You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We'd all love to see the plan
At 66 points this season currently and only 12 points left to be decided until sweet, sweet vacation grips our very tired club there are only 4 clubs that can, mathematically, overtake us at this point: Napoli, Lazio, Udinese and Roma. For those better at math than I am, I think that means that we can finish no worse than sixth - Juventus, currently 7th, can’t catch up to us no matter how many games they win and we lose.
With the end of the season so close, it’s natural to want to get into “fantamercato” mode. However, I want to look at the opposite of what we normally mean when we say, “fantamercato”. I want to look at the possible sales for this summer for a few reasons.
1. I am emotionally attached to almost all of the players, especially the ones that have been here several seasons, even if I don’t always show it and their departure fills me with anxiety.
2. It directly affects what I write here in the future, especially if the player has been a long time servant of the club.
3. How we continue to prepare for the Fair Play initiative affects all of us supporters and our expectations for the new season yet to be born.
4. Looking forward, the management – and therefore we - will want to see which players finish strong/hungry, which players help out the team secure its goals and which players are worth keeping, especially the young guys.
FcInterNews.it is currently doing something similar, position by position. I caught the goalkeeper section and half way through it I thought that it would be a good idea to do something similar with the added bonus of giving us all a chance to argue and rant about why our personal favorites get to stay or leave. So without looking at the rest of the goalkeeper section nor looking at any subsequent opinions about other positions from that site I am going to do my own version of Safe, In Doubt and Gone for each position.
I don’t think that there will be any doubt that Cesar comes back next season, assuming that Manchester United, Manchester City or Chelsea don’t go absolutely nuts with an offer. Since this is probably the worst season he’s ever had with us he will get every chance to redeem himself next year. We brought Julio in on a free so if we get nothing for him after he retires or his contract runs out, it would be net gain for all the prize money and trophies he’s brought to the club.
According to transfermarket.co.uk, Luca Castellazzi has a contract until 2012. According to La Gazzetta, his salary is about €1 million. Considering his experience and production this past season, I think that the team would be thrilled to have The Lizard King (I can do anything) come back as the number 2 goalkeeper for the team.
In doubt is the number 3 goalkeeper. Orlandoni is, in my mind, gone at the stroke of June. The man is closer to 40 than he is to 35 and I think the team wants to use the number 3 spot to groom a youngin’. The question is who gets the spot. Belec is out on loan currently and has been a number 4 Inter/number 1 Primavera for the team before and he’s reportedly doing very well at Crotone. I think – make that hope – that the team keeps their piece of Viviano until the day that Cesar drives off into the sunset. I foresee nothing but pain – and the swooping in of Juventus/Milan/Napoli/Roma/Lazio/Genoa - if the team decides to use him as part of a deal for another player in this country.
The other option is the Primavera goalkeeper, Francesco Bardi who has performed very well in his very short career as Inter Primavera goalkeeper. Bardi was a Livorno youth player who has 1 Serie A game under his belt from last season. Bardi came to us from Livorno this past January.
There is no doubt in my mind that Paolo Orlandoni is gone at the end of this season. I get that no one but me cares, and I am okay with that. Paolo started his career with Inter at the age of 18 in 1991 and has been loaned out to various teams. He was sold in the late 90s but returned to us in the mid 2000s. The records say that he played a few games for us that I can’t remember – but I do remember his appearance in the Werder Bremen game this past December 7th. That date is much more important for the infamy of the Pearl Harbor attack and sports have no place being compared to actual real life tragedy, but besides remembering Pearl Harbor day, I will always also remember Werder Bremen Day. It’s a shame that a servant of the club has to be associated with such a crappy game.
Lucio, Samuel, Ranocchia, Nagatomo and Zanetti are the only defenders safely employed by this club in my mind. We all know that Zanetti will be more midfielder than defender anyway. But the transition of the defense has already started. Naga is going to be a fullback. Lucio is going to be a centerback. Either Ranocchia or Samuel – probably Frogboy - is going to be his partner for most of the games. Andreolli, like Orlandoni and Pandev, a former youth product, will be arriving in June from Chievo – the deal is done. And that is going to be your centerback foursome next season. Naga would have been bought completely last January but for some bureaucratic red tape.
Santon returning to his home is assured, since he’s only on loan, but will he stay here? Maicon has been “in doubt” for a few seasons now. Besides, if either were to stay and work into shape/form we would be settled at the fullback position and we can’t have that, right? This wouldn’t be Inter if we didn’t have fullback problems. Natalino, a primavera player, and Caldirola, a player on loan in the Netherlands, are both highly rated youngsters that have been alternatively slated for a bench spot at least next season or makeweight for future deals.
I can’t foresee any way that Materazzi or Cordoba stay on for yet another season. I could have very well put both in the “doubt” heading because both players have really earned the right to say goodbye at a time of their choosing. On the other hand, neither can contribute anything on the field whatsoever. Materazzi would be useful as a player liason for the club – but I don’t see Matrix as a corporate stooge. I like to think that when he goes, he’ll just go and we won’t hear from him in 10 years or so and remember him fondly for his heart and his passion. Chivu, I think, will be sold. This isn’t an indictment of his personality, because I like him as a person from what I have read in interviews and so forth. But in the current climate, I can’t see him being part of a team where he’s going to be relegated to a bench earning €3.5 million per. On the other hand, that’s a big salary to try and get elsewhere. From what I can see, his contract is up in 2012 so he might be persuaded to leave for a lower wage now, since he’s going to have to go in a year.
