International breaks always mean a return to transfer rumors. Some of them are new but most of them are recycles of older stories. Two rumors that were big in the summer made reappearances this week: that Inter Milan was interested in signing Chelsea’s Oscar and Sassuolo’s Domenico Berardi. I was going to ignore these stories because A. they’re rehashed rumors from before and B. any moves of this caliber would take place in the summer rather than January so I felt like it wasn’t worth reporting. Then I started wondering if Inter even should go after either one of these players in the summer. I decided the answer to that question was a no, but I’m not 100% sure so I decided to lay out my reasoning and see if y’all agree or disagree with me.
First let’s talk about Oscar. The 25 year old attacking midfielder has shown flashes of brilliance during his time at Chelsea, but hasn’t really given enough consistent performances to make him a star in England thus far. The arrival of Antonio Conte and his 3-4-3 formation has seen the attacking midfielder somewhat without a place in the side and a move could definitely be on the cards in the near future, especially if he doesn’t find a role in that setup. Oscar has been linked to Inter as well as Juventus and a move to Serie A could suit him.
Here’s the reason I’m not so sure Inter should make a move for him: we already have a talented attacking midfielder in Ever Banega. The Argentine has already started to find his feet at the club and at 28 years of age he should still have a number of years left in his legs. Neither of the two would be happy riding the bench while a coach attempted to divide playing time between them; they’re both good enough to be a starter at Inter (and honestly I would argue that Banega is better). Furthermore, there have been whispers that Pioli wants his team to be based around a regista (like Lucas Biglia or maybe Joao Mario) rather than a trequartista. Since Pioli hasn’t had any official matches yet it’s nothing besides speculation but it seems the new coach isn’t sure about where he sees Banega in his starting 11. If one attacking midfielder might have to change his style of play to find his place in the side why would Inter bring in a second attacking midfielder?
There’s also Berardi. For like the last two seasons Juventus has believed they all but own Sassuolo’s winger already, yet each summer a transfer fails to materialize. In the past Berardi confessed to growing up an Inter fan and this summer the Nerazzurri made a move for him. Sassuolo rejected Inter’s bids but recent reports have suggested that the club will try again for the young Italian winger this summer.
Here’s the thing: Berardi primarily plays on the right wing. In the summer Inter signed Antonio Candreva to play on the right wing. At the age of 29 he might only have a couple of seasons left in him, but then there’s also Gabriel Barbosa (and Biabiany). Though Barbosa can play across the frontline, the 20 year old primarily played on the right wing for Santos and for his country. Unless Pioli plans on A. making Barbosa the backup striker for Icardi and selling Palacio and Jovetic or B. making Barbosa the backup left-winger and selling Eder or C. making Barbosa the starting right-winger and selling Candreva and Biabiany I see no reason for the club to chase after Berardi.
As nice as it would be to have Oscar and Berardi at Inter, with Icardi, Candreva, Banega, Perisic, and Barbosa at the club I don’t see a place for those two. Inter isn’t a big enough club right now where those players could rotate and be happy getting fewer minutes, and if I had to pick I wouldn’t replace any of the five I mentioned with Oscar and Berardi for this season. It’s clear Suning has money to spend, so they should use it on areas of the squad that need adequate starters. I don’t think the attack is one of those places right now.