The team goal was already said out loud last Christmas dinner: “It is time to win again, or at least start talking about winning.” Words of Steven Zhang, a very ambitious and meticulous type of person, used to thinking big because in the end, with his family, it has always been like that and with excellent results. What ahead is the year of turning point for Inter, in sporting sense and economically, given that this summer, the club will leave settlement agreement and can finally make their voices heard on the transfer market again. Yet, 2019 did not start according to Zhang’s expectations: one point after the first two outings, with mediocre performances and an intense dressing room. So the president took to the pitch himself personally, calling a Monday dinner with managerial staff and coach Luciano Spalletti. A way to remind this group the direction that the team must be going forward until the end of the season. All under examination, starting from the coach despite the fact that he just recently renewed until 2021. Conte’s shadow will continue to hover over Appiano and Spalletti’s future is undoubtedly linked to results: there is third place to be confirmed, would be a lot better if the club can conquer a trophy. In this sense, the game on Thursday against Lazio becomes already decisive. For Spalletti and also for the team.
Certainty – Whatever the results are going to be, the team will be revolutionized. Between contracts to be renew or those that are expiring, it is normal to expect big change partly because only 8 current players are certainly staying. Except for major surprises, the remaining ones are Icardi, Skriniar, Brozovic, Handanovic, Asamoah, De Vrij, Lautaro and Politano which Inter will have to redeem from Sassuolo for €20M. This will be based on whoever are leaving, the probable big money coming in for Skriniar and Brozo. But if you want a great project, you keep your best players.
In balance – Meanwhile Nainggolan, D’Ambrosio, Dalbert, Cedric and Keita, on the other hand, are uncertain for several reasons. The impact of Nainggolan in Milan has been disappointing so far, a bit of physical problems and a bit of his attitude are not always in line with the club’s objectives. Radja was the biggest investment last season and if things do not change course, he can leave in the summer. D’Ambrosio looks to renew contract that expires in 2011 but this is not a priority at the moment. Dalbert has never fully convinced and in the coming months, he will have to prove that he is worthy of wearing the Inter shirt. Same goes for Cedric who just arrived on loan: he will have to show that he deserves the €11M redemption fee. Keita Balde has been convincing but €34M to sign him permanently is a huge obstacle. Inter would like to make that number a bit lower, and maybe by Thursday night, we could see Miranda going to AS Monaco. His move there could lower the cash demand for Keita’s redemption.
Bye bye – Miranda was the first player to become unhappy at this club, Perisic was the last in order of time. But the list of departures is very long and will also include Candreva but only in the summer. Yesterday, Inter told the player that they want to keep him and Ausilio excluded his departure in the evening: “With time and patience, this club will do great things. But our market is closed.” From July on, it is an open game. Joao Mario has suitcase in hand despite being the surprise of the season. Borja Valero will leave and Vecino and Gagliardini will end up on the market, already wanted by Premier League and La Liga, as well as Fiorentina. Vrsaljko could already say goodbye now to return to Atletico Madrid and have a knee surgery. Ranocchia, Berni, Padelli have expiring contract and will not be renewed. At least not until June, and then who knows. Meanwhile, Inter must return to winning or start talking about success. This is the input of Zhang and it does not allow for any misinterpretation.