Is Inter to be Italy’s Arsenal?

Moratti has realized his 15 year old dream/obsession of taking over his father’s team and leading them to the heights of the World. There is evidence that Moratti has quickly replaced those already attained objectives with new ones I don’t have a lot of direct evidence for a lot of this stuff. All I tried to do is follow the money – and Moratti’s declarations when he’s made them and see where the club is going.

Moratti’s new goals as I imagine them to be:
1. Build a club owned stadium so that Inter can compete with other clubs abroad.
2. Leave a healthy club to one of his sons: Angelomario, the VP of the team.
3. Leave his son with a club that can compete in Europe. Making money is a dream.

He has his motives for these objectives. The first is that the economy won’t support the old way the game was run in Italy anymore. Ernesto Paolillo (the chief operating officer for the club and holds several other titles at the club as well) has warned Inter fans on more than one occasion that “the old times are over, as football is close to collapse.”

Inter isn’t the only asset of the Moratti’s that has been draining the coffers. Saras, the oil refinery business and main income for the Moratti family, has seen a slow down. But together this situation is a headache for Moratti who is being asked by fans (including me!) to spend.

So why a stadium?

Simply said, it’s game day revenue. English and Spanish clubs of the same stature as Inter make more than twice – sometimes 4 time more - the amount of money that Inter take home on game day alone, plus they don’t have to pay a rental fee of over 10 million € a year for the privilege of earning so much less than other clubs in Europe.

Here’s some perspective for you: Inter can compete with the Manchester Uniteds and the Real Madrids in TV money. According to the famous Swiss Rambler article, in 2010 Real Madrid, the biggest earner in TV rights in Europe in 2010, made a little less than 40 million € more over a year than Inter made. However, in terms of game day revenue, it’s not quite so sanguine. Real, not even the table’s leaders in match day revenue totaled over a year are almost 4 times richer than Inter.

These numbers aren’t even taking into effect the real benefit to a stadium: scheduling friendlies, concerts, other sporting events, Inter Campus events for charitable tax breaks and normal events like conventions.
Okay so all the benefits of owning a stadium is pretty basic. I think we all got a pretty good handle on that. Here’s the hard part and hence the title of this article: selecting a model to follow that lets us build a stadium and maintain Champions League position.

Let’s dispel a thought right now: Moratti isn’t going to shell out his personal money to build a stadium. First of all, I don’t think he has half a billion € lying around in a lump sum. Neither do the board of directors. The money has to come from a bank. We all know, or should know that Moratti has been scouting locations for his new stadium and it looks like he’s found a likely candidate. Now he has said for years that he wants the basic setup that Bayern Munchen have. Fine.

Here’s hard part #2: Moratti needs to get his books in order – for a bank, sure, but also for UEFA which won’t wait for the Stadium to come to implement the Fair Play Directive. Remember (and this is why I have brought up the Swiss Rambler’s article ), Inter has been losing upwards of 150 million € plus every year. However those numbers are from before the Ibra sale. I would bet that since then wage redemption, player sales and trophy winnings basically earned us over 200 million € to help us get the house in order.

Consider this: all the players we sold over the past year and a half were basically replaced with Andrea Ranocchia, Mariga, Coutinho, Castellazzi, Andreolli and Biabiany equaling a cost of under 30 million for the 6 players, half of which is taken up by Ranocchia alone. Plus it should be noted that we aren’t paying Andreolli’s salary yet and Mariga, Coutinho, Biabiany and Castellazzi all make 1 m€ or less each (Castellazzi is the only one who makes 1 m€. The others make less than that).

So leading up to any sort of talk about bank financing for a stadium and Financial Fair play, Moratti and Branca are definitely dumping salaries or selling players – or doing both and replacing them with as many low wage earning young guys as they can find that won’t cost too much. Sound like any team in England in particular? And by low, I mean low. Mariga at about .8 m€ per year is quite a drop from Patrick Vieira who was on 5.5 m€ and remember at the time, Mariga was pretty much a direct replacement for Vieira.

So it’s clear that Moratti and Branca have started Inter’s Era of Financial Reform by upheaval of the personnel wages. If one’s goals are to run the team cheaply, then I would have to agree that this is the place to start. No longer are we going to pay a starter’s wage for a backup. Two seasons ago the top 15 earners for Inter according to La Gazzetta included Patrick Vieira at 5.5, Quaresma at 3.5, Mancini at 3.5 and Suazo at 3.5 m€ per year. Everyone else in the top 15 was a major contributor. As of right now, only Suazo is on that list. For those who are counting, that’s 16 million € in dead weight salary redeemed in 18 months.

Further, the wages at the top are down. Eto’o, our highest earner was earning 10.5 m€ two seasons ago. He’s at 8 this season. We have 7 players at or under a million € this season. We had 4 two seasons ago.

Clearly, we are relying on younger, cheaper players this season compared to last season and we are light years ahead of the season before. So let’s take a look at our own youth sector and see where we are at in terms of available personnel.

