The former Juventus and Chelsea man has returned to coaching with the sleeping giants of San Siro, with big changes expected over the summer
“It will be a new start for Inter”. Those words have become depressingly familiar for fans of the Nerazzurri: a motto that has been repeated almost every season since the treble triumph of 2010.
Next year, however, might just be different. The arrival of Antonio Conte on the bench and a final resolution to the Mauro Icardi saga promises to be accompanied by a drastic renewal of the Inter squad, raising new hopes for 2019-20.
Could this be the season that Inter end Juventus’ eight-year Scudetto streak and finally win a first trophy in almost a decade?
Any recruiting plans will most likely be carried out in strict adherence to the wishes of the new coach, which will clearly impact the coming transfer window. Between Conte, CEO Giuseppe Marotta, sporting director Piero Ausilio and, not least, the demanding Inter support, each twist and turn of the market looks set to be followed with feverish anticipation.
So here is how Conte’s Inter revolution could play out, in terms of the playing squad…
Recently named Inter’s captain following the decision to strip Icardi of the armband, Samir Handanovic was one of the stars of the 2018-19 season.
The Slovenian won Serie A’s Goalkeeper of the Season prize; but just a month away from his 35th birthday the Nerazzurri are keen to pair him with a younger face.
Gabriel Brazao is expected to join over the summer after spending the first half of 2019 on loan at Parma, while Cagliari’s Alessio Cragno has also been observed, although he is not seen as a priority for the coming season.
IN: Gabriel Brazao
Known for building his teams from the back, Conte will make improving Inter’s defence – most likely with three in the middle, his favoured system – one of his first jobs. Diego Godin is set to be Inter’s first signing of the summer on a Bosman, joining Milan Skriniar and Stefan de Vrij as the club’s starting backline.
Miranda and Andrea Ranocchia, unless offers for the pair emerge, will act as deputies for that trio, while Alessandro Bastoni will return from Parma although the young centre-back’s temporary future probably lies away from Inter. Danilo D’Ambrosio is also a utility option in the current squad.
Aside from Godin there are few concrete options in the transfer market, with Laurent Koscielny and Kostas Manolas both long shots to arrive this summer, but there is a strong chance that another new face emerges before the window closes.
OUT: Bastoni (on loan)
With plenty of options to choose from, the centre of midfield appears to be one of Inter’s strongest positions. Radja Nainggolan looks set to be Conte’s first choice in the engine room, leaving Matias Vecino and Roberto Gagliardini as further alternatives.
One further signing in the middle is likely, with Nicolo Barella in pole position (a likelier purchase than Ajax sensation Donny van de Beek), while there is still some discussion with regards to the regista spot at the base of the midfield. Marcelo Brozovic will be given the chance, albeit fighting it out with a new face: the name that has appeared most often is Genk’s Norwegian star Sander Berge . Borja Valero and Joao Mario , meanwhile, are considered expendable by Conte.
Out on the wings, the big shock concerns Ivan Perisic. His time at San Siro appeared to be coming to an end, but Conte could spring a surprise and gamble on his talents. The Croatian, who would be forced to adapt somewhat, will alternate with Kwadwo Asamoah on the left flank, where Dalbert will be surplus to requirements.
On the right, Candreva, Politano and D’Ambrosio will all be considered depending on Conte’s tactical needs, which means little will change on the wings aside from Perisic’s stay.
IN: Barella, Berge.
OUT: Dalbert, Valero, Joao Mario.
Conte has limited options up front. Behind Icardi and Lautaro Martinez lies only Andrea Pinamonti , who returns from a loan spell at Frosinone.
Obviously, Inter’s transfer plans this summer hinge on Icardi : if the Argentine stays on Marotta plans to give his new coach two talented alternatives, with Edin Dzeko and Steven Bergwijn of PSV the prime candidates.
If Icardi departs on the other hand, the Nerazzurri are likely to go all out for Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku , a transfer that would be well-received at San Siro but which also promises to be extremely difficult to close given the costs in transfer fee and wages. Lukaku, however, is open to the transfer.
Icardi’s exit would make absolutely essential the capture of Dzeko, a proven goalscorer with ample experience in Serie A.
IN: Dzeko, Lukaku, Bergwijn, Pinamonti (return from loan)
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