Inter Milan players set to star at the next World Cup

2022 will see the FIFA World Cup held in an Arab state for the first time as Qatar plays host. 32 nations will participate and compete for the right to be called the best in the world, with France heading into the tournament as the previous winners. And as has been the case for practically every instalment of the competition since its inception in 1930, we can expect to see a host of Inter players grace international football’s biggest stage.

There have been some concerns that the country may not be ready to host matches, with England reportedly ready to step in as a back-up host, but those fears have not resurfaced recently. In this article, we will examine some of the players established at the senior level and the youngsters coming through who we can expect to see play for their country in 2022’s showpiece in the middle east.

Italian internationals

Excluding the players presently out on loan, the Inter Milan squad includes nine players eligible to play for Italy. Of that nine, Roberto Gagliardini, Stefano Sensi, Andrea Ranocchia, Nicolo Barella, Danilo D’Ambrosio, and Antonio Candreva have caps at senior level for the Azzurri.

Sebastiano Esposito and Lorenzo Pirola have both played at multiple youth levels but are yet to earn senior call-ups. Exciting young striker Esposito will be 20 by the time the World Cup in Qatar arrives, while defender Lorenzo Pirola could also be knocking on the door for selection after recently earning his first under-19s cap.

At the other end of the spectrum, 33-year-old Candreva could find himself forced out of the reckoning, while fellow veteran Ranocchia chose to retire from international duty in 2016. Meanwhile, 31-year-old D’Ambrosio had to wait until 2017 to earn his first senior call up and will likely still be keen to feature on the biggest stage.

Overseas stars

Of course, the Inter Milan squad features a diverse group of international stars, with hot talents from Europe, Africa, and South America. Perhaps the most experienced outfield player is Englishman Ashley Young, who, at 35, has made 39 appearances for his country since debuting a full 13 years ago.

Goalkeeper Samir Handanovic has made close to 300 appearances for Inter and he has also given great service to Slovenia, but he retired from international football in 2015 after making 81 appearances for his country.

Further afield, new permanent arrival Alexis Sanchez is a legend in his native Chile, making more than 130 appearances for the South American nation since 2006 and showing no signs of slowing down. The 2022 World Cup could be the perfect way for him to bow out should his country qualify.

Another forward, Romelu Lukaku, has played a key role in Belgium’s emergence as a force in world football since 2010. The Red Devils are priced at 13.00 to win the World Cup in international football betting markets – more highly fancied than Italy. However, Lukaku has previously told media that he may consider retiring from international football at a relatively young age.

Elsewhere, Ghanaian Kwadwo Asamoah, Uruguayan duo Diego Godin, and Matias Vecino will be eager to make their mark, while Dutch defender Stefan de Vrij has played a major part in the Netherlands’ re-emergence as a footballing force during the last five years.

It’s clear that everywhere you look in the Inter squad, and across the majority of Europe’s elite clubs, there is impressive international talent. And although Inter fans likely have their own nation to support, we’ll definitely be rooting for our boys when they turn out for their respective countries in two years’ time.

Inter angling for star in the making Tonali

Separating hype from true potential is not a new phenomenon to the football fan. In the early years of a career, some players hit the ground the running and sustain that performance for decades. Others shine brightly and fade a few years later. Some might never realise their potential at all. For Inter Milan, the 20/21 season beckons ever closer and, as they set their sights on one of those mercurial talents, they will face off with some of their biggest rivals to win his signature, in a deal that could easily cost north of 50 million euros – and he’s only 19 years old.

We’re talking, of course, about Sandro Tonali – the player penned to be the next Pirlo – while barely out of his teenage years.

Source: Unsplash

The heir to the throne?

Tonali has only been playing in the Italian top flight for a single season – helping Brescia claim victory in the Serie B back in 2018. At 5″11, with a slight build and long, wavy hair, he plays the role of the regista – a deep-lying holding midfielder with strengths in passing and vision – the same as Pirlo, who also started his career at Brescia. With one goal and five assists in 23 games, his value comes largely from the way he can dictate a game’s flow and rhythm, building up attacks from the halfway line.

Much like the legendary Andrea Pirlo, his value lies in the things basic statistics often cannot measure. He provides a strategic intelligence and maturity on the field, citing Gerrard and Modric as some of his own personal, greatest influences.

For Inter Milan, his signing could mean building an attack around him, while he can bring the best out of their considerable talent upfront on Politano, Martinez, and Lukaku. Tonali could rewrite the Nerazzurri and enhance their prospects, particularly within the football betting markets; where praise for both Erikson and Lukaku are tempered by the perception that they are not realising their full potential with Inter. Understandably, Tonali could be the key to the Milan midfield.

Source: Unsplash

Competition from all sides

Inter Milan’s proposal has been described as a ‘Barella-style’ deal – essentially, a loan with an obligation to buy, along with assorted bonuses linked to metrics like goals and appearances, potentially driving the reported €50 million Brescia are seeking for their young starlet.

According to recent reporting, Inter will be competing with the likes of Juventus, however, they are buoyed up by alleged ‘strong approval’ from Tonali himself. Brescia’s president Massimo Cellino implied that the choice would be up to Tonali in the case that offers were relatively similar in value.

Source: Unsplash

A long way to go

The likelihood of this transfer saga being over quickly is slim. From a Brescia perspective, driving up the price tag is a priority, however, the wellbeing of Tonali – who many might forget is still very young – and making sure he makes a move which benefits his career should come into the equation.

After all, Italy’s national squad is wanting for a new generation of stars to lift their team out of recent under-performing. With Donnarumma looking to take over from Buffon, Gaetano, Esposito, and Colley among many young Italians maturing into world-class players – Tonali could be the missing puzzle piece to more than just Inter Milan’s domestic ambitions.

