I am going to say right up front that this critique will favor Inter. I like a lot of things that are being done so far this summer and I have no problems saying it. I get that the Boo Birds are already out. I get that there is already a gnashing of teeth and a rending of clothes from the gallery. But you won’t hear any of that from me.
Why? Because I thought that a lot of this stuff should have been done last season, that’s why. It’s because I think that if there was a time to get a clean break from the past, it could have been done from a position of strength with the Champions League as a lure and a good feeling from a hard fought season where we clawed our way back up to 2nd place in the standings.
This summer the fan base is already in a panic over transfers... and it’s only June 7th. June fucking 7th – the window isn’t open yet… co-ownerships haven’t even been figured out yet… and we already got the hand wringing started.
People, mostly media types or those who listen to closely to them, are saying Inter don’t have a plan. People, mostly media types, or those who listen to closely to them, are saying Inter don’t have any money. And both are wrong.
Inter have money. They have revenues that ranks in the top 10 of the richest football teams in the world. They have money.
What they don’t have is budget. What they didn’t have in previous years was the need to expand their enterprise and diversify their revenue streams into the global economy because there was a lack of fiscally responsible oversight at the highest levels of football governance and a serious lack of forward thinking by all Italian football clubs – including ours. The payroll, built in those days, is too large to accommodate the revenue.
Thankfully most of that has changed now with a serious push coming this spring/summer. I can’t be happier. This is something I explained had to happen 1.5 seasons ago right here on this very blog. So I am now not going to complain. I am willing to be patient and hopeful, knowing beforehand that this season could be another tough one.
And I think that Inter have a plan. The plan is a bit radical and I don’t know if the fans are really behind it, yet. I think that they have more of a plan than, say, last summer when at this time they were struggling to find a coach to replace Leo who just up and left the team. There is a coach. There is a philosophy that he wants to use. Everyone knows what that philosophy is. We want players who can play wide. We want defenders who can move and play the ball at the feet. We want midfielders who can go box to box with technique. We want players who won’t cost too much. We want players who will run, sacrifice and be team guys. We would like to use the primavera more and generally get younger. The players surrounding our rumored interest all seem to fit that plan.
So feel free to call me a homer, or a mark, or a fanboy. I’ll gladly agree to all of it. ‘Cause I am, right now anyway.
Stadium and Other Revenue?
I said I wasn’t going to really talk about this until the property has been bought – but I guess I will. There is a lot of rumor – and I stress rumor - going on about a potential stadium and again, I couldn’t be happier. I would love for us to get out of the Meazza. As historic as it is, it’s woefully outdated and Inter could triple their game day revenue just from a stadium that only seats half the number that Inter average in a given season - @50, 000 to 60,000 people - through luxury boxes, naming rights and amenities alone. Add in parking, tickets, permanent advertising that doesn’t need to be taken down after every game and any non-football related events and there potentially could be a very healthy number in the ledger written in black. One more thing: Inter could then subtract the nearly 10 million they pay in rent for a season and add it onto Milan’s costs for running a business…
Then there is the problem with the Meazza. There is a lease and the current one runs until 2016. If Inter want to get out of the lease then they legally must notify the city council by 2014. There must be permission, permits, plans, construction crew and a property to build on by that time or there will be no way that Inter could make that announcement with no stadium to play in.
I know, I know, I know… “but, Moratti just met the mayor of Milan to figure out a site…” The truth is that no one is really sure why the two men met. The rumor is that it was about a stadium. It might very well have been about a stadium. But remember, Moratti needs both property and notice. The 40 minute meeting was probably not long enough to do both. I don’t think that it was long enough to do one of those things. The big rumor is that Moratti has determined a site at the Expo. Great. Make it official on the website and I will be the first to attempt backflips in celebration.
Much more concrete news has come out that Moratti’s trip to China was to secure investment into a stadium that will take several hundred million € to build. Remember, that in 2010 Moratti had gone to the Milan city council for public funding and was tuned down – probably rightly – so that the club wouldn’t have to shoulder the cost themselves. Also keep in mind that to make this whole enterprise appealing to these investors, Moratti will have to show them a happy accounts ledger. They will want to see that their investment has a promise of turning a profit. It’s something to keep in the back of your mind when talking about spending big for transfers this and next summer.
More telling in a potential positive shift in modernizing the club is that Marco Fassone was brought on the team’s strategic committee specifically for his work with other Serie A teams in their efforts to expand their brand into other markets, in this case China. It’s a smart move for a team in a country/league that is always being criticized for its lack of diversified revenue. I don’t really know – or really care when you get right down to it – what Fassone has in mind but I imagine that we will be seeing more individual friendlies heading east, more player appearances east, more merchandising marketed directly for those markets, more products made available with the team logo and more tours as well.
In keeping with my positive feelings from the first paragraph, I have no problems with any of this. I am happy, hopeful and realistically cynical about a stadium. I am happier still at the attitude of the team and its belated interest in seeking to expand its brand recognition.
Guarin: I like the way Guarin plays and I am very happy at his continued stay with the club. Media types/critics have said that there are a million of players like him and that Inter could have spent less than the €13.5 million combined loan and payment they spent on him.
Of course I completely disagree. If there were so many midifelders who could attack and defend with the speed and change of gear that Guarin had that would be one thing. But I don’t think any of them would have run themselves to nearly fainting like he did in the derby, I think it was. These “experts” think that there is someone in Italy who has all that physical ability, all that technical skill, half a season playing with a club like Inter and a heart as big as that for less than €14 million? No, there is no one in Italy that we could have bought for that money. I’m very sorry but these people are trying to sell you something if they think this. Parolo is the only one I can think of who is close to all those things and he’s not nearly as athletically gifted. And I think he’s older. But I bet his price is over €14 million. Isla probably comes close to the athleticism… but more on him later.
