Inter won in the Europa League breathing life back into that campaign, Inter put on a good (yet wasteful) performance in Serie A, the fans cheered for Mauro Icardi, management has finally grown a spine and backed Frank De Boer, so things are looking good right? Well according to the Serie A Ten Commandments, there must always be drama with Inter so if stupidity isn’t occurring on the pitch or in the boardroom, it must come from the transfer market.
(In case you’re wondering about the rest of the Serie A Ten Commandments, some of the highlights include: No matter how hard they try, AS Roma will never be seen as more than the perennial runner-ups; Napoli will always put their hopes and dreams on the back of one striker only to watch him pick up a major injury or leave the club; AC Milan will always rival (and sometimes beat) Inter as the most incompetently run club in Italy, let alone Milan; and of course the club appropriately fashioned based on prison stripes will never win The Treble.)
So out of the blue yesterday there were reports suggesting that Inter is considering making a January move for Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney. There is so many problems here I don’t even know where to begin. Actually that’s a lie I do know where to begin:
I could talk about the fact that Rooney is 31 years old and in major decline at Manchester United. I could talk about the fact that he doesn’t even seem to know what position he should be playing in. I could talk about the fact that he’s too slow to play on the wing, or too bad to displace Mauro Icardi from the starting lineup. I could talk about the fact that playing him as a no. 10 would mean dropping Ever Banega and that might be the dumbest idea I’ve heard since bringing in a new manager 12 days before the start of the season. I could talk about the fact that his astronomical wages (about £300k a week) are astronomical and if the new owners bring him in and pay him that much just to have him rotate with Ever Banega then they’re incredibly stupid and I might be willing to jump on the Inter Per Sempre train of wanting Thohir/Suning/everybody out. I could write hundreds of words about any of that but the biggest reason this rumor is dumber than Barcelona’s “We are all Leo Messi” social media campaign is two words: Gabriel Barbosa.
Inter paid somewhere between €25-28m for the 20 year old, and his arrival was preceded with much fanfare about how he is the future of the club. The young attacker could’ve stayed at Santos until January and joined the club then, but Inter pushed (and probably paid a pretty penny more) to bring him to the city of Milan in the summer. Since his arrival Barbosa has made exactly one appearance for Inter, coming on in the Bologna draw at the 73rd minute. He knows that if he had stayed in Brazil he would be playing basically every match, but instead he is sitting on the bench while he “adjusts to Italian football” according to De Boer. I understand the idea of giving the youngster time to adapt and not throwing him into a high pressure situation like the one the team has been going through recently, but his time spent on the sideline must be frustrating. That emotion will escalate by 1000 if Inter signs Rooney and the Englishman pushing the Brazilian down the pecking order at the club.
I know this is painful for Inter fans but I have to bring up the stories of Philippe Coutinho and Mateo Kovacic. Both were young players with incredible potential when they arrived at Inter, but a lack of playing time, misuse, positional chaos, managerial merry-go-rounds, and shortsighted transfer strategies meant they were both sold. While Kovacic is still finding his place at Real Madrid (and Inter made a pretty good sum off the Croatian), the Coutinho transfer hurts the most because Inter sold him for only €13m and he has since exploded into a bonafide star at the English club. I have a friend that trolls me about that transfer, and I look forward to the day when Real Madrid, Paris St. German, or any club in an actual city snatches Coutinho away so I can feast upon his tears the way he has done to me.
The reason I brought up those two instances of Inter ineptitude is because something similar could very much happen if Inter brought in Rooney (or even just if De Beor doesn’t start playing Barbosa soon). Unlike Coutinho and Kovacic, “Gabigol” arrived at Inter already a star (at least in his mind), and there’s nothing worse than a diva at your club threatening to destabilize the locker room eyes shooting daggers towards Mauro Icardi and Wanda Nara. I’d like nothing more than for Gabriel Barbosa to stay at Inter for years, becoming a European superstar and winning trophies galore. But for that to happen he needs to actually want to stay at the club and you know, actually score goals and do the type of things that makes you become a superstar. That requires playing time, and that also requires the club not being an incompetent short-sighted mess that brings in Rooney simply for his popularity and ability to boost shirt sales.
So moral of the story is this rumor is 50 shades of stupidity. Oh and Frank De Boer needs to start playing Gabriel Barbosa because every time Stevan Jovetic makes an appearance and does absolutely nothing productive (aka every time he’s stepped foot on the pitch so far this season), Barbosa gets one step close to going all Gennaro Gattuso on his manager.