Cambiasso, Coutinho and Sneijder are the only players that I can wrap my brain around being completely safe. I can envision a scenario where this position is completely revamped and reworked so that a completely different type of player with a completely different skill set is brought in. There have already been signings on this front including Rodrigo Alborno from Paraguay who is rumored to be an actual, Bona Fide outside midfielder and not a forward re-skinned for the task.
Almost everyone else is In Doubt. Stankovic was such a poor player the year before Mourinho came in that A.) Figo had taken over the starting spot before Nedved put a hit on him and B.) I was endorsing his swift move to Juventus that summer (go ahead and look it up, it’s in the comments of this very blog) as we purged ourselves of about 8 players. With Mourinho, Deki returned to very useful form as an AM behind the forwards. I am, right now, endorsing his leaving again. Here’s the problem, at 32 years old, I can’t see any team that would take him and his €3.5 million wages. His contract is until 2014 and he might be one that holds on until retirement. I can only hope that he becomes a squad player at lower wages next season, if he stays.
Motta has the technical skill and the heart that Branca and Leo want in their new midfield, but not the athleticism. Also, he’s so fragile that you can’t count on him. I can see the team cutting their ties with Motta to bring a more consistent presence.
Obi and Kharja I am completely at a loss to figure out. Obi has barely played under anyone, but he’s got some – I think - technical ability and athleticism. No one knows if he’s Inter Quality though because he also hasn’t played – I strongly suspect that no one is really that interested in finding out, either. I don’t think Kharja is really a first team, Champions League mover and shaker, Primo Fantastico quality type of player. He’s also going to be 29 next season (birthday is in September) and his contract is up in June, near as I can tell. However, according to LGDS, Genoa was only paying him €.5 million. Kharja hasn’t sent me head over heels or anything, but he’s proven to be a useful sub from time to time. He might be worth keeping especially at that price.
I thought Mariga was our new defensive destroyer last summer, but he’s barely played under Leo and the rumors are that he’s already gone to Aston Villa, which is where he was going to go last January when red tape raised its ugly head and we were able to swing a sweet deal. I love him to stay, but I don’t see it happening. Defensive midfielders are a dime a dozen in Italy so I am sure that helps make him expendable. And no, Crisetig won't be in the first teams plans yet.
Inter have signed several midfielders that are right in the between age of Primavera and first team so it’s hard to say who will be put where until the season starts. But it’s safe to say that room will have to be made for these players and Mariga is currently expendable, even if I don’t have to like it.
There is no way in hell that anyone is taking Eto’o off this team yet. The man is sublime in every sense of the word and tactically a dream player. He’s got a huge contract, €8 million, but I don’t think that anyone doubts that he’s worth every penny. At least for another year… I also don’t see any way that Pazzini isn’t given a full season to prove what he’s got. It’s been hard to see his full stuff with Milito coming back and needing time to get his fitness back along with changing teams in January which is usually problematic for forwards. Couple that with the coaching change and everyone wants to see what Pazzini can do with stability and a full summer of work with the team.
Milito and Pandev are definitely on the bubble. This whole season has been a nightmare for Milito and it comes at the worst time considering his age. Patience might have once been something he could rely on, but not with this team at his age. Inter are already in the middle of a youth movement. A 30+ player hitting the yips is bad juju, considering his €4.5 million per year wage and 2014 contract. Inter might feel that a transfer is the only way to get out from under. And Milito still has some value if this season is thought to be an aberration.
I thought that this was Pandev’s season to prove that he deserved to stay for the long haul. Like Miltio he has a contract until 2014 and he’s making a hefty €3 million. That’s too much to pay someone who’s not going to be a first team player.
These two are also in doubt because of Luc Castaignos arrival into the Inter team. Luc will be 19 next September and the ink is dry on his deal. He’s an Inter player signed and sealed and he’s the perfect grooming age to play as the 3rd or 4th forward. There is also heavy speculation that one of Dell’Agnello or Destro will come into the first team bench.
David Suazo’s contract will officially be over by this June. David is the last of the Dead Weight Club that had such esteemed company as “Dolphin Head” Mancini, “Braids? Really? How About Working on Your Crosses Instead of Your Hair” Quaresma, Nelson “Smart/Talented/Likable as Mike Tyson” Rivas, “Old – Old – Slow – Old – Yellow Card Waiting to Happen” Patrick Vieira and Aparecidio “Not Good/Memorable Enough for a Sarcastic Nickname” Cesar.
I was happy for a whole day when Rivas was pawned off on some club in Siberia… or Ukraine... or somewhere. When we ditch Suazo and his €3.2 million donation/penalty for being stupid I might rethink taking up the backflip again.
Anyhoo, here’s hoping for better days ahead…