Palacio: This is the one that everyone is skeptical on. I was too for a while. But then I thought about it and the more I did, the more I liked the purchase.
Here’s how my thoughts went:
Do I think he’s a good player? Yep. I think he’s a good forward – not a striker – but a guy who would do best in a 2 or 3 player front line. And he scores goals.
Is he used to playing in Italy/Serie A? Yep. He’s done well for himself for several seasons now.
Did the club grossly overspend? Nope. I would have valued him at around €10 million, maybe a little less. The team took him for €11 million. By recent standards, 1 or 2 million more here or there isn’t going to make me upset. Plus his wages are less than €2 million.
Do we need the player/position? YES! Palacio plays out wide, in tandem or in support. He runs. He’s used to the system as he played something very similar for Gasperini. It’s exactly the type of player we need. He’s got some age to him but I think he’ll be fine for a 2 or 3 year stint on the team. And really, how long can you expect to hang onto a player these days?
There have been several youth captures for extremely little cash. At this point I am not going to go into a whole lot of detail here until there is really something to talk about or I put up a youth post of some kind.
Up front I am going to say that I have no problems with any of the players who have been offered less money to renew or those who have been asked to find a new home.
Samuel signed on for less – both in seasons and in money. Old news.
The team did a masterful job with Chivu, whose agent was talking mighty tough a month ago. Four weeks later with no better offer and Inter not budged an inch on the contract has Chivu is looking to possibly return with perhaps a much more reasonable contract for his participation. For all his faults, Chivu actually fits in Strama’s idea of a center back minus the speed and smart defending. He can play the ball at his feet.
Lucio and Forlan are rumored to have been given permission to seek other deals. The rumor is that Lucio will take a buyout of a couple million to become a free agent. I imagine that such a buyout will require him to look outside of Serie A for a new job. Forlan will probably require some sort of financial incentive to go somewhere else – like Inter paying for his first season’s salary or something like that. If it’s only for a year, I can get behind that.
Another move I very highly agree with is that so far none of the Primavera players have been announced as loaned out or sold as they are still playing the play-offs for the Trofeo Giacinto Facchetti. Yesterday, the Primavera went down 0-1 to Milan in the first half but came back to win the game, yet another derby win this season, 3-4 in extra time thanks to the hat-trick of Samuele Longo. If the team wants to really make me happy – and why wouldn’t they? – Longo gets the other half of his card bought from Genoa ASAP. Want to make a bet? I bet that at least 4 players from the 2011-2012 Primavera team have their pictures on the official website in August. Shall we lay odds on Longo being one of them?
I am probably going to piss some folks off here but I am happy as a clam that Isla is not coming to Inter. Inter gauged the interest/price of Udinese in March and found it to be far too expensive – and I agree. I think Isla is a good player. I think he’s an average defender but hard runner and willing to sacrifice for the team. But he doesn’t score. He won’t make or break the defense. Look at Udinese - without him for long stretches they were fine, they just plugged another player in. If you don’t have a fullback, then he’s probably worth something. We have like 5 on the team. And dealing with Udinese is a pain, anyway. Besides, but I think a lot of the Isla talk recently was the agent trying to up the bid from another club.
More likely true is that the team is going after Handanovic. If Cesar doesn’t renegotiate his contract then he could be sold. He makes a ton for a keeper and Handanovic is said to be very interested in a move to Inter. His one problem is that his contract runs out in 2016.
The Destro and Giovinco sagas won’t have any resolution for at least a week probably 2, so if these are the players you are interested in, then grab a sandwich.
Not surprisingly, the Lavezzi to PSG for far too much money has hit a snag. This is another transfer I am glad we are well away from. 30 million for Lavezzi? People who are upset we aren’t in this mess I don’t understand. I am very happy about this.
This is the year that I have been saying that Maicon can leave and I have never been more convinced than right now. The team is looking to get younger and cheaper. He’s past 30 and he wants a new, more lucrative contract. Inter won’t splash all that for a fullback. who is 30 + and has designs on > 5 mil per season. There are so many other options at this point it’s folly to spend big on Maicon at this point.
Moratti has promised the fans a big purchase and as of right now the rumors are split between Lucas of Brazil and Muller of Germany. Both are of a similar mold (attacker/midfielder hybrid) and I would be just fine with either. Personally I would bet on Lucas rather than Muller. But really, I think that if there is going to be a large purchase that name hasn’t come up yet.
Inter are rumored to be dealing right now for the other half of young goalkeeper Bardi.
The Andreolli process is taking a super long time, longer than one would think necessary. I think that they are waiting to announce which youth players go the other way until after the play-offs.
There is a lot of talk about Silvestre coming from Palermo. I have no problem with this if the plan is to team him up with Ranocchia and not Walter. I am definitely not in favor of anything that puts his development further behind.
The Veratti process is slow because no one knows what to expect from him. Inter want to do something in conjunction with another team so that the risk is lessened, but that team backed out and no one wants to buy big on a player who has never played Serie A before. Personally, I don’t see the big deal, but then I don’t really have a reliable source on how much money we are talking. If it’s fewer than €10 million then I say it’s worth the risk to take him and be done. If it’s more, then I say screw it, there are other fish that no one knows how they will play in Serie A in the sea. We got Crisetig, Romano, Duncan and Bessa coming up the midfield ranks. We don’t really need a risk like Veratti.