Hello and Happy Easter from the Inter Worldwide team.
We want to hurt ourselves, and being Interisti we are expert in masochism, and talk about one of the biggest problems in Inter’s history in the past 25 years: full-backs.
Now, FIFA considers Inter and Italy as pioneers in this role in football. Giacinto Facchetti was the first relevant full-back in history. In Helenio Herrera’s catenaccio, he was the first attacking solution. But things went south after that. And today I am focusing on the last 25 years of Inter’s full-back history. I will divide Inter in three periods: Moratti’s Inter; post-Treble Inter; future Inter.
Massimo Moratti is a great man. Or at least, he was a great Presidente. A mecenate of football. A figure still so strong that belongs in a romantic past where rich families could make great things with football teams. And he gave Inter some of the greatest players that wore our Neroazzurri jerseys. But also great bidoni.
The team was always well covered with great starting players, good subs, always ready reserves and reserves for the reserves. Inter bench has always been the longest in Serie A. But all of Moratti’s Inter had a problem with the left side of the defence. Starting with Roy Hodgson’s Inter.
You may know this guy, he became relatively famous after leaving our team: Roberto Carlos. Roy Hodgson had Roberto Carlos in his Inter. And he claimed he would not make it in football because he was tactically undisciplined. The issue? Hodgson played Carlos as left winger, which saw the best left full-back in history perform 34 games and scoring 7 goals between Serie A, Coppa Italia and UEFA Cup. So Roberto Carlos attempt to do “the Ronaldo” and ask Moratti to remove Hodgson, but he was sold to Real Madrid for 6 millions and we got stuck with Alessandro Pistone (60 games, 1 goal), a better fit for Hodgson’s tactics.
Let’s keep digging down to our Inferno before moving up to Purgatory: we played Taribo West on the left, then moved him as stopper with good results; wasted money on Gilberto da Silva and Georgatos; Christian Panucci, who was more used as right full-back after his experience at Real Madrid because on the left he had that Roberto Carlos, clashed with Marcello Lippi and moved on after 29 games a 1 goal; Francesco Coco, who is remember in Italy for his love story with Manuela Arcuri more than his exploit on the football field; Jeremy Brechet; Gresko, who helped Lazio qualifying to the 2002/2003 Champions League on that faithful 5th of May Serie A game; and Cesar, coming from Lazio with big promises.
Without infamy nor praise, we gave a go to Tarantino, Milanese, Macellari, Franchini, Pasquale and Womé.
And now to the good ones: Favalli came in with Mancini’s Inter and did quite well with us; Fabio Grosso was signed in 2006 and did not quite made a great impact for us, but he was a good left-back; Maxwell was the one who we should not have sold; Cordoba and Zanetti played left-back with Mourinho, because on the right we had Maicon; last but not least, Cristian Chivu.
Things got worse after 2010. With Maicon’s career coming to an end, Inter failed to find a suitable replacement. Which is a big problem as modern football saw full-backs rising in consideration, becoming playmakers and regista. Our historical issue with the left side of our defence, extended to the right flank.
Nagatomo joined the club and was mentored by Javier Zanetti. The Japanese showed respect for our club and put lots of effort in his career with us but failed short; Mbaye, Miangue and Faraoni, youngsters from our Primavera, was promoted to the main roster but left no mark on Inter; Jonathan Cicero Moreira, 66 matches, 5 goals and 11 assists, became Divino and a celebrity on social media. Juan Jesus and Hugo Campagnaro started as centre-back and was moved on the flank; Alvaro Pereira and Cristian Ansaldi played for Inter, as well as Schelotto who scored against A.C. Milan; the world of football is still waiting for Dodò to explode; Montoya came from Barcelona, Wallace from Chelsea, and they both left six months later.
Special mentions for:
- Davide Santon, the man that on the night of the 24th of February 2009, played in Inter-Manchester United and nullified Cristiano Ronaldo. Coming up from our Primavera, this A.C. Milan supporter rose and picked as the next Paolo Maldini under José Mourinho, before going on loan to Cesena in the negotiations for Nagatomo. Davide did not convinced Inter and was sold to Newcastle. He came back to Inter with Mancini but never found his mojo;
- Caner Erkin. We followed him for two years, then De Boer decided he was not going to play. One month later, he was sent to Beşiktaş. We are still waiting for an explanation;
- Alex Telles. We should have kept him. Probably the best left back since Maxwell;
- Joao Cancelo. We wanted to keep him, we could not. They call it Financial Fair Play. Good because forces clubs to be parsimonious and be managed as a company, bad because kills squad growth;
- Sime Vrsaljko, on loan from Atletico, who went for knee surgery and will not be back
The present of Inter is Asamoah, who joined for free from Juventus; Cedric, who is on loan from Southampton and will not be bought; Dalbert, who has failed to explode as the great player Inter hoped he could be; Danilo D’Ambrosio, who is our starting right full-back. Since 2010, Inter spend over 90 millions in full-backs. And made a return of 16 millions from sales. The issue is real.
As this season is almost over, and our obligations to the UEFA Settlement Agreement are done, who will play for Inter next season? We have already reported about Empoli’s Di Lorenzo. Let’s see what other full-backs are there for the taking.
Recent reports claim Inter has reached an agreement with Man City’s Danilo’s entourage, but the club is asking for 30 millions.
Tagliafico is a valid Ajax full-back. His agent has opened to a possible move to Inter, claiming moving to an Italian club would feel like home.
Yesterday, Antonio Valencia confirmed he will leave Manchester United at the end of this season; Matteo Darmian’s contract with United is up at the end of this season, with on option for the next one. Filipe Luis, from Atletico Madrid, is in the same situation. However, he would rather stay at Atletico or move to Barcelona.
From Chelsea, Ola Aina is playing on loan with Torino. The Italian club has an option to buy the player. Davide Zappacosta and Emerson Palmieri are other two full backs Inter is following. But Chelsea is facing a two transfer windows ban and might be reluctant to sell.
Biraghi from Fiorentina is a good profile. He is an Inter grown player and is eligible for the UEFA list.
Hysaj from Napoli was reported to be very close to Inter, as his agent and Inter spoke back in March. But Aurelio De Laurentiis is never an easy negotiator. Inter will also fight Napoli for Lainer from RB Salzburg.
Serge Aurier has not convinced Tottenham and could be made available for transfer at the end of this season. Inter has followed this player last year.
SPAL’s Lazzari has been followed since last transfer window.