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A Winter of Exits

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After crashing out of the Europa League Inter will mainly be selling in January.

FC Internazionale Milano v AC Milan - Serie A Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

No matter what happens in the match on Thursday Inter Milan will be eliminated from the Europa League. This is an disappointing blow for a team that was expected to put up a major fight in all three competitions this season, and it leaves Stefano Pioli with an oversized squad and Suning/Thohir without an expected source of income to help balance with Financial Fair Play. The only solution is to sell, a solution that vice-president Javier Zanetti has made clear. There are a lot of players who could potentially be put on the market in January, and we’ll just look at some of the more likely men to leave the squad.

Davide Santon

The Italian fullback tried to leave the club three times over the summer (Sunderland, Napoli, and West Ham United) but each moved failed. He found favor with Frank De Boer and played pretty regularly under him but hasn’t seen any game time yet with Stefano Pioli in charge. Since he seems to have gotten the injuries that hampered his summer moves behind him, a transfer could be back on the cards for the 25 year old.

Jeison Murillo

Probably the least likely of any on the list to leave, but it’s still possible. The Colombian defender has fallen from grace (and form) hard since his high-flying first half of last season when him and Miranda formed an impenetrable wall at the back. We had hoped that after a shaky second half of the season he would return to form for this campaign but his confidence has yet to be found. He was dropped from the Colombian national team and when Pioli arrived he tried to replace him with Gary Medel at the back and even when Medel was injured the new coach opted to start playing Andrea Ranocchia over Murillo.

Despite all this, there’s still a pretty good chance Murillo will stay. He’s only 24 and he has more than enough time to return to form and become the bedrock we saw from before. The only reason he would leave is if Inter made a move for a center-back as his replacement or if another club submitted a large enough bid for him that Inter was willing to cut their losses.

Geoffrey Kondogbia

Speaking of cutting losses, it seems that Inter is finally done with the Kondogbia experiment. After dropping a small fortune for the former Monaco man, a number of coaches have watched him fall short of expectations time and time again. Whether it is a lack of tactical understanding, not listening to his coaches instructions, or simply not running back to help deal with counterattacks Kondogbia has frustrated coaches and fans alike during his time at Inter. His age and potential made me argue to give him more time at first, but at this point enough is enough.

Liverpool seems to be the team most likely to sign the 23 year old though Chelsea is also reportedly interested in him. His disastrous form with the Nerazzurri means Inter will likely not recoup all the money spent to sign Kondogbia, but hopefully Ausilio can negotiate a decent amount from whichever club decides to try to bring out the dominant midfielder that we hoped we would see.

Felipe Melo

Once Roberto Mancini left Inter, Melo was never really going to have a place in the side. The hard-hitting midfielder has started in a couple of the Europa League matches and picked up a few other substitute appearances, but his chaos-inducing approach to his duties is one that often can cause more harm than good and this Inter squad doesn’t need anybody else who can cause the team to implode on a moment’s notice. The 33 year old recently denied reports that he planned to leave in January for Brazil but a move elsewhere could spring up, especially if a club submitted a decent offer for the defensive midfielder. Maybe if he left Gnoukouri could get a little more playing time.

Jonathan Biabiany

Here’s a little paradox that’s been stumping me: if Biabiany is so bad, why does Inter keep bringing him back to the club (this is his third spell with the Nerazzurri)? And if he is actually halfway-decent, why does he never play (he literally has two appearances, the second under Vecchi’s super-short stint as manager)?

With the club needing quick cash the 28 year old could easily be shipped out yet again, likely for the last time. There are always a couple of Serie A sides interested in the speedy winger.

Stevan Jovetic

Regular readers should know how I feel about Jovetic at this point. For anybody new here, let me give you the short version: I can’t recall a single useful thing he’s done so far this season. Inter tried to move him on this summer but the club was unable to, so they had to pay his buyout fee to Manchester City. Now Inter would like to recoup on some (if not all) of that money by moving him on. The 27 year old’s preference seems to be a return to Fiorentina, though West Ham might also be interested in signing the Montenegrin attacker. I really don’t care where he goes, as long as Inter doesn’t lose much (preferably any) money on him to go along with the time the club wasted playing him instead of...

Gabriel Barbosa (loan...probably?)

This guy. I’ve already talked in great detail on my frustrations for his lack of playing time (a theme I’ve also heard from many commenters and other fans). At this point even his agent has started speaking out about Barbosa’s lack of playing time, asking for the situation to be resolved in January. The most likely solution will be the 20 year old moving to an Italian club on loan in order for him to get some Serie A playing time under his belt, though there have been some rumors swirling that some of the bigger Premier League clubs have been considering trying to bid for a permanent transfer.

Players like Yuto Nagatomo, Marco Andreolli, Assane Gnoukouri (loan), Eder, and Rodrigo Palacio all could be on the chopping block too but their exits are more likely to occur in the summer than next month. Hopefully the club can make the necessary moves to both reduce the squad and allow Pioli some wiggle room in order to bring in reinforcements in the areas he needs it the most.