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Are There Untouchables?


In a season that has been warped, in my opinion by conflicting goals that changed midseason, I don't know what will happen in the Inter front offices. I have my preferences on who should stay or go, but that’s not really the question I’m asking right now. Moratti will make a decision on that.

My purview is more visceral than the cold logical decisions that Moratti is facing. With all the money tied up in the team – and that is still a substantial amount, remembering that Inter will probably have the third, fourth or fifth ( depending on how things shake out) highest payroll in the land – and all the energy tied up on the youth sector the question is whether there is anyone from this team that is guaranteed to make it back next year?

Or, are all going to be held accountable.

The recent history since Moratti has taken over has been to kill the coach before the players. But times and bank balances are a changin’. The current coach is actually pretty cheap and it’s not likely that an expensive one is going to take over the team without a big budget or Europe. Plus, Moratti is desperate to bring balances to as close to black as possible and hiring multiple coaches per year doesn’t help. I think that this year with all the injuries Strama has done as well as three coaches salaries did last season.


The official roster has 5 goalkeepers on file: Handanovic, Castellazzi, Belec, Carrizo, Di Gennaro. For our purposes here I think that we can all agree that Castellazzi has probably played his last game for Inter and that Belec and Di Gennaro are far too young to sell or start and will probably be loaned out next summer. Does anyone know/care what happens to Carrizo?

I think that Handanovic has proved that he can be the goalkeeper for Inter moving forward. First of all, considering the ability that he displayed this season his deal was a marvelous piece of business: about €10 mil plus half of Faraoni who went to Udinese. has his current value in the high teens so if that has any reflection on reality, that’s a good thing. He’s the right age, 28, to grow and fit with the team some. He has all the tools to be one of the great ones at this club – which is notable considering all the great goalkeepers that wore the Inter shirt.

But is he untouchable? I would say that there aren’t too many goalkeepers of his quality out there. Lately there has been the rumor of an outrageous transfer bid. I gave my opinions on the previous article but the short answer is that the team shouldn’t sell. That money would have to go to investing in yet another goalkeeper, and who knows what you get – even the best transfer directors in the world hit on about half their purchases. Inter have a potentially great one; I think they should improve a part of the team that needs it, not create more problems for themselves.


The official team list has 11 players under this category: Zanetti, Silvestre, Ranocchia, Samuel, Chivu, Pereira, Mbaye, Jesus, Jonathan, Bandini, Nagatomo. Out on loan significantly are Caldirola and Bianchietti. Yesterday’s article has made my feelings perfectly clear regarding several of these players already. I would have no problem seeing Zanetti, Chivu and Samuel asked to leave. I would also include Jonathan. Silvestre will be here next year because of the deal with Palermo. I think that Caldirola, Bianchietti, Mbaye and Bandini have no sample from which to generate any opinion.

That leaves me with Ranocchia, Nagatomo, Pereira and Juan to speculate about.

Juan is the youngest of the four at 22 and he’s also probably got the highest talent ceiling if it can be fleshed out. He’s got size, power, attitude, position adaptability and he can even pass a little from the back. What he lacks is some polish and consistency. What we don’t know is what his intelligence is like. He cost the team €3.3 mil-ish and he’s supposedly worth around €10-ish now.

Ranocchia is the next youngest at just turned 25. He’s probably the best defender right now of these four and the only one who can only play one position. There doesn’t seem to be any drop off in his transfer worth according to the above mentioned 3rd party impartial judge.

I like Naga’s attitude, tenacity and his stamina. His positioning isn’t great but he has speed and quickness to compensate for that sometimes. At the beginning of the season he drove other teams nuts working the left sideline. At 26 he still has a lot of football in front of him. Naga's value has theoretically gone up.

Pereira is a hard one for me to get a handle on. He’s 27, the grey beard of the group, which is something amazing for this club given the lineup last season. He’s got size, speed and stamina to run. But until just recently he looked a little lost. He really doesn’t look like that anymore. What I think gets forgotten is that he’s pretty tough, remember the broken nose? He doesn’t have a mean streak, but he plays pretty physically which will do in a pinch. Inter and he took huge body blows from the media about this – of course Inter gets it worse than some other teams and their transfer mistakes. Pereira value hasn’t dropped no matter what the Italian media say, and there would seem to be a market for his services.

Are any of these guys untouchables? I would say that Inter should under no circumstances sell Juan, only because his value is only going to rise the more he plays. I think that the team has invested quite a lot of time in Ranocchia to cut and run now. I would welcome both Naga and Alvaro back next season but if huge individual bids come in for each player, I would let the fullbacks go and keep the guys who play in the middle.


Lacking quality at the position, Inter have instead decided to throw quantity at it. The official website lists these players as midfielders: Stankovic, Schelotto, Kovacic, Alvarez, Guarin, Mudingayi, Kuzmanovic, Cambiasso, Obi, Gargano, Benassi, Pasa and Olsen. Out on loan, significantly, are Bessa, Duncan and Crisetig.

I am on record loving Duncan and Kovacic. Add in Obi, Benassi, Bessa, Crisetig and Olsen. The rest I could really let go. And yeah, that would include Guarin.

But don’t take me the wrong way. This article is about untouchables, but he isn’t one. I think he’s been good for us. I think that he’ll be good again. But if someone gave us stupid money for him, and I am in charge… hail and fare thee well Guarin. I don’t sell Kovacic for any amount under €100 mil. Even then bring a folding chair, a panino, a thermos and settle in to watch the debate rage. Those others need to be here and play. I don’t care if they suck at the first game or the fifteenth. The light will go on, and when it does I want to be there watching as these young men take their place.



The official website has Palacio, Rocchi, Milito, Forte, Colombi, Belloni, Garritano and Cassano as the forwards for this team. I would add in Alvarez in this section only because I don’t really think of him as a midfielder, and I am writing this mess.

And the verdict here is that I don’t see any of these guys as untouchable. The caveat here is that I wouldn’t want Garritano to go, because I think he has a future, and I would rather hang onto Palacio because he showed me some real heart where I didn’t think there was any. But if the rules in this exercise say that a stupid bid comes in for each of these guys, who is untouchable? Then, it’s just Garritano that I would keep. The other primavera guys can go as well, since I am pretty sure that the club has little faith in them – and that little bit would be for Belloni – see the article on Inter’s youth players I wrote earlier this week for more on him.

Considering my thoughts, and what I would suppose are reasonably similar thoughts from the upper echelons of Inter Headquarters, I don’t think it’s a surprise that the single early transfer this team has made for cash this spring is for a forward. Don’t forget that another forward is coming back next season in Longo. And that another forward will hopefully be coming back the year after that in Livaja. There is a lot of money tied up in this position for the next few seasons. If those investors come to town or Cassano gets sold, I wouldn’t bet against another one coming too.