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Pondering Inter's Summer 2014 Mercato

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A few thoughts about the Nerazzurri's summer transfer dealings...

Walter Mazzarri
Walter Mazzarri
Valerio Pennicino

The transfer window closed this past Monday and everyone has had the chance to see the 2014 Inter squad in action through three official matches.  Though it is still too early to give a verdict on whether the moves made have helped strengthen the squad for three competitions, there are early indications that not enough moves were made.

Inter brought in Nemanja Vidic, Dodo, Yann M'Vila, Gary Medel, and Daniel Osvaldo, most of which cover holes that the Nerazzurri were looking to fill after the departure of the Senatori. Vidic was looked at as a replacement for Walter Samuel, while Medel and M'Vila are stop plugs in the midfield similar to Esteban Cambiasso.  Osvaldo can only hope to replicate some of Diego Milito's goal scoring prowess and his move has been met with much skepticism due to his prior behavioral problems.  Dodo was somewhat of a shock signing, as the wingback positions were thought to be covered.  (Let's be honest here- no one can replace Pupi anyway.)

Besides the aforementioned Senatori who left, the main names to leave include Ruben Botta and Ezequiel Schelotto, Saphir Taider (who was initially loaned to Southampton, only to be cut, and was then loaned to Sassuolo for the upcoming season), and the surprise loan of Ricky Alvarez to Sunderland.

Deadline day was a disappointment, as fans were hoping that the management would sign, at the very least, another attacking option.  Three of the four players loaned out are attacking options, and it has become painfully obvious that despite the 6-0 win against a minnow team, this squad may have trouble putting the ball into the back of the net against stronger sides.

Inter currently have four strikers on the roster, with Osvaldo, Mauro Icardi, Rodrigo Palacio, and Primavera product Federico Bonazzoli.  With manager Walter Mazzarri's track record using youth, Bonazzoli will probably not get any meaningful playing time unless an injury occurs to one of his first choice strikers.  Palacio entered the season already harboring an injury sustained from the World Cup, and Osvaldo this past week picked up a slight injury while training with the Azzurri.  Palacio should be ready to go when Serie A resumes in a week and a half, but Inter only have three real attacking options to hopefully carry the load of three competitions.  Not getting one more striker seems incredibly short sighted, especially after being linked for weeks with PSG's Ezequiel Lavezzi and Bayern Munich's Xherdan Shaqiri.

Looking at central defense, Inter seem to have a foothold with five center backs in Andrea Ranocchia, Juan Jesus, Vidic, Marco Andreolli, and Hugo Campagnaro.  Unfortunately, Rolando was not signed permanently from Porto and aside from the regular starting three of Ranocchia, Juan, and Vidic, it seems like a roll of the dice. Andreolli has had spot starts through last season and is probable to replace Vidic for Inter's next match against Sassuolo. Campagnaro has found himself on Mazzarri's bad side after starting the majority of the first half of last season. He had been linked to clubs in Spain, but at the end of the day, is still with the Italian club.  Again, it will be a test to see how these five will be rotated through the different competitions and hopefully no one sustains an injury that will keep them out for an elongated period of time.

Along with not being able to acquire another attacker during the last days of the mercato, Monday was frustrating on other fronts.  Atalanta midfielder Giacomo Bonaventura had been linked with the Milanese Nerazzurri for months, only to end up with crosstown rivals, A.C. Milan.  Many sources report that Inter's deal had been ‘hijacked' by Adriano Galliani, which in itself shows an inability to close. Furthermore, it looked like Fredy Guarin was on his way out to Valencia or Zenit St. Petersburg, only for any deal to fall apart in the closing hours.

While the transfer market started out with a bang, Inter sputtered across the finish line and the closing days of the window has worried many Interisti.  The price to get Pocho Lavezzi is now being reported to be at 15 million euro, which is not a heavy investment and should be easy for the new ownership to gift the fans.  At the same time, even if the money is available, one must ask the question if Inter can even close the deal.