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Inter Observations During the International Break

Claudio Villa

1. Is there going to be a resurgence of Cambiasso? I have been thinking about this for the first two games. Not because I think he’s found the fountain of youth, or that I think he’s in better shape than he has been in recent years. It’s because of the shape that Mazzarri keeps the team in during the games. Cambiasso just has the least amount of room that he has to cover since The Treble year when keeping the team compact was the mantra of Mourinho. There is nothing wrong with Cambiasso’s instincts; it’s his physical deterioration that had bothered me. He can’t cover a lot of green, but what he can get to, he’s proving to still being effective.

It’s a bit of a trap though. His contract is supposedly up next season and a Cambiasso friendly formation could lead the team to think that he’s still up for being on the team again. One day Cambiasso’s ability is going to fall off the cliff, just like it did for Lucio. I would rather that when that happens, Cambiasso is on another team… kind of like Lucio last season. And I love Cambiasso, I just have no faith in this team being objective about his ability.

2. The coach of the Denmark U21 said that Olsen had the size and technical ability to be a real protagonist for their senior team soon. I think the same thing about Inter. He’s really impressed this summer. Yes, he’s still young. Yes, he is in no way able to handle prolonged exposure to the senior team. But you can see something there that shows that he could handle all that soon. This team is accused of doing a lot wrong, but getting this guy from nowhere isn’t one of those wrong things.

3. Everyone was flipping out about the two overage Italy National Team U21 players – Caldirola and Donati - that Inter sold this summer to pay for Icardi and Belfodil. Well, it seems that Inter’s youth program has replaced those two with others. Right now being called up for the U21 team are Longo, Crisetig, Benassi, Bianchetti and Bardi. Caldirola had been a mainstay of the U21 but he was 23 this summer and was an overage player at his departure. Donati, 23 as well, had been a regular as well over the past few seasons. Right now, all the Inter players on the U21 are 21 or under – with Benassi the youngest at the moment at 18.

Just for the record, Donati and Caldirola have been getting decent reviews in their playing in each of their respected teams, Donati better than Caldirola – who has been getting mixed critiques of his play. I haven’t actually seen them, I am only going on third hand news so if you have seen them play, I would be interested in a first hand opinion.

4. I talked about this a little before, but I am generally impressed with the youth movement that this team has been involved in this summer. Not just age, but the talent level. I don’t know if Icardi will be great, but even if he tanks I think that he’ll be worth a large portion of the €6 million or so in cash that Inter paid for half his card. Just his size alone would tempt someone else to take a chance on him. Add in his age and the "proof" of a decent season with Samp and it would take a spectacular event to really sink his worth anytime soon. Same for Taider. Same for Belfodil. Botta and Lexalt were brought in with absolutely no risk to the team. If they pan out, great! There was little to no expenditure on either. If they tank, then they cost so little that it was a worthwhile gamble given the extremely limited risk.

Now there was no huge splash, but then again Inter didn’t lose anyone worth keeping either. Don’t get me wrong, this team needs A Big Player. The hope – from the team’s point of view – is that the Big Player is going to develop on and break out for the team rather than paying for an already established Big Player. Is that Big Player already on the roster? That is open to debate, and frankly sounds like a reasonably poll question. But the worry is the exact negation of the above statement – what if that Big Player isn’t already on the roster… or more frighteningly, what if the team just doesn’t have the front office personnel to identify a Big Player and they are just fooling themselves in their philosophy?

Food for thought…