As Inter fans, it’s weird to see the club have owners with piles upon piles of cash to burn once again. Years of seeing mediocrity wearing black and blue have made fans a little shocked to see Suning purchasing players that we only could’ve dreamed of buying in past seasons-shocked, excited, and a little uncertain as to what the future brings. All this money opens doors that Inter haven’t had access to in years, and nobody is really sure what the future holds.
The Italian papers have seized upon that uncertainty and began to chug out rumor after rumor linking Suning and Inter to all kinds of deals. While a lot of these stories have and always will be laughable (Messi to Inter), some of them seemed impossible at first but just might be possible. We look at two of them here.
One of the biggest problems that most clubs (especially Italian clubs) face is finding a way to make sure their promising young players find clubs willing to not only take them on loan but also to give them regular playing time. Some clubs have formed de-facto alliances with lower clubs to give their youngsters a chance to grow. Other teams with more ambitious owners (such as those bankrolling Manchester City, RB Leipzig, and Udinese) have bought clubs in other countries to act as satellites, shifting players to suit their needs. Care to guess which option Suning is rumored to be pursuing?
Reports today claim that Suning is looking at Portuguese side Gil Vicente and/or Royal Excel Mouscron in Belgium to add to their portfolio of Inter and Jiangsu Suning. Adding another club would allow Inter loanees to have a chance to develop their skills in Europe, while promising players from the other clubs could have a chance to play for Inter if they do well (like what could happen with Juangsu’s Roger Martinez).
I don’t really think this will happen, at least not within the next few months if not a year. Suning has been focused on stabilizing Inter so far and I doubt they would be looking to expand their reach to a new club already. Until (what I believe to be) their flagship project is at a point where they feel comfortable taking less of a hands-on approach (which given Inter could be a little while), I don’t think adding a third club to Suning’s empire would be a smart move. And ever since the Frank De Boer debacle, Suning has been making the smart moves so I’d hope that trend continues.
Then there’s the other big story. For a while now there have been persisting rumors that Suning wants to bring in a world-class player over the summer. First the reports pointed to James Rodriguez, then Alexis Sanchez was touted as the possible target. Now Premium Sport has been saying that Suning is prepared to activate Antoine Greizmann’s €129m release clause.
There are a lot of reasons why this move would never happen. Moving from Atletico Madrid, a club that has regularly been competing for (and winning) Spanish as well as European honors in recent years to Inter would be seen as a step down. Griezmann has been perpetually linked to a move to Manchester United and looks more than willing to make a move to the Premier League, especially given the chance to link up with his friend Paul Pogba.
But with the arrival of Suning nothing is really certain anymore. When the James Rodriguez to Inter stories first emerged most of us laughed it off as pure speculation and clickbait, only to realize that Suning had actually bid for the Colombian and were prepared to pay for him, it’s just that he rejected the move. If Stefano Pioli is able to get the team into the Champions League for next season, and if the club can promise the French attacker that he will be reunited with Diego Simeone, then who knows...
The point is the arrival of Suning has changed the game. Having a system of feeder clubs and being able to have conversations to try and woo world-class players is suddenly in the realm of possibilities. I do want to warn fans to stay grounded and not get sucked into these rumors. I’ll admit when I saw these Antoine Griezmann stories I let emotions overcome rationale and started to dream of Mauro Icardi and Griezmann playing together for Inter. But even though it is marginally possible, we shouldn’t start letting our heads float into the clouds because that will only end in disappointment. Let’s not indulge in fantasy yet, first let’s focus on reaching the Champions League for next season. Then we can truly see what Suning is capable of.