Ok, ok. So I know I have been a little lazy in the whole blog department, but I am here now so lets make the most of it. While there hasn't been a whole lot of movement on the transfer front (read: none), there is still stuff to discuss. Oh, and Inter still has seven players heading into the quarter finals of the World Cup. Hooray for them! (and no, those are not actually my feet or popsicles. Everyone happy now?)
First of all, Inter's market has been moving glacially slow. I would like to think that this is because the club is making smart choices and holding out for good deals instead of chasing the first pretty face that catches Rafa's eye and throwing good money after bad. What I am afraid of, though, is that with all this talk of fair play, everyone needs to sell before they can buy, which means that there is no movement, any where. It is all very nerve wracking, especially given that each day there is no real news to report, the rumors become exponentially crazy (like trading Cambiasso for Mascherano - Yikes).
Alright, so there has been some movement. An itsy-bitsy amount of movement. Luca Castellazzi (right) is officially an Inter player until 2012. Toldo has moved into the front office while Orlandoni has renewed for another year. That means that Julio Cesar will finally get that Number 1 jersey while Castellazzi will be our second keeper. Orlandoni will continue on as third for another season while Vid Belec is going on loan to Crotone. As Inter has renewed their co-ownership with Bologna for Viviano, Inter is set for keepers for the next few years. It is too bad that Toldo decided to retire during the summer. It would have been nice to give him a proper San Siro send off.
Youtube phenom and Brazilian wonder boy Phillipe Coutinho has finally come to Milan. There was some talk of him going out on loan to get a little Serie A experience, but so far there has been no word of that and both Parma and Chievo say that Inter has not contacted them about a loan. Philippe wants to be Inter's new Adriano. Well, that is all well and good but I can do without another alcoholic party boy with a table full of salt. Lets just hope he goes for only Adriano's virtues and leaves the vices alone. There is a lot of hype around this boy. I am reserving judgment until I see him acutally play a game for us. I just dont trust Youtube.
Other "additions" to the team are mostly players either coming back from loan deals or co-ownerships that have been settled in Inter's favor. Two of the latter are Mariga and Biabiany, both from Parma. Biabiany is an Inter youth product the club is calling back while we all saw Mariga in action last season. I guess he made the cut because now he is 100% Inter.
According to that paragon of truthiness (tm Steven Colbert), goal.com, Inter has purchased half of Andrea Ranocchia for 7.5 million euro from Genoa. This is the first have heard of this so take it with a large dose of salt (preferably followed by a shot of tequila and a refreshing squeeze of lime). Now, I am not saying that Inter didn't, certainly he has been a target since last winter, but I was under the impression that we had a deal to make a deal with Genoa (sort of like being engaged to get engaged). Preziosi says that Ranocchia will play next season with Genoa so dont look for him in black and blue any time soon.
Other transfer targets are proving more slippery. Branca, along with half the civilized world, has his eye on German phenom Ozil, but, much like 80% of professional footballers, he only has eyes for Barcelona. Given that Barca are returning his affections, Inter and Branca really dont have a chance. Best just to move on.
Rafa still has a huge chorizo for Mascherano. Funny enough, Barcelona also have him their sights and we all know that what ever baby wants, baby gets. Well, that and Liverpool are being a bit contrary and have totally inflated his price. Unfortunately for us Inter fans, the Plan B in this case seems to be the brutish and general waste-of-space Filipe Melo. I just cant believe that any one would actually pay cash money for that walking foul - in fact, I think that Juve should have to pay a club to come haul him away. In case it wasn't completely obvious, I dont much like this target.
Strangely enough, Inter has also been linked with Palermo's Cavani although I think that has all fallen away. The speculation here is that originally Mou wanted Milito so Inter was looking at Cavani as a sort of replacement (he would play the wide role and Eto'o in the center). Hence the linkage and Cavani expressing his undying love for the Nerazzurri in an interview with La Gazzetta. Now, though, that Higuain is doing well at the World Cup and Milito is decidedly not, Mou has dropped our Prince like a hot rock and so Cavani's love will go unrequited. I know, it is like an opera libretto, or perhaps the plot to an old Melrose Place episode. The upshot is, Milito gets his raise, we fans get his "I love Inter" sound bites, and Cavani gets to go to England.
As for other transfer targets, there has been mention of Elano (meh) and more recently, Dutch international Eljero Elia (at right; now him, I like). Elia is getting lots of positive exposure at the World Cup and I cant help but think that every completed pass for the Netherlands adds half a million on to his asking price. This one may be a long shot as well. Speaking of the Dutch, I think the Kyut thing has finally gone away. I dont know if he was actually ever a serious target, though, or just a press fantasy.
