Now that the transfer window has ended in Italy it's time to take stock of the arrivals and departures at Inter Milan. Roberto Mancini asked for new arrivals to begin to shape the squad in his image and he was granted those reinforcements. With 4 first-team arrivals and the same number of departures, let's review who came and went in January.
Lukas Podolski: The first newcomer to the Nerazzurri was German international Lukas Podolski. The 29 year old was a clear answer to Mancini's desire to add more width to the side's attacking play. Podolski can play as a striker or on the wings (usually the left side) and has a very strong left foot. In the few games he has played on the wing he has begun to develop a good partnership with his fullback, most notably with Danilo D'Ambrosio. The deal that took him to Inter is a 6 month loan for €600,000 that might get up to €1M if the club can achieve Champions League football for next season. This load has no option to buy, so Podolski will be returning to Arsenal unless the two sides work out a deal in the summer.
Xherdan Shaqiri: The next arrival came as a clear statement of intent from the club that the club can bring in big names when the right opportunity presents itself. Shaqiri had an excellent showing at the 2014 World Cup for Switzerland and when Bayern Munich was not giving him enough playing time, the 24 year old chose to come to Inter even though there were other big clubs following him (most noticeably Liverpool's drawn out pursuit of the player). The wide midfielder has been described as speedy, strong on the ball, and unpredictable and in his first few games he has already begun to show his potential, scoring his first goal for the black-and-blue in the Coppa Italia. Shaqiri's deal is a six months loan for €2M with obligation to buy at end of season for €13M.
Marcelo Brozovic: Following in the footsteps of young star Mateo Kovacic, Marcelo Brozovic was the final first-team addition to the squad. Another Croatian midfielder joining Inter in January from Dinamo Zagreb, his move mirrors that of Kovacic (who joined the side back in 2013) and fans are hoping Brozovic can have just as much of an impact for the Nerazzurri as his young international teammate. With the versatility to play as a attacking, defensive, or central/box-to-box midfielder, the 22 year old has the time and ability to claim a place in Mancini's starting lineup. Brozovic joins Inter on an 18 month loan for €3M with obligation to buy at end of next season for €5M.
Davide Santon: The former Inter player returns to the side in which he made his professional debut after spending 3 1/2 seasons at Newcastle United. As a fullback who can play on either wing, his versatility will be helpful providing cover for the defense which has been a problem for Mancini. It is a little concerning that Santon has only played 59 minutes this season but time will tell what role he plays in this squad. Santon joins on a six months loan for free with an option to buy at the end of season for €3.7M which will become obligatory if he starts ten games in any competition. Also, it is interesting to note that the club would be buying him back for less than what they sold him for originally, which was over €6M.
Ibrahima Mbaye: The 20 year old left back has been sent to Bologna on loan with obligation to buy set at €6 million if Bologna are promoted to Serie A at the end of the season (which looks more likely than not). Last season he was on loan at Livorno and got 25 appearances with 2 goals and 2 assists. In the first half of the season back at Inter he only managed to get 3 starts in the Europa League and 4 substitute appearances in the league.
Rene Khrin: The Slovenian midfielder who was just bought back from Bologna at the start of this season (after being sold back in 2010) has already been sent out, this time to La Liga outfit Cordoba on a loan. With only one start and 4 substitute appearances he leaves in search of more consistent playing time.
Alfred Duncan: The 21 year old midfielder was already on loan at Sampdoria, and in this transfer market the clubs decided to make what originally an option to buy at the end of the season into an obligation to purchase. The Ghanaian international showed promise but the club decided that he was surplus to requirements, especially considering the midfield additions made in January.
Federico Bonazzoli: This is a pretty strange deal between Inter and Sampdoria. Sampdoria bought the young striker for €4.5m but will leave him on loan at Inter until the end of the season. Also, Inter has a buy-back option for €9m that can be exercised within the next three years. While some fans were initially opposed to this deal, believing the club to be selling away another promising young player before he can really flourish, this actually looks to be a very good deal. Bonazzoli gets to stay with Inter until the end of the season (and that extra coverage will be needed if Osvaldo does leave the club) and then will go to a club that would be able to offer him more playing time. If he does show promise then Inter can buy him back and don't have to worry about Sampdoria overcharging since the price is already set.
Also potential departures include Pablo Osvaldo (either to Boca Juniors or a contract termination) and Yann M'Vila (contract termination).
Overall this was a very good transfer market, with Inter filling in key positions to make the team more in Mancini's image. The only mark that prevented me from giving this transfer window an A grade was that the club had been looking for additional coverage at center-back for a while but failed to bring somebody in.
Now that Mancini has his men, it is time for the results to follow. The club has spent the money to push for top places again so the team must deliver. So far results have not looked the greatest but new players need time to gel and adapt to their new surroundings. Once that happens though, the players need to prove that they were worth the investment.
What do you guys think? Do you agree or disagree with my grade? Answer the poll and sound off on the comment section.