After a promising first season under Inzaghi at the helm of Inter last season where they fell short of the league title against cross-city rivals Milan in a thrilling race that lasted until the very last macth-week, it is fair to say that the first half of Inzaghi’s second campaign with the Nerazzurri was quite disastrous, as they were barely hanging on a to a spot within the top four and suffered four losses after fifteen matches, the same amount of defeats they endured throughout the entirety of last season.
In addition, Inter have failed to renew the contract of Milan Skriniar, who is now set to depart on a free transfer to European giants Psg next season. As a result, the decision led to great deal of drama as the club expressed their feelings of betrayal to the media, and the 27 year-old’s entourage provided their perspective within an exclusive interview of the mistreatment of Skriniar from the Benemata.
Following Inter’s convincing 1-0 win against Milan at the Stadio San Siro last week, it seems euphoria has diffused across Milan as Inzaghi managed to bore fruit from the Milanese soil to obtain a vital three points in exquisite fashion, allowing them to possess a five point cushion from fifth-placed Milan.
With plenty of mixed emotions revolving around Inter over the past several weeks, the Footitalia team had Serie A journalist Nima Tavallaey Roodsari break down the sequence of events and provide his insight on the situation of Inter:
Last weekend, Inter clinched all three points in the Derby della Madonnina with a 1-0 victory over Milan in quite a dominant fashion, making it Inzaghi’s first derby win within the league since he arrived at Inter. What are your thoughts on the Nerazzurri’s performance and the significance of this convincing win given everything that has been going on at the club thus far?
“So, let’s start off twith he performance and the game itself. You know, any city derby has its own kind of logic and liveliness. Prior to the Derby, Inter have been very inconsistent. I mean, they beat Napoli, drew to Monza, then they beat Milan in the Supercoppa and then lost at home to Empoli. So, Inter looked all over the place and we did not know what to expect.
“In the morning of the Milan Derby, I remember they published that Pioli was going to play 3-5-2 and my reaction was pure disbelief because with the players they have they don’t know how to operate in a back three. So I thought to myself that it cannot be true. Then the game starts, and we get the lineups and not only is he playing a 3-5-2, but Rafael Leao is on the bench, which made me think, OK, he’s given up. It seemed like he was basically saying to the team to please not lose by many goals, which is unforgivable in the Milanese derby because you just can’t do that and enter the match with that attitude. That’s something that the people of Milan, regardless if they are Inter or Milan fans, the supporters will never forgive you, they just won’t do that.
“During the match, Pioli was lucky in the sense that Inter dominated and created chances in the first half, but they weren’t able to put two or three goals past them as quickly as they did in the Supercoppa. Then there were several penalties that were denied. Also, there were two goals disallowed, one them was offside, which is the most ludicrous call because only one tenth of Lautaro’s forehead was offside and that image showed makes it even more ridiculous.
“Inter were really good, but there were instances where Milan had chances. When Acerbi and Skriniar made these Lucio-like runs up the pitch and lost the ball, which allowed Leao to break on the counter and if Giroud had a better day, he would have scored that. And then all of a sudden, your dominant again, once again another derby that you should have killed off and then it’s a draw, which has been the case of all of the Derbies pretty much, except for one, the first one this season.
“During the Inzaghi era, the first one ended 1-1 where Inter dominated and missed a penalty. Within the second Derby, in the 70th minute, two quick goals which costed Inter the scudetto, and that’s been the story of the Derby del Milano under Inzaghi within the league Meanwhile, Inter achieved a dominant win last season in the Coppa Italia and a three goal victory in the Supercoppa Italianna. This victory was important for Simone, for him to build confidence in what he’s doing in the league, because we know and he knows that he’s a cup coach. Also, he faced a difficult period with Lazio where they were on an incredible run but then Covid hit, so it’s just a question of whether he can translate his cup success towards the league.”
Prior to the derby del Milano, it was released that Milan Skriniar ultimately decided to not renew with Inter and has reached an agreement to join Psg. As a result, a sequence of events occurred with Inter expressing their feelings of betrayal and Skriniar’s agent providing his perspective of Skriniar’s mistreatment by the club in an interview with Telenord. What are your thoughts of the whole Skriniar situation and how has it affected the club?
