July has only just arrived but Inter's summer holidays are already over. Seven weeks on from the match against Sassuolo at the Mapei Stadium, Roberto Mancini and co. will officially start training ahead of the new season today. A lot of people will be missing to start with - all those who have been taking part in Euro 2016 and the Copa America need some holiday time - but they will all join up with the squad at various stages over the next fortnight, as preparations intensify heading towards kick-off in August.
On Monday and Tuesday there will be two days of preliminary training at Appiano Gentile, which will see the half of the squad (plus some youngsters) regroup and allow new - although still unofficial - signing Cristian Ansaldi to meet some of his new teammates. During these two days the players will complete a series of athletic tests that will ascertain what state the players have returned to work in (hopefully a good one), and by the sound of things not much more.
Following that, on Wednesday the players will head into their training camp at Riscone di Brunico that lasts until 15 July, where they will play their first two friendlies of pre-season against WSG Wattens (9 July) and CSKA Sofia (14 July). Mancini will speak to the media for the first time there, while new signings Ansaldi, Erkin and possibly Banega (depending on when he returns from holidays) will also be presented in press conferences.
After that they will head out to America for a two-week tour, at which point everyone should be present and correct, where we will take part in the prestigious International Champions Cup and play Real Salt Lake in an additional friendly. Let's hope we fare better this time than we did last summer, when we lost all three games without even scoring a goal. It's a mystery why any Chinese consortium would wish to take over the club after the pitiful impression we made on the pitch in China.
Here's the list of players present at Appiano Gentile today (Monday 4th July), as per the club website:
Goalkeepers: Berni, Carrizo, Handanovic, Radu*.
Defenders: Andreolli, Ansaldi**, D'Ambrosio, Della Giovanna, Dodo, Erkin***, Juan Jesus, Miangue, Miranda (from 10 July), Nagatomo, Ranocchia, Santon, Yao.
Midfielders: Bessa, Gnoukouri, Kondogbia, Melo, Zonta
Forwards: Bakayoko, Biabiany, Icardi, Jovetic, Palacio, Pinamonti.
*Radu was already in training at Appiano Gentile and will travel directly to Brunico after recovering from conjunctivitis.
**Ansaldi isn't officially an Inter player yet due to an ongoing legal dispute between Genoa and Zenit, but the transfer isn't at risk and Genoa have given Inter permission to start training with him.
***Erkin will arrive sometime before the end of this week
Let the fun begin...