Lots of things to discuss this week now that the euphoria of winning the deby is over. Strama was confirmed, sort of. Someone, I can't remember who, had a great idea for a Player of the Season poll so I will try to get one of those up and going in the next week. And I can't help, with all the transfer talk, but think about who is coming and going... rather who is going than coming, right? Because with Inter's transfer policy and potential loss of CL revenue we are going to have to lose players before we can buy any more.
Stramaccioni In Charge… Right?
This week, following the derby Moratti was asked about Stramaccioni’s confirmation. His reply was, to my mind, luke warm, "Yes, I think so. However, we took him in what seemed to him to be a crazy move. But as far as I'm concerned it was an intelligent solution, also because he's an intelligent person. Therefore, I think he can continue."
There is further rumor of a 2 year contract with an option of a third but I haven’t heard any figures on contract. My suspicion is that, if all this proves to be accurate, Strama won’t make as much as Ranieri did but that he will reap benefits equal to his success should he have any.
But, and I hate to put a dampener on things here, but there hasn’t been an official word from the club, there hasn’t been a press conference announcing anything, nor has the rumor mill stopped spreading suggestions of Bielsa and Blanc. It’s also pretty relevant that rumors are that Stramaccioni doesn’t have his pro coach’s certificate. This is just bureaucracy but officially he has to be working with Baresi to coach the team.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the ideas and the breath of fresh air the guy brings to the table. I think that he’s going to be the coach, but I have been wrong before trying to read Moratti’s mind on coaches. I like the guy, despite the ideas he has about Chivu. The players are playing for him and he’s motivating them – fresh ideas, players motivated and working with the coach. And let’s face it, that’s a lot of things that a lot of coaches couldn’t accomplish here ever, let alone in what will end up being about a quarter of the season.
Plus from what I have read, the supporters will riot if he isn’t given a chance. So there’s that endorsement too.
And I don’t know if it’s him, or just the direction of the club in general, or if really having the coach in place so early – atypical of Inter’s usual SOP – but there is a sense of having a plan for the transfer market. Isla, Lavezzi, Lucas and Destro all have something in common – they all can play on the outside. This is handy since Strama – if he is the actual new coach - likes to use players on the edges of the field and formation – as we all saw against Milan.
Many of these players were in the sights of the team well before the thought of using Strama came up, or was necessary really. But, and this is a huge “but”, this is the first time in a long time that I can remember such a nice synergy of coach’s style and transfer market.
Think back to when Benitez was hired. Everyone knows Benitez likes the 4231. Did we get the man any wingers? No and predictable results followed. Inter then hired Leo, who liked to play the same formation that Inter played in the season previous to Benitez’s hire… how did the team do? I recall the team jumped up about 5 or 6 spots in the tables just on formation shift and a nice guy telling the guys to really give it a go.
Gasp was hired and there was another formation shift… and Inter still didn’t hire any wingers, just guys who were rumored to also play out wide. We also sold away the few men on roster who could play out wide, btw. I’m talking Coutinho, Pandev, Santon and Eto’o here not Quaresma and Mancini. Those last two were done here long before Gasp came to town.
We continued the trend of not playing wide men in wide roles with Ranieri. And this is the one that disappoints me most of all. For all his faults, which include lack of bravery and imagination btw, Ranieri has a sound tactical, typical, Italian base of knowledge. Why was there so much drama with Wes that couldn’t have been solved with putting the man behind a lone striker with Alvarez/Stankovic/Cambiasso/Poli next to him instead of insisting on a 442 or a 441. Some of those guys aren’t typical AMs but they’ll do in a pinch, you know? Cambiasso spent his whole youth training as an AM at Real Madrid, we and he can cope for a game or two. The man was sooooo frustrating to have to deal with, I am glad he’s gone.
Anyhoo, to mosey on back to the point, assuming that Strama is the man in charge now, the club has certainly done all it can to link their objectives in what the club should be in the future with the man who will likely be in charge for the first time in what I can remember. I am just trying to keep my expectations in check here because all the nothing that I am hearing from a club regarding Strama's confirmation is slightly off-putting for a group that holds a press conference at the drop of a hat.
Inter Player of the Season
That's right, The IPS is coming, so hide the children, bar the windows and shut the doors. One day next week, when I decide to figure out how to put a poll up here, you the loyal or not so loyal readers, as the case may be, will decide who the Inter Player of the Season will be.
Just for the record, I considered calling thie the Inter Player of the Year but The IPY just didn't do anything for me.
Squad Retention: Revolution or Remodel?
So if it seems like the transfer market for Inter is well on it’s way because the coach is apparently in place, and if perception is a form of reality, then I am going to work from that reality to a topic that is always near the surface of my thoughts.
I just want to skim down the roster and give a grade for who I think is going to stay, leave, or is in limbo.
Cesar: I’m calling him in Limbo. I don’t think he’ll go, but I know he has admirers and Inter is a team that is deep in young goalkeepers. Inter will either want to monetize them or put them in harness. He also has a huge contract that he may or may not be fulfilling with his play. Production went way up with Strama’s takeover.
Orlandoni: The word is that there is already a desk with his name on it in the Inter offices. He earns next to nothing, in football terms.
Castellanzzi: I don’t see a future where he isn’t back. He earns just above next to nothing, he’s still halfway decent, he seems a model professional and he doesn’t complain about having time on the bench.
Zanetti: There is no way he’s not coming back. The criticism of the “Oldies” really stung his pride, I think. But I wouldn’t be nearly so sure of myself for the year after that. And Congratulations on the birth of Tomas Zanetti.
