So, it may not have escaped your notice that our mercato has come to a shuddering halt over the last couple of weeks. After our initial monetary splurge that brought the services of Messrs Kondogbia, Murillo, Miranda and Montoya to San Siro, attention inside the club has now (necessarily) switched to those heading in the other direction. This is because, as Piero Ausilio has been reiterating for months, almost all of our summer transfer activity this year will have to be self-financed - in other words, in order to buy we also need to sell. A lot.
Unfortunately, when you sell a player you also sort of need the consent of the player you're selling, and it's for this reason that nothing's happening at Inter at the moment. Nobody wants to leave. No fewer than FOUR of our players have now refused transfers away from the club, and it's blocking anyone else from arriving. Xherdan Shaqiri's imminent return to the Bundesliga will soon open up a spot for Wolfsburg's Ivan Perisic to fill in attack, but even after Shaq vacates the building we will still need several others to clear off - not least because we're only able to register 25 players to compete in Serie A next season.
For this reason, the club are desperate to cut down the numbers in defence, and for this reason the future looks bleak for people such as Yuto Nagatomo and (sadly) Davide Santon. Neither are in Roberto Mancini's plans for the coming season, judging by his team selections for Inter's first two pre-season friendlies, which means the club are now rather keen to get some money for them.
There are no new offers for Santon since he rejected a move to newly-promoted Premier League side Watford, but Nagatomo may be slightly closer to the exit door. If Tuttomercatoweb are to be believed (and I don't know really if they are), Tony Pulis' West Brom are pressing strongly for the 28 year-old's signature, in order to see off any competition - if that's not too grand a word in the circumstances - from other clubs around Europe. Certainly, if this turn out to be the case, his departure would not be mourned. He's a lovely man, but he's been inadequate (as well as unreliable physically) for a long, long time now.
But it would be far from the end of our full-back dilemma. As well as the question of who needs to leave, there's also the problem of who's going to play for us in those two positions next season - particularly if Mancini intends to continue with last season's 4-3-1-2 formation, a system which places stringent offensive demands on the two full-backs. The right-hand side should be covered with Martin Montoya arriving from Barcelona, but unless Santon ends up 1) staying and 2) convincing Mancini of his worth, our current first choice on the left is Danilo D'Ambrosio. Who's rubbish even when you're not playing him out of position. With this in mind, missing out on Chievo's Erwin Zukanovic (who this week completed his move to Sampdoria) could yet prove costly. The Bosnian's big lure was that he is left-footed, which meant he would have offered some sought-after balance to the team - a trait only shared in Inter's current squad by 17 year-old Federico Dimarco, who is too inexperienced to be first choice.
With Dodo and Juan Jesus the only other feasible alternatives on that flank - and I'm taking liberties with that word - it's patently clear that the left-back spot could become a problem this season. Unless Mancini either changes his mind on Santon, or the club sign someone good out of nowhere, we're highly unlikely to achieve anything special over the next 10 months. The quantity of our defenders is unquestionable, but the quality could not be a more different story. Watch this space.