Following the brilliant comeback over Lazio Sunday, Inter Milan President Erick Thohir confirmed that the club will be keeping manager Luciano Spalletti.
Now, it may seem like a “no duh” kind of situation, but before Sunday’s 3-2 win that secured Inter’s place this next season’s Champions League, the future of the former Roma boss was indeed in jeopardy.
Thohir told Indonesian outlet republika.co.id that the team’s goal was to make it back to the Champions League in five years, but they did it in one and now the team aims for the semifinal of Europe’s top club competition.
He also provided some insight into the team’s strategy heading into the summer mercato.
“We will keep Luciano Spalletti on the bench and we will try to satisfy his needs, we will keep the key players necessary for the coach, we will strengthen the defense by adding players and, obviously, investing in the club,” Thohir said.
He added that the club’s revenues should come close to €300 million after Champions League qualification.
The question now is how will Inter management go about adding players to the depth of the squad. Still lingering is Rafinha and Joao Cancelo – both have loan deals that expire at the end of May.
Steven Zhang, son of Inter owner Jindong Zhang, confirmed that the club will keep Mauro Icardi and the new infusion of Champions League money coupled with selling Geoffrey Kondogbia, Joao Mario and Yuto Nagatomo should be enough to allow the club to purchase Rafinha from Barcelona and Cancelo from Valencia.
“Is this a starting point? No, the starting point was at the beginning of the season, when we chose Spalletti and brought the right players to the squad,” Steven Zhang told Corriere della Sport. “Will we renew with Spalletti? It’s not even a question that has to be asked. It’s the same for Icardi.”
Inter is also getting Steven De Vrij from Lazio and Kwadwo Asamoah from Juventus on free transfer and have already signed striker Lautaro Martinez from Argentinian First Division club Racing.
The club has also been linked with resigning midfielder Mateo Kovacic from Real Madrid and are reportedly in advanced talks to bring Bologna’s Simone Verdi over, but that could cost upward of €25 million.
There are several other factors at play here. Because the Champions League money is not guaranteed, Inter will have to be smart in who they bring and how they do it. It could mean parting with players like Ivan Perisic – who is getting a lot of attention from Tottenham Hotspur – and others like Andrea Ranocchia and Antonio Candreva.
Just when we thought the excitement had past for Inter, here comes the mercato!
What do you think? Post your comments below!