Walter Samuel: He’s a lock to stay if he’s willing to take a 1 year contract for a dip in salary.
Chivu: His agent groused about the length and amount of Inter’s renewal and he even took a week or two to feel out the market, but fuck me, it looks like he’s going to renew. Strama loves the guy. Word is that the feeling is mutual.
Cordoba: We already know he’s not coming back. More on this when the season is over.
Lucio: He’s got a contract until 2014. It’s coming with a huge salary that he’s not close to playing up to this past season. I would be willing to say that the team is open to selling him or tearing up the contract. I say limbo.
Maicon: I think the team would be willing to sell low on Maicon if they get a good offer. His contract is huge, he's pushing too old, he's become injury prone and the team has a ton of fullbacks. Limbo.
Nagatomo: He just signed a renewal yesterday for double the €700,000 he was making. Cheap, reliable, no PR worries, runs his lungs out every game = lock to stay.
Faraoni: He proved that he can handle Serie A, but I think the club don’t regard his talent as huge. I think he’s on the block but that the team wouldn’t necessarily be heartbroken about keeping him. The first dime they make off him is pure profit. Limbo.
Ranocchia: The team has invested way too much money and time to let him go easily, but I think the team’s regard for his talent is waning. The offer would have to be over the top – or it would have to be a player exchange with a rare, proven talent. My gut says that he stays.
Juan Jesus: This is a tough one because I don’t know what the team thinks of him. My gut says that he stays, but if he proves to have been an unwise purchase – cheap, mind you – then I see him going out on loan late in the summer.
Primavera: Strama loves M’Baye and there is every chance that Alborno, who plays in the fullback, wingback, and wide midfielder comes up. Strama loves Pecorini who is another fullback/center defender but he’s banned until next Christmas pending appeal for incidents in the Next Gen final. There has been talk of Caldirola, who has had an incredible run on loan in Serie B, coming back but he and his agent have been noncommittal. Lukas Spendlhofer was a midfielder who was less than thrilling at that position but was a revelation when moved back to defender. There’s a 33/33/33 chance he moves up, stays where he is or goes out on loan. The remainder of his chances can be attributed to the uncertainty principle: we know his position but not his movement.
Cambiasso: Lock to come back.
Stankovic: There has been absolutely no talk of retirement for him. He had a very hard stance about coming back this winter, but since then it has softened a bit and he said more than once that the club would decide. These things are relative and the softening is only by a sliver. My gut says that he’ll be back. He’s got a contract and a huge salary for the games he actually plays, though.
Sneijder: My gut says that he’ll be back. The team might listen to offers for him, but I think they would be crazy to take them. His contract has another 4 years on it and for his talent level his salary isn’t terrible. This team is dry of creativity; it needs all it can get without an Eto’o or Ibra up top.
Alvarez: Lock to stay, unless Arsenal come with an unholy amount of money and then only maybe.
Guarin: I think that team will buy his rights and I think they’ll pay less than the 13.5 mil that was agreed on in Jan.
Poli: He is, as of now, an Inter player. The team just has to send the check to make it official.
Obi: If they sell him, I will freak the fuck out. Untouchable. He’s a 20 year old midfielder with top speed, endurance, and decent skill who already has National Team and Champions League experience. He has become a major contributor to one of the top 10 teams in Europe. And he’s on the homegrown list as well. The team would have taken a major leave of their senses to even think about selling/trading him.
Primavera: Strama loves Duncan and Crisetig has long been a jewel in Inter’s youth setup. Both have a good chance of moving up into the midfield 3 of Strama’s as Cambiasso, Deki, Guarin and Poli have proven to be a bit of an injury risk. Everyone’s waiting for Bessa to come up, I wonder if that will happen next season especially considering Coutinho's imminent return. Romano is the dark horse that not a lot of people know about but as a midfielder he’s more director than destroyer from what little I have seen.
Milito: Lock to stay. He’s the only reliable forward on the team. When he actually starts feeling his age, we are in deep kim chi. If he gets the yips again, we are in deep kim chi. In fact if Milito is in anything other than perfect shape we will have enough cabbage to start a grocery.
Pazzini: He’s in limbo. He’s not so far removed from a very good season to have lost all value, but the season he had this year has shrunk that value. He might be worth more to the team to stay. But he does, according to rumors, have suitors…
Forlan: He’s had a terrible season with us so far and he’s making an abominably huge amount of cash. He reportedly doesn’t like his role, but he’s likely the least reliable forward we have striking the ball on net. He has a huge reputation and that might make him marketable but there are precious few teams who would be willing to pay the outrageous amount he is making. My opinion is that the team should call this an experiment lost and try to cut ties. I can’t see anyway he can come back to this team and be productive. Limbo.
Zarate: He really picked up his feet this last month or so, but I still have no faith in him. When he came in I said we needed a player like him, but I don’t think we need him. My opinion hasn’t changed in 9 months or so. I can’t see him coming back. Gone.
Castaignos: It’s been a lost season for Luc. The beauty of having a Sporting Director is that there is less waste as managers/coaches come and go without buying their guys and selling the previous coaches guys every year – or 3 months as the case may be. The pitfalls of having a SD is that he might buy players that don’t fit the plans of any of the coaches he hires in a calendar year. Castaignos will be part of the Inter setup next season but it might be as a loan to another team.
Primavera: Livaja and Longo are the big names from the youth setup but Inter has been reluctant – scratch that – VERY RELUCTANT to trust home grown forwards over the history of the club. There have been notable exceptions, however.
Okay, this has turned into a much longer piece than I intended so apologies if I have tested your patience and always…