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 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.