“I think the Skriniar situation is very particular because it’s a situation that’s an evolving situation. It’s not stagnant as it started one way, and then both parties made wrong decisions. Especially Inter, which led to all of this happening. It’s obvious that Skriniar wanted to stay and that he intended to stay. However, it’s also obvious that Inter did not want to keep him as they tried to sell him in the summer as they wanted to acquire Bremer instead. When you do that, when you want to play the game like that, you have to risk minimize and Beppe Marotta, given the incredible experience he has, should know this.”
“We know for a fact that Milan Skriniar was open to extending his contract after Marcelo Brozovic, which was in the autumn of 2021. That’s when they should have extended him as every negotiation is about leverage so have they gotten it done sooner, PSG would have probably buckled down given the lengthy amount of years that would have been remaining on his contract. But now of course, they’re not going to buckle down. When it’s a 27-year-old defender with less than 12 months left on his contract, they’re not going to pay 80 million. And when you’ve already given them a signal, say that you told the player that you’re in negotiations to sell into PSG, then the player’s representative will contact PSG, and they will give him a ballpark figure of what they’re going to offer, which raises the players, demands anyway. And that’s exactly what happened.
“Loyalty is a two-way party and personally, I think it’s dead in modern football. I think that he’s gone above and beyond to show loyalty to the club that Inter behaved unprofessionally here. They did not handle the situation as they made a mistake to not renew his contract next summer and fumbled on that, which was the route of the problem caused by the club. And that’s just a fact and after that Skriniar has an offer 9 million, and you’re paying him less than what Brozovic is making, but you tell him that he can reach that with add-ons. He’s going to say no to that and why would he ever accept that? Because, you’ve already made it clear that you wanted to sell him, and that’s a player who’s made it clearly that he wanted to stay.
“Now, Skriniar being tempted by money and all that. That’s true, but he is also the guy who sacked his agent and negotiated one contract extension. Now that is incredibly unusual, if not just rare or doesn’t happen in today’s football. You can’t take people for granted and I feel that is something that is very systematic of this Inter Suning with their elitist and arrogant attitude within the marketing “Not For Everyone” and that’s alright coming from a Super club who won 14 Champions League. But, you’re not, you’ve won only one league title, two super cups and one Coppa Italia in 11 years, so you’re not a super club. And that’s that’s been the kind of approach throughout the club towards the media and towards the fans under Sunning.
“The problem with Inter under Sunning is that they like to talk the talk but they cannot walk the walk. Otherwise, if they could actually walk the walk, Antonio Conte would never have left. Achraf Hakimi would never have been sold, and Rodrigo De Paul would have came in to replace Christian Eriksen, but that didn’t happen. So you can’t talk like that. The club always had that approach since Sunning . I prefer to win several championships and then perhaps have this approach, which would be fine. But again, you have to know that when you know that when you talk like that, you also have to walk the walk. Inter are far form there not just financially, but also in making unforced errors, like that of Milan Skriniar. It is unfortunate the situation, but it is what it is.
“Now, I think that the fact that the Curva Nord met him is something that for once I agree with them and really liked as they allowed him to explain his side of the story and published the fact that Skriniar will be professional until the end of the season and that they although they’re not happy with his decision, they respect his decision and do not any internal war within the club. So, Inter feeding to the media that the club feels betrayed by Skriniar’s decision is quite ludicrous and bizarre.”
Several names have been shortlisted as the potential successor of Milan Skriniar such as Giorgio Scalvini, Chris Smalling, and Merih Demiral. As it stands, which player seems to be the most realistic to join Inter next summer? Also, what does the departure of Skriniar mean for De Vrij’s future given that his contract is also set to expire at the end of the season?
“Well, that’s exactly it. They’ve just made a bad situation a hundred times worse, because Stefan De Vrij looks finished. I hope he isn’t’, I hope that he can regain his spot back and that what happened within the last two and half years was temporary. Although, I was one of the few people who said during the scudetto-winning campaign that we are starting to see signs of decline and this season has been an absolute unmitigated disaster. But, I mean, we are seeing signs of improvement.
