When it comes to the midfield Inter is not short of promising youngsters. Names like Kovacic and Taider continue to impress on a weekly bases, while the likes of Duncan, Benassi, and Criseitig continue to grow out on loan. Patric Olsen also displayed why he’s such a highly rated player during the preseason.
With such an array of talented midfielders Inter fans have every reason to be excited about the future. But apart from Kovacic and Taider, will any of the remaining players get to play a significant role with the team anytime soon? Are they ready to step up into the first team, and more importantly, is there’s a place for them to begin with?
At the moment there are too many variables that could impact the shape of our team in the future, the most obvious being the potential takeover by Thohir. At his point it’s not clear how the change of ownership will impact our moves in the transfer market, but if reports are to be taken seriously, Thohir is planning a slow change rather than a PSG style revolution. That, coupled with our position with the FFP, means that our market activity will be similar to what we saw this season, and assuming that Inter will buy the other halves of Taider, icardi and Belfodil there wouldn’t much left to work with. If common sense is to prevail our midfield should not be a priority when it comes to new recruits and that should leave some space to be filled by the youngsters.
Another factor that we should take into consideration is our league position at the end of this season. Playing in the EL might have disastrous financial consequences but at least it provides our youngsters with plenty of space between Europe and Serie A. Cl qualification should be great for the books but we must first go past the group stages. With that in mind, and a very competitive Serie A to worry about, youth development will probably take a back seat.
And then there’s Cambiasso. Saying that Cambiasso’s best days are behind him is a compliment. Sometimes he’s been so bad that I’m just ready to blow his head off, but just when I start loading that shotgun he produces a masterful performance that reminds me of them good old days. Now put that gun down and praise el Cuchu. Cambiasso’s new found consistency under Mazzari might convince our directors to renew his contract, and the possibility that we might need a new captain next season could also play in his favor (assuming that Zanetti takes some time off to cure cancer). Cambiasso is most likely to see his salary cut in half, but then again why should we be playing a washed off legend if we have a legion of talented players to take his place?
Assuming that we do the right thing for my blood pressure and let him go, the truth is that our in house replacements are inadequate. From the players I previously mentioned we can start by eliminating Benassi who's too young and inexperienced to be a starter. So far he hasn’t been appearing regularly for Livorno so it’s unrealistic to assume he will get a chance with us. Olsen might break into the first team soon but he plays in a more advanced position. Seeing that it shouldn’t be hard to displace Guarin (wishful thinking alert) we might see more of him next year. Crisetig is highly rated by Inter’s online communities, and disregarding the fact that most of us use Football Manager a scouting tool, the fact that he's currently playing in Serie B means he would not have enough quality experience to be a starter by next season.
What about Taider? Saphir is a player I personally like a lot, he's energetic, has great mobility, can pick a pass, and has great presence in the midfield despite his age and size. Taider also appears to have won over Mazzari but that doesn’t say much seeing that he's competing with Kuzmanovic. The only problem I see with Taider filling for Cambiasso is the fact that his tools are not suited for this position; he naturally a box to box midfielder and we'll be sacrificing his abilities if we give him the more reserved role.
That leaves us with Duncan. Personally i haven't seen enough of him to pass a judgment, but the fact that we rejected 8m for him this summer speaks a lot. But is he ready ? Looking at his numbers, Duncan saw the pitch three times with Inter last season before starting 16 Serie B games after his loan move in January. This year Duncan started one Serie A game with Livorno and was subbed in twice. This is encouraging but it’s too early to make conclusions. We’ll have to wait on this one.
All in all I personally don’t think that any of our promising midfielders will be starters anytime soon, and if Cambiasso continues his decent form under Mazzari he’s most likely to be rewarded by a new contract. This is not good news of us the fans especially with our history of mismanaging youth, but this time we can be hopeful because if we screw up one guy, and we will, we'll have plenty others to watch.