And now we turn to our summer drama: As the Full Backs Turn.
When we last visited Defender Island, Maicon was being courted by the dastardly Perez, who, for some unknown reason, had decided that this year was the year he was going to finally get fiscally responsible. As such, although he was flashing some cash, it wasn't anywhere near enough to turn the head of our hero, Sr. Moratti. In fact, it was such a pittance (20 million euro) as to be almost insulting. So Moratti sent Perez packing. Still, though, with the possibility of Maicon's departure hanging over the head of the club like a poisonous spider, the club did what it could to protect its interests - it started looking around for a replacement. Names like Michel Bastos (from Lyon) and Uruguayan Matais Aguirregaray...
As we rejoin our story, we find that...
Everything is exactly the same as when we left. Perez has inched up on the offer to 28, which is still a good deal below the 35 Inter was asking. It is thought that a compromise of 30 million would be accepted, but as of yet, no such offer has come. Which is a problem for Inter. Without that money, the club cannot move on other purchases like Aguirregaray. Although he has "chosen Inter," he may not get to actually play here.
His agent has set a deadline for June 30 (today) and if Inter doesn't finalize, then the kid will go elsewhere (he is the one on the left in the photo above - lucky #13). Why does everything have to be so difficult? We get his hopes up only to have to dash them. Mean ol' Mr. Perez. See the pain you are causing? We all know you want Maicon as a special wedding present for Mou. Well, if you can spend a gagillion billion euro on CRon and Kaka, then I just dont see how 30 million for Maicon will break your bank. Just pony up the two million more so we can all get on with our lives.
So far, no one has made any firm offers for any other Inter players. Well, Roma really really really want Burdisso, but not enough to actually pay for him. To be fair, they dont have two thin dimes to rub together. The club is standing firm - 8 million. One thought is that Roma will sell Mexes to Juventus to raise the cash - which makes me giggle 'cause that is like killing two birds with one stone. Inter gets cash and I get to watch Mexes concede goals for Juve. Hooray! (not that I think Juve would be silly enough to actually buy Mexes - yikes) Anyway, 8 million is less than Inter could get for him on the open market so as far as I am concerned, Roma are already getting a good deal. How they come up with the cash is their problem.
Milan did not take up the option to buy Mancini so he will supposedly be coming back to the fold. The thought is that he will go back on loan next season to Milan, because just having him on someone else's roster is worth giving him away for free, except that now there is a thought that Lyon might like him. If so, perhaps he can be used to sweeten a possible Bastos deal (who has been begging Lyon to let him come to the Serie A). Bastos, though, is one more thing that hinges on Maicon. (I will bet you all cash money right now that Inter draw Real Madrid in the CL groups).
As for Muntari, everyone seems to take it for granted that he will be sold back to England somewhere, possibly as part of a Mascherano deal. Unfortunately, Muntari says that he doesn't want to go anywhere. As far as I know, no club has made an offer on Muntari anyway. For now, he stays, I guess. Maybe if he does something besides argue with the coach in South Africa, a few clubs will take notice.
Speaking of South Africa, as I said, Inter have seven player about to enter into the quarter finals with their respective national teams: Muntari (Ghana), Sneijder (the Netherlands), Julio Cesar, Maicon, Lucio (Brazil), Milito and Samuel (Argentina).
This Friday will be particularly hard for my heart as Brazil take on the Netherlands. Maybe there is a way they can both go on and Spain can go home instead. Maybe the entire Spanish National team will get red carded for being whiny little bitches, divers, and generally insufferable and both Brazil and the Dutch will get to go on. I know, unlikely, but a girl can dream. (I dont like the Spanish National Team. It is my opinion and no amount of flaming will change my mind so dont even bother.)
Ghana also play on Friday, they will take on Uruguay. You know, Ghana just may take them, too. Saturday morning, Argentina will meet their toughest opponent yet, Germany. This will be a real test for squad and for Maradona as coach. If he pulls this off, people may actually start to take him seriously. Well, at least until he runs naked around the obelisk in Buenos Aires.
As for Inter's "American Tour," it has expanded a bit to include Canada as well. As far as I know, the schedule now stands at:
Baltimore: Inter v Manchester City, July 31
Toronto: Inter v Panathinaikos, August 3
Dallas: Inter v Dallas FC, August 5.
Even though they have not admitted it on their web page, the Galaxy date has been canceled. My ticket rep said that a "really big team" would soon be announced to take Inter's place, but I really dont care. If you bought Inter v Galaxy tickets, I suggest you call the club 'cause I dont think that game will happen. I think tickets are available from Ticket Master for the other games.
Well, I guess that is about it. If I have missed anything, please post it to the comments.
Thanks for the video, Paolo