Inter are a team on the up so why the Marcos Alonso link?

You may be reading the headline of this article and think to yourself that it is blindingly obvious why Inter are linked with Marcos Alonso. And your reasoning would be totally correct as Antonio Conte initially brought Alonso to Chelsea in the summer of 2016 after the left-back put pen to paper on a deal that saw him leave Fiorentina.

Conte is obviously a big fan of Alonso but interestingly enough so was Maurizio Sarri given that the 29-year-old was handed a five-year contract extension in October 2018 by the current Juventus boss. That deal saw Alonso earn a reported £100,000 a week which is now being cited as the reason for his drop off in form over the last 12 months.

Current Blues manager Frank Lampard has gone on record saying that Alonso needs to improve his performances in training if he wants to make the matchday squad in the future. So here we are, a clear link between Conte and Alonso but with the latter struggling to make an impact at Chelsea with his form being publicly slated. So what does Conte think he can do to turn the situation around and should Inter be looking for younger players without as much baggage?

There’s always an argument for experience and with Inter looking likely to go toe to toe with Juve for the Serie A title, a player with Alonso’s know-how may be the perfect addition to the change room. There is just a thought, however, that Alonso’s defending is being found out more and more these days with opposition manager’s targeting the left side of Chelsea’s defence with their attacks.

Do Inter really want a player prone to the odd defensive blunder being thrown into the cauldron this late on a title fight? At the end of the day, it’s up to Antonio Conte and if he thinks so then that should be enough but there is a growing belief that you roll the dice when it comes to an aging Alonso who is being questioned for his work ethic.

Even if it is only a loan move right now as it’s being reported, you’d imagine that Conte would look to make it permanent in the summer, but a £4.6million annual salary on player that is heading into the twilight of his career makes you question the logic of it all.

By all means, splash out on an experienced left-back, age doesn’t have to be a stumbling block. Just have a look at Jordi Alba, 30-year-old and helpping fire his team to the title, that’s at least what the latest La Liga betting suggests with Barca at a mere 2/5 to make it a hat-trick of league trophies.

Make no mistake, solid left-backs over 30 are out there and with Inter beginning to stir and look like a European giant once more, the club needs to go for the very best. What this whole situation goes to show is that the arrival of Antonio Conte has shaken up the club and has the Inter fans slowly adjusting their mentality as far as transfer targets go.

Inter need period of stability to regain Serie A foothold

curva-nord

 

 

 

 

 

 

Il biscione e l’fc Internazionale III” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by batrax

Inter Milan have endured a staggering decline over the past six years, which has seen the club drop from conquering the Champions League to suffering embarrassing defeats in the Europa League. During Jose Mourinho’s tenure at the San Siro the Nerazzurri secured their first major European title in 45 years when they won the competition in the 2009/10 campaign, while they also reeled off their four Serie A crowns on the spin to dominate football in Italy.

However, since the Portuguese’s departure the club were brushed aside in the league by the rising talents of Juventus, who have established themselves as the prominent force in Italian football. On the continent, matters have been even worse for Inter, failing to compete in the latter stages of tournaments or otherwise not qualifying for them at all.

The Nerazzurri have been through a host of managers since 2010; eight to be precise. Rafael Benitez, Leonardo, Gian Piero Gasperini, Claudio Ranieri, Andrea Stramaccioni, Walter Mazzarri, Roberto Mancini have all come and gone at the San Siro. Frank de Boer currently sits in the dugout, although with the club’s struggles this season you have to wonder how long he will reside there.

inter-2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P1013420” (CC BY 2.0) by Sona Hovasapyan

Inter have endured a stuttering start to the Serie A campaign, taking 11 points from their opening eight matches, while back-to-back defeats to Roma and Cagliari have knocked them out of the top half of the table, leaving them in 11th place.

Their inconsistent form has put them in trouble in the past, and as a result they are backed in the latest Bet365 Serie A betting odds at 3/1 to finish inside the top three, although Roma, Napoli and bitter rivals AC Milan have stronger credentials, while Juventus remain alone at the top.

For all their pitfalls there is a lot of quality in their squad after a surge of signings over the summer, with Joao Mario, Gabriel and Antonio Candreva all joining the club. This boosted the talent already at the San Siro with Mauro Icardi, Ivan Perisic and Geoffrey Kondogbia, giving De Boer plenty of attacking options, although their weakness lies in the defence.

Miranda has struggled to reproduce his form from his days at Atletico for the Nerazzurri, while Jeison Murillo and Andrea Ranocchia have proven to be unreliable, particularly the latter in his dismissal against Sparta Prague in the Europa League. Given that De Boer’s strength as a manager is his defensive tactics, time will tell if the Dutchman can rectify these issues.

On their day Inter are a match for anyone as their victory over Juventus proved at the San Siro. Unfortunately for the club those days have been few and far between, giving their supporters little to shout about. Discontent has been present in their fanbase for a while now, and Icardi’s outburst in his autobiography has not improved matters, with supporters even cheering when he missed a spot-kick against Cagliari and demanding his removal as captain.

Reports suggest that he could leave for Arsenal in January, which would leave the club without their top goalscorer and their captain. That would also put further pressure on their weak defence, deepening their problems as Stevan Jovetic, Eder Martins and Gabriel are not prolific enough to replace the Argentine’s impact.

Inter are a team in need of stability and losing further players, especially one at the core of the team would only put them further behind their rivals at the top. De Boer needs time to implement his style of management on the club, as only then will they be able to move forward and attempt to wrestle away Juventus’ dominance of Italian football.