Living in Limbo

Long Sam

So, it's been a while. Sorry about the minivacation but real life teamed up with my work life and my family life to kick my ass from here to Timbuktu. Thankfully this is that limbo period that is between the end of the season and the start of the transfer window when rumors seem to run the most rampant and nothing really meaningful gets done. So thanks to my forced hiatus, I am going to need to ramp my brain back up into the football world, get back in the saddle so to speak and find my BS Detecting Glasses. I get the feeling that I am going to need them before the end of this here little update.

Friendly in Indonesia

Did I say nothing meaningful happened? Well there were these games. The result of the games themselves weren't too meaningful, other than the fact that Inter won. I mean, it would have been understandable if Inter lost considering the poor season and absences due to national team commitments... but not really. Both of these teams were teams that Inter should have beaten in the normal course of events.

But I will say this; there was no shortage of quickness or hustle in either Indonesian team. In fact, it made the perfect backdrop for Strama to show his Inter how to play. The whole team had to work together and the whole team had to put in some bustle in their pickup to keep up.

It was also a good showcase for players who wanted to show the new coach that they were committed to the New World Order of Inter. Coutinho did himself a world of good by displaying all the confidence and verve that he discovered in himself in Spain. Longo showed that he’s thisclose to showing Inter something very interesting. Jonathan also showed a lot of confidence in his game and an uncanny knack for working with Maicon. I don’t know if Maicon stays next season, but these two can work together with some dazzle.

Most importantly this friendly proved that there is a market for Serie A teams in the world’s largest untapped market. Asia is a territory that is incredibly under-mined for fan dollars. The team made some actual cash by playing there, sure, but it also made some life long fans willing to spend money on shirts, trinkets and anything with an Inter logo now. Just like the rest of us. Also there is proof to wealthy Asian businesses that Inter are a brand worth investing in because it enjoys such support.

And really, isn’t this the whole point here. For a couple of years now, I have been harping on the team needing to increase the one area of it’s revenue that lags the most from the largest English, German and Spanish teams. Inter makes a comparable amount in TV revenue to those teams, it lags a bit behind in gameday revenue to the very tippy top of the Money List, but it lags cripplingly behind in commercial revenue to almost everyone – just like all Italian teams do. The new director hire, the meetings of Moratti in China – which I will get to later – it’s all in an effort to increase brand awareness and show Inter as a global player. And really, to my mind there isn’t a better team in Italy to show a global face than Internazionale, is there?

Palacio

Did I say that nothing meaningful happened? Well, it looks like there is one addition to the team that was pushed through before the transfer window opened. Palacio is apparently an Inter player now as Genoa have agreed to his price and he’s had a physical. I haven’t heard that he signed his contract yet but I assume it’s just a formality at this point. I know, I know, assumptions are the mother of all...

But onto Palacio, the formally rat-tailed one. Here’s the important bit - he can play anywhere on the forward line. I don’t know how effective he is as a striker, but he can certainly play outside or outside and recessed from the front line a bit, just as Strama wants. Also, he has a proven track record in this league. I feel this is important for me to say over and over, he is already accustomed to Serie A and there shouldn’t be too many distracting living adjustments. There will be an adjustment to the team and perhaps the pressure that Inter draws to itself. But he speaks Italian and spanish - both are helpful on this team - and he’s familiar with the players at the very least.

Is he a world beater? No. But he doesn’t have to be. There is going to be backlash at some point this season that he’s not a world class this or that he’s not the best in the world that or that he’s gone a couple of games without whatever. World class players demand world class salaries and world class time on the ball in front of net. We don’t need that player at this position. We need a player who will set stuff up, take a few shots and run forward to pose a threat often. And we probably need two more just like him. What we really need is for the starting guy to be starting caliber and for his backup to be almost as good. We know that Palacio can start in this league and be effective. What would be ideal is to have a backup not be a huge drop off so that when injuries or match fatigue set in we can go in another direction - a problem that really bit us on the ass this season.

New Stadium?

I know that there have been words on the internets and newspapers that Moratti’s trip to China was to solidify a partnership with a monstrous conglomerate to help with the stadium situation. I have seen that several of the blogs and English speaking Inter sites have followed suit in reporting this.

I won’t though. If you think that this makes a stadium closer to reality, fine, go ahead, but I won’t be a part of this discussion. Inter have a lease with the city of Milan for several more years and the most important factor of this discussion hasn’t yet been addressed: There is no land on which to build a stadium. Moratti nor Inter own any land and I am going to bet that the city of Milan or any of the surrounding territory will sell Inter any land in the foreseeable future. Why? Because it’s basic economics. Inter pay Milan something like 10 million every year for the privilege of playing in an ancient stadium. No one is going to take some 20 - 30 million off them for a one time payment of land that will only generate in the thousands for taxes every year. It’s much more lucrative to milk the team for 10 mil every year.

