Big summer for: Inter Milan

2010 seems like such a long time ago for Inter Milan. Under Jose Mourinho, in just his second full season in charge of the Nerazzuri, the club became the first team in the history of Italian football to secure the treble, winning the Scudetto, Coppa Italia and Champions League during the 2009/10 season.

However, having picked up the trophies, Mourinho opted to exit the San Siro on a high for Real Madrid and it has all been downhill since there. Since the Special One left, Inter have gone through five managers in a vain attempt to replicate the accolades he won the club during his two years in Italy.

Rafa Benitez, Leonardo, Gian Piero Gasperini and Claudio Ranieri were all brought in by trigger happy chairman Massimo Moratti and either left on their own accord or were sacked by the Italian due to poor performances. As a result, Andrea Stramaccioni was promoted from his role as youth team coach and after winning seven of his 11 games in charge of the Inter first-team, it was today confirmed that he would continue his role until the end of the 2015 season.

Yet, how long will that last? If results don’t go the 36-year-old’s way, how long before Moratti believes enough is enough? Some believe the Inter hot-seat to be a poisoned chalice, due to the chairman’s willingness to sack any underperforming manager at will. For an under-experienced manager like Stramaccioni, who is still working on obtaining his UEFA Pro coaching license, this summer could be pivotal to his success as a manager and next season for Inter.

An ageing squad

It is no secret that Inter possess one of the oldest squads in Europe, very similar to how rivals AC Milan were a number of seasons ago. With Yuto Nagatomo, Lucio, Walter Samuel and Maicon the back four during the last game of the Serie A season, a 3-1 defeat to Lazio, the age of all four combined was 123.

With the club perceived as one of the best in Europe, and fabled for its rock solid defence from the days of Helenio Herrera, a combined age of a backline reaching three figures, and quite high into that figure as well I might add, will always be susceptible to mistakes, just from age alone. Samuel and Lucio aren’t getting any younger at with each now at 34, strikers will find it easier to pick out space behind the two defenders and exploit the lack of pace between the pairing.

This is one key area that will need, not necessarily strengthening, but an injection of youth. The duo were never the quickest of defenders in their heyday and with just three, maybe four, years of football left in their respective careers, Stramaccioni will need to long beyond the defensive pairing, perhaps in time for the new season.

Nagatomo, the youngest, at just 25 years of age, of the aforementioned quartet, won’t need replacing having established himself as a regular in the starting XI for the Nerazzuri but Maicon, on the other, looks to be past his brilliant best of his earlier Inter days. Made to look average by Gareth Bale during the 2010/11 Champions League campaign, chinks are now beginning to show in the right-backs armour.

Dropped from the Brazil squad after a drop of form, despite showing enough to warrant interest from Manchester City, it may be time for the club to think about bringing in a new full-back to replace the 30-year-old. With Christian Chivu now 31, it leaves just Andrea Ranocchia and Marco Davide Faraoni as the only defenders, along with Nagatomo, under the age of 30 with any real first team experience.

A similar problem runs through the midfield and the front-line, with a number of starters the wrong side of 30. Esteban Cambiasso, Diego Forlan, Diego Milito, new signing Rodrigo Palacio, Dejan Stankovic, Javier Zanetti; all are aged 30 or above. All possess the necessary quality to succeed at the top, there is no doubting that, but a massive injection of youth throughout the first-team is desperately needed, despite Wesley Sneijder, Freddy Guarin and Ricardo Alvarez all involved in or around the starting XI under Stramaccioni.


As previously mentioned, Inter are currently on their fifth manager since Mourinho left in 2010. To put into contrast, Moratti has hired and fired 19 managers in the 17 years he has been at the helm of the club. Manchester United, for example, have hired and fired the same number of managers in 120 years.

The Nerazzuri are in desperate need of some stability in order to succeed in the long run. Current Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini and Mourinho are the two longest serving managers under Moratti’s reign, lasting four and two years respectively, with the former, despite picking up seven trophies in those four years, still sacked by the Italian.

With Stramaccioni, Moratti has taken a huge gamble in appointing the 36-year-old as Ranieri’s successor, but his win ratio of 63.64% during his short stint as head coach suggests the chairman may have made the right choice. Now, after confirming the former youth team coach will remain in charge of first-team affairs for at least next season, reports today have claimed that he will stay on for at least another three seasons at the San Siro.

Part of the reason Moratti may have opted to hand the reins to Stramaccioni is that, having seen the success of Pep Guardiola with Barcelona, he may be able to replicate the accolades the Spaniard achieved at the Camp Nou. Either way, if Inter are to achieve further success over the coming years, Moratti will have to stick with the young Italian, even if the results on the pitch aren’t going according to plan.

Under Stramaccioni, the former youth team coach is already accustomed to the up and coming talents at the club and with him in charge; that aforementioned injection of youth may come sooner rather than later, and down a less expensive path that Moratti may have taken in the past.