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Tempering Expectations

The world’s best players aren’t going to sign with Inter just yet. And that’s okay, we’ll get there.

Torino FC v FC Internazionale Milano - Serie A Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Now that the infamous Financial Fair Play window has passed, Inter Milan can finally begin its plunge into the Mercato. The club will undoubtedly look improve the squad in the coming weeks, before the new Serie A season kicks-off in August.

As fans, this is an exciting time. We all know that Suning have money to spend, and that the club can desperately use an injection fresh faces and quality. We’ll likely see Inter linked to notable players and massive transfer fees between now and the time the window closes again on August 31st.

As exciting as the rumors will be, I think now is a good time to take a step back and temper our expectations a bit.

As fans of Inter, we naturally tend to look at the football world through black-and-blue-tinted glasses. Many of us would quit our jobs and pay our way to Appiano if given the chance to merely train with our favorite team, let alone sign a professional contract.

However, the best players in the world won’t be walking through the club’s doors just yet, and that’s okay. I don’t blame them.

While Inter remains one of the most historic and recognizable footballing brands in Italy and Europe, the club’s stock has undoubtedly fallen in recent years, taking a massive hit last season. As depressing as this is, It’s been six years since Inter’s last major honor, and seven since our last Scudetto. There’s also no hiding that the past 12 months have been an unmitigated disaster.

Offering high wages and a new manager won’t erase the fact that Inter cycled through three coaches in the span of 10 months, finished seventh in Europe’s fourth best league, and suffered some of the most embarrassing defeats in club history last season.

It’s important to keep in mind that, points-wise, Inter were closer in the standings to 17th place Crotone than they were to first place Juventus in 2016/17.

FC Internazionale v Cagliari Calcio - Serie A
After last season’s disappointment, star players might not want to join Inter right now.
Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

For an outsider looking in, Inter appears to be a dysfunctional mess at the moment. We all hope that Spalletti can right the ship, but there’s unfortunately no guarantee that will happen.

Money aside, if you’re a star player, would join Inter right now?

Objectively speaking, that answer is likely “no.”

With that in mind, it’s more reasonable (and healthier for our collective sanity) to expect Inter to sign the likes of Milan Skriniar and Borja Valero this summer than Kostas Manolas and James Rodriguez.

And that’s okay. With Spalletti leading the charge, signing quality, but not star, players will help Inter reach its goal of returning to the Champions League. Once the club accomplish that, and put together a respectable, drama-free campaign, the San Siro will be a much more attractive destination for Europe’s top talent. Then, turning that “no” into a “yes” will be a much easier challenge for those leading the club.

Would I love to see Radja Nainggolan, Angel Di Maria, and David Alaba-like players in Inter’s Starting XI this season? Of course I would. As fans we can all dream. But the reality is that we’re still at least one good season away from being able to recruit the best talent in Europe. With Suning, Inter are much closer than they were a couple of years ago, but the club is still a ways off.

By all means, go ahead and dream of huge signings, and debate how nicely Antoine Griezmann would look in a blue and black shirt, but I sincerely hope you don’t feel too let down when it doesn’t happen this summer.

The world’s best players aren’t going to sign with Inter, yet, and that’s okay. The good news is that we’re on the right track to get there soon.