Why Spalletti had to go
In the beginning of August it all looked like Inter was going to give Juventus some badly needed competition in the Serie A. Inter had managed to keep Ivan Perisic, Milan Skriniar and Mauro Icardi and reinforced themselves with Sime Vrsaljko and Radja Nainggolan. Matteo Politano and Keita Baldé arrived on a loan deal from Sassuolo and As Monaco and perhaps most importantly, Stefan de Vrij came in as a free agent from direct domestic rival Lazio and Lautaro Martinez came over from Racing Club. Long story short, no big names left and new big names came in.
During the start of the season, Inter fans became aware of the fact that with this new team a lot of things did not go as was planned beforehand. Icardi started to drop off in terms of goal-scoring, Perisic looked tired from the World cup & that he didn’t want to be there and Danilo D’ambrosio was more frequently selected than Sime Vrsaljko as RB because of reoccurring injuries to the Croatian international.
But most importantly the first signs that trouble was ahead not only on the pitch but also in the dressing room were in December when Radja Nainggolan was kicked out of the Christmas party of the club due to his misbehavior. It was already noticed that Radja did not bring to the table what everybody expected from him and that was painful for Spalletti since he was the one that insisted on Nainggolan coming to inter because they had such a nice personal relationship. Long story short, this was the first sign of a lack of trust in the Mister’s judgement.
February arrived & only one day before a game against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa league Inter management stripped the Captaincy from Icardi who then immediately refused to play for Inter again. Mauro didn’t travel with the squad to the Europa League fixture & the blame subsequently fell on Spalletti. The events re-ignited the Icardi-transfer saga in which wife and agent Wanda Nara has played a pivotal role in.
On the pitch, Inter were kicked out of the EL which was the third blow after letting the race for champions go in September already and getting knocked out of the coppa a few weeks before the Eintracht Frankfurt game. So it was in February when it became obvious that, again, Inter would not compete for anything else than the third of fourth spot which grants access to the Champions league. February served as the official downfall month for Inter, who thought they had buried certain ghosts of seasons past by gaining December wins against Empoli & Napoli back to back.
Fast forward to the back end of the season, and Inter were literally crawling over the line. Failure to take a win at home to Atalanta, Roma & Juventus accompanied by a poor result against Udinese, and Inter were left at the commencement of match day 38, still needing a win to secure the season’s minimal objective.
Spalletti did what he could with the troubles but never gave the Inter fans what they longed for so long; a true race at the top of Serie A. Spalletti had to go because he did not improve the results while the team was drastically improved. That and some very bad luck in the dressing room is enough to get fired these days. We are thankful to all the mister has done for this club, by returning it to the competitive nature of the UCL, but this is where his journey, rightfully ends.
- Written by Tom Braakhekke