Similar to their Milanese counterpart, Inter underwent a massive change at the ownership level this summer. With a new vision came major investment into the Nerazzurri who were one of the best performers in the latest mercato season.
This past June, joint venture Suning Sports purchased the majority stake in the Nerazzurri from acting president Erick Thohir and Massimo Moratti’s family for an estimated €270 million.
With this massive deal, Inter were seeded an influx of funds for the summer. Sporting director Piero Ausilio went to work molding the former treble winners into a legitimate contender for Europe.
Below are the following transfers, in and out, involving Inter this summer.
-Éver Banega (from Sevilla- free transfer)
-Cristian Ansaldi (from Genoa- €6m)
-Caner Erkin (from Fenerbahce- free transfer)
-Andrea Ranocchia (from Sampdoria- return from loan)
-Marco Andreolli (from Sevilla- return from loan)
-Gianluca Caprari (from Pescara- €5m)
-Eloge Yao (from Crotone- return from loan)
-Lorenzo Crisetig (from Bologna- activated €2.7m buy option)
-Antonio Candreva (from Lazio- €22m)
-Rey Manaj (from Cremonese- activated €500k buy option)
-João Mário (from Sporting CP- €40m)
-Gabriel “Gabigol” Barbosa (from Santos FC- €28m)
-Cristiano Biraghi (Pescara-€4m)
-Lorenzo Crisetig (Crotone- season-long loan)
-Diego Laxalt (Genoa- €4m)
-Juan Jesus (Roma-€2m loan w/ obligation to buy at €8m)
-Caner Erkin (Besiktas- loan w/ option to buy at €2m)
-Dodo (Sampdoria- two-year loan w/ obligation to buy at €5m)
-Gianluca Caprari (Pescara- season-long loan)
-Rey Manaj (Pescara- season-long loan)
-Federico DiMarco (Empoli- season-long loan)
-Francesco Bardi (Frosinone- season-long loan)
-Samuele Longo (Girona FC- season-long loan)
-Alex Telles (Galatasaray-end of loan)
Technically, Inter’s summer mercato started off tremendously. In June, the Suning Group purchased the majority stake in the club, and Argentina midfielder Éver Banega was the first to arrive on a free transfer from Europa League champions Sevilla.
The Nerazzurri had agreed to acquire him months earlier on a contract expiry with the Spanish club, but were unable to officially confirm their newest attacking midfielder until July once the window opened. His arrival is considered by many as one of the top additions of the summer for his tremendous playmaking ability, pedigree and of course the cost — zilch — for him to swap Spain for Italy.
Inter Milan’s Argentinian midfielder Ever Banega (R) vies for the ball with Palermo’s Swedish midfielder Robin Quaison during the Italian Serie A football match Inter Milan versus Palermo at the San Siro Stadium in Milan on August 28, 2016. / AFP / GIUSEPPE CACACE (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)
After the Banega splash, fullback Cristian Ansaldi arrived from Genoa, providing needed depth on the flanks. Despite two nice additions, supporters of the Nerazzurri demanded more from their club and the new owners. It wasn’t long until Antonio Candreva was snatched from Lazio, answering the call of the fans.
It’s quite clear how effective the 29-year old winger can be. Candreva gives new manager Frank de Boer a technical playmaker out wide who provides pressure with pace and pinpoint crossing ability. His lengthy Serie A experience — and success — will be a breath of fresh air inside Inter camp.
With the final days of the summer window approaching, questions remained as to whether Inter could pull off the double swoop for two of Europe’s top targets. Despite a rather steep cost, the Lombard club managed to fend off major interest and land European Championship standout João Mario from Sporting CP, and beat Juventus to the signature of the next Brazilian star, 20-year old Gabigol.
It was an impressive way for Inter to end the summer to say the least, and de Boer now has two explosive players to round out his side for the new season.
This summer was a chaotic one for Inter. The Chinese takeover, the departure of Roberto Mancini, Mauro Icardi’s future and the abundance of work needed in order to finish top three for Champions League football.
Overall, Inter had quite the summer. The arrivals of Candreva, Banega, João Mário and Gabigol are rather impressive signings given the areas they bolster. Credit to Ausilio for managing to acquire the Portuguese midfielder who will provide an added dimension to the midfield which includes Geoffrey Kondogbia and Banega. Each player provides a bit of a different skill-set and it will allow for de Boer to be flexible on a weekly basis when rotating players, especially in Europa League play.
For Inter to coup a player like Gabigol, who seemed destined for Real Madrid, Barcelona or Juventus, speaks volumes to what their intentions are. Inter flexed serious muscle on the mercato for him, and few imagined them as THE club he would sign for in his first European adventure.
Perhaps lost in all the big-money signings was the purchase of youngster Gianluca Caprari from Pescara. He will spend the season with the newly promoted Delfini — led by Massimo Oddo — but nonetheless a good addition for the future.
While their latest dealings of the summer have been highly applauded, there were some major gaffes.
MILAN, ITALY – AUGUST 28: Head coach Frank de Boer, of Internazionale, issues instructions during the Seria A match between FC Internazionale and US Citta di Palermo at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on August 28, 2016 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)
The dismissal of Roberto Mancini was handled very poorly. Frank de Boer arrived just weeks ago from the Ajax bench with no past experience managing in Italy. This is a very unique league and, like many others, requires substantial time including a full summer training season to adapt to style of play.
Through two matches, the club fell to Chievo (2-0) and tied relegation-contenders Palermo. While it’s still very early in his tenure, you’d assume the leash will be short with de Boer given the massive project in place for the black and blue.
Also, the defense remains a question mark and went unaddressed. Jeison Murillo and Joao Miranda were as good as any pairing through January last season, but stumbled towards the finish line. Samir Handanovic remains an elite keeper but it’s likely that he will be left vulnerable now after having made no additions to the central defense. Maybe de Boer can make the returning Andrea Ranocchia a half-decent defender, but thats’s highly unlikely given his track record.
Perhaps they can retool the back line in January if things go sour. Still, when looking at the names now added to the mix, you can’t argue against Inter who seem to have done enough to compete for Champions League allocation.
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