with who? Giroud who is 35 years just like Dzeko? or Ibra who is injured and is 40 years old? Roma? Atalanta? Lazio? Who is better than Inter right now? They played with 2 strikers all season last year and still won the title, what do you think will happen when they have a stacked bench. Lets not forget Dumfries who is not as fast as Hakimi but a monster on the wing. Add two of Zapata Correa Insigne and get Nandez and we will stroll. Use the brain before you write and stop spewing recycled garbage you read.

  9. who me ?

    inter is a mad cap club. after finally winning the scudetto after a decade long reign by juve instead of building on it they totally implode with conte leaving, then hakimi, then their star foward lukaku… absolute joke. mighta well let ac milan win the title. iv never seen a club throw it all in the trash after such a great winning season.

  10. I MISS MARCO BRANCA AT INTER

    @ who me? a great winning season? LMAO !! read this and you tell me if this is your idea of a great season:

    in Champions League they finished last in their Group and in the process set the italian record as the only Italian team to fail to pass the Champions League group stage 3 years in a row and this record is active so if they fail to pass the group stage Inter with set the italian record as the only Italian team to fail to pass the Champions League group stage 4 years in a row smashing their own record. Not to mention their other things …. like going over year in between champions league wins, the first time Inter ever finished last in the champions league group stage and let’s not forget that conte’s inter was the first inter to ever lose to Real Madrid at home. In short, Inter has a lot of work to do in Europe because In Europe, when people think of the black and blue team from Italy they think Atalanta !!

  11. Borche

    @ Branca: OMG this guy :)))). You are so persistent, I started to like you :)). I already know what are the must watch games for you next season: Inter’s 6 CL group games! 🙂 Forget about Juve games, your goal in life is Inter not passing the group stage in CL and extending the record only you count :)). And then you can keep writing about it on every article about Inter :)). Your sweet spot, your comfort zone :))

  12. I MISS MARCO BRANCA AT INTER

    @Borche: If Inter break the record them maybe for Once all Serie A teams can pass the group stage in Europe and not all Italian teams except Inter can pass the group stage in Europe !!

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