Youth

A Brief Youth Team Report:

Inter’s youth team in its current state owes everything to Giacinto Facchetti. It was during his “tenure” as president that he urged Moratti to invest heavily in the youth sector back in 2004. As a result Inter has the best South American scout network in Italy and the most funded youth academy in Italy – about 6-10 million € per year. Young players like to come to Inter’s youth Academy because they know that they might train with the senior squad and be placed in a situation where they can play. That might not be at Inter, but they will see action on the field at whatever level they are and Inter has a good record developing players into Serie A or B players.

Between last summer, when I started trying to be earnest about keeping track (honestly, the bigwigs in the front office do not make it easy for us) and this winter, Inter has bought (or loaned, or co-owned) 17 youth players and either stuck them on the primavera or sent them right back out for loan. Inter has sold 4 youth players outright – 3 of them going to Milan for around 6 or 7 million €.

Inter had placed 30 players – that I can track, there are probably more – in loans and co-owns this summer and winter. I had a tentative list up this past summer in the Update – Orama post that also served as the Pana – Inter friendly in the US game review if you want to look at the names. The not complete winter additions list is:

Jacub Vojtus – Inter to Chievo – Loan
Francesco Bardi – Livorno to Inter – Loan
Federico Mannini – Siena to Inter – Loan
Tallo Gadji Junior – Chievo to Inter – Loan with option to Buy
Riccardo Bocalon – Portogruaro to Inter to Viareggio

Okay, here’s the short version that I think everyone will be more (hopefully) interested to read. These are the players that were pointed out to me as either getting quality Serie A experience or are still on the primavera team and are considered prospects:

Youth Breakdown

Viviano: In think that Viviano is a youth prospect because I consider Goalkeepers at 25 to still be very young. Anyway, he’s doing a great job in Bologna. There is heavy rumor mutterings that he is going to join Inter very soon.
Simone Benedetti (19) and Lorenzo Paramatti (15) are young defenders who are currently playing in Torino and Bologna youth teams respectively. Or Inter's primavera. It depends on the source. Both are considered up and comers.
Luca Siligardi (22) is an attacking midfielder playing for the Bologna senior team.
Rene Krhin (20) is a center midfielder that a lot of us like in the Cambiasso mold. He’s been injured this season and hasn’t played a lot for Bologna, where he’s loaned.
Marco Davide Faraoni (19) playing with the primavera. When we bought Marco there was a lot of hype surrounding him as a hot prospect.
Lorenzo Crisetig (17) Lorenzo is a 17 year old MF/DF playing with 20 year olds. He has also made appearances for the Italy U21 team this summer. He’s a name to remember as he’s on the fast track up the line.
Luca Caldirola (19) Former captain, defender, of the Primavera team, Caldirola is currently in the first division in Holland for Vitesse. There is a lot of talk of him being recalled.
Mattia Destro (19) Forward playing for Genoa. I would rather he was back here.
Alen Stevanovic (20) Attacking midfielder playing in Torino. He made the Inter senior squad for one game last season.
Donati (20) Defender who played a nice game with Inter in a Coppa game is currently on loan to Lecce in Serie A where he’s only got a handful of games.
Natalino, Biraghi and Alibec are all primavera players who have played with the senior squad at some point.

Okay, some reality now. These are all nice young players and I hope that everyone of them works out to our advantage. But the reality of the situation is that almost all of these guys are going to be shipped out at some point. If four of these guys makes the senior squad in consecutive seasons, Inter would have done their job.

The Arsenal of Italy?

Let’s get back to that model that I think Inter is trying to follow. I think that at some point when it became obvious that Mourinho was going to leave, Moratti and Branca sat down and looked at the squad. Cesar, Castellazzi, Orlandoni, Cordoba, Zanetti, Materazzi, Lucio, Samuel, Chivu, Stankovic, Cambiasso, Suazo and Milito are all over 30. And only Chivu and Cambiasso are right at 30. Everyone else is over 31. 13 out of 27 players are over 30 on the roster. In the next 3 years, or so, half this entire team is going to have retired.

Now there are some safeguards in place. Ranocchia and Santon are already in house. Andreolli is coming in the summer, according to rumor. Viviano has already been selected for the After Cesar. But there is no way that Inter can pay out for the replacement of 13 players, plus the 4 or so young guys who won’t be back next season because they showing that they aren’t good enough now.

If Inter is going to have to cut back on paying transfer fees and on wage bills to fit under Fair Play and to also make payments on the supposed new stadium – doesn’t that mean that we will need to make significantly less transfers and any transfers that we make be for younger players who won’t need to be paid as much as older vets? If there are restrictions on fees and wages, won’t that make promoting young players more likely despite playing ability?

I know that a lot of this is speculation; again, I am just trying to make sense of what the hell is going on with the finances of this team and the current policy. Maybe I am giving them too much credit and they don’t have things as all planned out this way. Maybe this is all more haphazard than I suggest it is. Here’s the question I am asking myself… if this is close to being true, how do I feel about it, having been given a giant spoonful in the first half of the season?

There’s a scarier question, of course. Assuming this is close to being true and assuming we won’t find a Wenger to captain the ship for the long haul, who do we trust all these kids with?

Brr…

Forza Inter

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