Inter Club Focus: Where has it all gone wrong?
At the beginning of the season there was a lot of hype surrounding a supposed ‘new era’ at Inter and the beginning of a new project and many even tipped them as potential Scudetto winners.
After a superb start and after defeating Juventus away, it was looking like the Nerazzurri could be on their way to claiming their 19th Scudetto.
However, since the victory against the Bianconeri, Andrea Stramaccioni’s men have won five, drawn five and lost seven and it seems Inter are back to square one, with Champions League football drifting further away as every week passes. The question remains who is to blame for this mess that has engulfed the club ever since 2010?
Many have pointed the figure towards Stramaccioni for his poor tactics and inability to inspire the team and get the best out of the current squad. The young Roman tactician has to take some of the blame, but the real problem lies with the hierarchy, the lack of planning, poor decision making and numerous transfer market disasters.
The word ‘project’ was constantly thrown about during the summer with a lot of new faces coming in during the summer to try and replace many of the treble era. It looked like Massimo Moratti and co had finally brought in a proper, logical plan for the summer mercato. The likes of Rodrigo Palacio, Samir Handanovic and Fredy Guarin (after loan spell) were all purchased and the Nerazzurri were seemingly building a competitive squad.
Despite some clever purchases, as always with Inter, there was just as many, if not more, dreadful, mediocre signings, with the likes of Matias Silvestre, Alvaro Pereira, Walter Gargano and Gaby Mudingayi all brought in during the summer, not to mention the additions of Tomasso Rocchi and Ezequiel Schelotto added in January.
In the last few years Moratti has continuously worked at reducing the wage bill with Financial Fair Play looming and many of the big earners who had helped win the club everything have now gone in favour of a cheaper option. Since the beginning of last season the Nerazzurri have saved €55 million in wages.
Of course, when bringing in cheaper alternatives they are never going to be as high quality but the money that has been spent has not been spent wisely. The combined cost of Pereira, Ricardo Alvarez, Palacio, Silvestre, Jonathan and Andrea Ranocchia was approximately €57 million.
With the exception of Palacio they have all struggled to make a significant impact on the team. This is just the tip of the iceberg and is not including the likes of Diego Forlan and others. With finances limited Inter can not afford to be wasting money like they have done in the last few years.
The question stills remains who is to blame? Sporting director Marco Branca has come in for heavy criticism of late and he is without doubt the biggest culprit. The list of poor signings is endless and it his job to find the appropriate players and to sign them. The final straw for many Interisti was in January when he let go promising young striker Marko Livaja and brought in 35 year old Rocchi from Lazio.
Moratti has spoke of possible changes in recent weeks and there has been strong rumours linking former coach Leonardo to the sporting director role. Of course Branca is not completely to blame and everyone has to take their fair share of the blame with the likes of Piero Ausillo and even the president culpable.
The transfer strategy is not the only problem and long term there is many more things the Nerazzurri will need to improve to continuously stay at the top level. The key is owning their own stadium which is not just a problem for Inter but for almost every team in the peninsula apart from Juventus.
Last season the Nerazzurri made around €23.2 million from ticket sales. Compare this to Liverpool who had a similar average attendance of around 44,500 and made €55.9 million. This puts Inter at a serious disadvantage when it comes to how much money they can spend on players and the amount of wages they can pay.
On the bright side it has been reported that Moratti is looking to build Inter’s own stadium with the help of Chinese investors but nothing is concrete just yet. If a new stadium is to be built it will be at least four years away.
The way the club is marketed around the world is also essential, especially in a era of modern football. Last year Inter reported €50.3 million in commercial revenue which is shockingly low for a club of their stature. This is in comparison to city Rivals AC Milan who made €96.8 million.
This summer will be make or break for Inter and it could see a much needed clear out at Appiano Gentile. Sacking yet another coach will achieve very little with the problems at the club lying much deeper than the coach. It is not going to be a quick fix for La Beneamata but with the correct decisions and some patience it can only get better from now on.