“I don’t know if he’ll be able to deliver at that level again and if it’s mental or physical, but it is an important one to get right because given the style Inter play, Acerbi is the starter, and he’s been very, very good . But again, he’s 34. He’s going to decline at some point too. I think it’s a mistake to sign him permanently and go after Chris Smalling. I think with Skriniar, it will be a mistake for him to leave and for Inter to replace him with Smalling. I understand that Skriniar plays to the right and the other two play within the middle, but it seems like Acerbi and Smalling in and Skriniar out, which is not right. Now, I don’t think Inter can afford Scalvini, I just don’t see that happening because of the financial situation.
“For me, if I could choose, I would want to redo that defence entirely. I’d, start off by sorting out Bastoni. If he doesn’t extend, I’d sell him in the summer, because we can’t go through this again with another top centre-back only having 12 months remaining on his contract. Either you pay the man what he wants, and you sign him to a five-year deal, or you sell him in the summer. And you go after Merih Demrial,and go for Parisi of Empoli. You get Parisi as you can play him to the left out-wide, you go after Demiral and you put him in the middle. Then you try to tell Lazio that you’ll take a charity on a loan, another loan, free of charge, and will pay half of his wages, take it or leave it.
“I believe they should also look into a right-wing back because I think Matteo Darmian should move to the right centre-back role of that back three the older he gets. I think that’s the right place to put him next season. The club has put themselves in quite a bit big mess let’s not kid ourselves, but unfortunately this is the current situation.
“I think Demiral would be good as he is 24 so he can grow and develop, he’s strong defensively and physically, so there’s a future there. There is no future with Chris Smalling and having Acerbi on lower wages. Also, having Parisi is one signing that I would absolutely love. He’s quick, technical,and he’s fast. I know he plays as wing-back, but I would sign him as a left centre-back if Bastoni leaves. But if you can get past the Bastoni negotiations, I’d go after Parisi anyways because ou can play Parisi to the left, and Bastoni in the middle. I really believe in this Parisi kid and I also strongly believe that redoing the entire back-line and signing younger players is the way to go.”
With Inter unlikely to renew Roberto Gagliardini as his contract with the club is set to expire, the Benemata are potentially thinking of utilizing Giovanni Fabian within the first-team as a replacement, who is 20 years old and is currently loaned out to Serie B outfits Reggina and has seven goals and one assist in 22 appearances within the league. What are your thoughts of Fabian as a player and do you believe that he is ready to be featured within the first team?
“I saw Reggina’s sporting director say that he sees similarities between Fabian and Milinkovic-Savic. I would not go so far but understand what he means. I think Inter must go for a defensive midfielder to replace Gagliardini. I don’t think Fabian is that guy. I hope that they can keep Brozovic, but I have a feeling he’s going to be sacrificed in the summer, unfortunately. If they can extend Calhanoglu’s contract, which is a must, Barella looks like he is going to stay and Mkhitaryan has been a great signing, then I won’t be too concerned for the midfield. However, if they can keep Brozovic, I don’t think they’re going to keep Borzovic, but if they can keep him and bring Fabian up, that’s a fantastic midfield, arguably one of the best midfield within the league, with Asllani as a back-up.
“That’s also a factor to take in, what do you do with Asllani? Personally, I would keep Calhanoglu as a defensive midfielder if you’re going to sell Brozovic, because I think Asllani is not technically or tactically aware of what it requires to play in that role. But as for Fabian, I think the right thing to do was to leave him at a Reggina. I know I’ve been going back and forth on this a bit on twitter but in the end, I do believe ultimately that it was good for his development to finish a good season with Reggina. If he gets them promoted and continues to expand towards double digits, that’s good for his progress. . Then you bring him to base and you have a proper preseason with him. You evaluate him during preseason and then decide whether he should be involved with the first team. After, you may consider to sell Brozovic if Fabian is ready to play minutes with Inter next season, although I don’t necessarily agree that with that nor want that to happen.
“I think it’s a joke that Inter are in this position to begin with, because you’re not strengthening the side, you keep trying put out fires within the club and it doesn’t help. With Brozovic in his 30s and his high wages, these are the continuous decisions that Inter have to make with Sunning as the owners of the club. It is unfortunate and I’m sorry, but that’s the reality. I wish it wasn’t and it were up to me, you would have all six central midfielders playing for Inter next season and rotate them, but that’s not a possibility unfortunately.”