Inter would have to go pretty far afield to find a municipality that doesn’t benefit somehow from that 10 mil a year to the capital of the region. So I don’t see it happening until there is a radical change in the local elected officials or a law passed at the national level, which is what most everyone who has a stake in Italian football is waiting for and has been tied up in committee for years now.

So yes, it’s exciting that Inter is exploring partnerships in China to add to its brand and overall revenue stream. It’s gratifying really that the team is entering the 21st century in this regard. Long term I think this is a meaningful change that will see Inter’s revenue really surge ahead to where it’s more compatible with other large European teams... maybe not this season or next season but in the seasons to come Inter will be strong enough to continue to hold its own. And right now, that’s good enough for me. At some point in the future, maybe.... maybe it’ll be enough to get a stadium off the ground.

Transfer Rumors

Transfer rumors abound as they are wont to do at this point. There is no point listing anything that looks even close, really, because right now nothing is close - besides Palacio, that is.

So lets look at the situation regarding our own players:

Forlan is still between Inter and/or some other team. He has a huge salary which is a hindrance to us moving him on - and I think that team wants to move him on - because he doesn’t want to give it up. Nor should he. If he was smart enough to negotiate a good salary, then by all means take what you earned. But he won’t earn any popularity with these fans if he again doesn’t perform up to that level - and I don’t think there are too many who think he will. He could surprise me, I have been wrong before on this stuff.

Chivu still hasn’t signed his offered extension and there is increasing rumors of moves elsewhere. If his agent is making up these rumors it doesn’t seem to be helping his client get a better offer from Inter. If the rumors are indeed not rumors but real interest, then I don’t see him coming back as he will get more playing time elsewhere... if not more money as well.

Lucio has rumors surrounding him. According to these rumors he might be on his way back to Brazil. I don’t believe that any team in Brazil will come anywhere close to the money he’s slated to make at Inter for the next season or two, whenever his contract runs out. My read is that it’s been explained to him that he won’t be playing much and if that’s important to him, then he needs to find another opportunity. I don’t know which way this one will go. I would have thought that if he really wanted to play then he would have already been gone.

It looks like Coutinho is here to stay and play - for the moment. Thanks be to the Calcio Gods.

Pazzini is in limbo. He’s getting his knee cleaned up right now, I think. But there has been talk of inserting him into deals or a straight transfer. I think his preference is to stay, but I don’t think the team is going in the same direction as he is. Personally, I don’t see the problem holding onto him another season. He’s hardly a burden salary wise, it would be one less thing to occupy the mind of the directors from improving the team and he can’t be much worse.

Castagnos is probably destined for a loan. No problem there, but I hope that his confidence isn’t shot from not playing.

Caldirola and Benedetti are two youth defenders who have been out on loans for the last couple of seasons. The reason I am talking about them here is that both have been requested by other Serie A teams for loans. This is good news to us, if we keep them. Getting Serie A experience at their young age is great for obvious reasons - we either get plug and play players or we get a lot of cash for selling them/trading them on.

For the record, there seems to be a real reluctance to sell/trade the young guys. According to some rumors, inclusion of some young guys could have really greased the wheels for Destro and/or Lavezzi but there was a real reluctance by the management to do so - just as there seems to be a real effort to keep Long Sam in house. It's not a big thing, but thus far I have to give the Front Office guys some credit. I am sure that there will be some wheeling and dealing, but at least it doesn't seem to be haphazard here in the early going.

There have been requests from other teams for Cuchu according to rumors. I don’t think he’ll leave unless the team suggests that he won’t play. I think his playing time will be severely reduced but I don’t think that he’ll be a benchwarmer.

Juan is getting time with the first team in some friendlies with Brazil which is good news for us. He needs to play, he’s fresh right now and we want him to come back hungry for more.

Pandev looks to be a sold item. Inter got him for nothing and made - according to rumors - 8 million on him. I think that was a fair price for him. He wasn't a "starter" with us. He wasn't a main guy with Napoli either. He's better than average at what he does. We recoup that salary and get a fee for him. Well done.

Rumors continue with possible transfer of Sneijder but I don’t see it happening. I think that Maicon leaves before Sneijder does. With all the departures that are planned, I don't think that we will be so hurting for money once those players that are expected to move on do in fact move on that we will need to sell both Maicon and Sneijder. I think that selling only one would be sufficient to move any plans ahead.

**There are far too many rumors about players that Inter are interested in to comment about any of them. But personally, I have a player that I wish Inter would go after. No, not Galloppa. That ship has sailed sadly, although he would be perfect for the team right now as a left winger. Personally I hold out hope for Gaston Ramirez. It will never happen. I don't think I have seen a credible rumor about inter being linked with him. I was kind of hoping that we would pick him up last season. But I can wish.

That's all for now, I guess. Good thing there was nothing to talk about, huh?

FORZA INTER

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