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Fresh faces look to bolster Inter Milan’s attack

Up front, Nerazzurri look to be strong.

Racing Club v Universidad de Chile - Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2018 Photo by Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images

The Nerazzurri offense scored their way to fourth-best in Serie A. The squad scored 66 goals over the course of the Serie A campaign, which was good for 1.7 goals per game according to WhoScored.com. Inter Milan have added three exciting forwards in Lautaro Martinez (Racing Club), Matteo Politano (Sassuolo), and Keita Balde Diao (AS Monaco) in hopes to bolster their attack.

When it came to last year’s offense for Inter Milan, it started and ended with Mauro Icardi. Every time the Nerazzurri needed a goal, there was the captain. He scored 29 goals to become co-capocannoniere along with Ciro Immobile (Lazio).

Icardi wasn’t the only player scoring last year as Ivan Perisic added 11 goals from the forward group. Yann Karamoh and Antonio Candreva round out the rest of the forward group for this upcoming campaign. Karamoh netted one goal as a substitute all while Candreva failed to find the back of the net last season.

One thing is for certain, Inter are going to need more from this group if they want to compete for the top three in Serie A and make some noise in the UEFA Champions League. Lautaro Martinez will be an important part of that. The young Argentine scored 18 goals in 27 appearances in both the Primera Division of Argentina and Copa Libertadores for Racing Club. Martinez has all the ability in the world to become a superstar. The kid can flat out play. According to WhoScored.com, he averaged 1 key pass per game, 1.8 dribbles per game, and was even fouled 3.2 times per game. He can be the main striker, a second striker, or even a center forward/attacker. He is extremely versatile as a striker and that will be necessary when playing with a striker like Icardi.

Mauro is fascinating to watch. You may not notice him for 40 minutes as he only has a few touches then all of a sudden the ball is in the back of the net. He is a poacher in front of goal. He pounces on every opportunity and finishes almost everything. He took 101 shots last season, scoring 29 for a scoring rate of 28.71%.

I don’t think the statistics do Icardi justice. Yes, he is an incredible goal scorer but his off the ball movement is just as good. He opens up so many opportunities by bringing two defenders with him and all of a sudden a winger or midfielder can slip in behind.

The player that was always benefitting from Icardi’s movement was more often than not Ivan Perisic. Perisic put together a solid season achieving 11 goals and nine assists across 37 Serie A appearances. The Perisic-Icardi combination is one of the few reasons Inter achieved fourth place to secure a spot in the Champions League. It seemed like every game they were finding each other and creating chances. Thankfully this year Inter have more depth where it won’t just be them to rely on.

Matteo Politano arrived from Sassuolo on a loan worth €5 million and an obligation to buy at €20 million the following season. Politano adds some much needed depth to the squad. He is a traditional winger in the sense that he can beat you with a pass, dribble, or shot. He can do it all as he averaged 1.7 key passes per game as well as 1.9 dribbles per game last season. Politano netted 10 goals for Sassuolo and assisting four. Politano also has great movement. Watching the friendly against Lyon, he was the main reason Inter got the goal. The pass from the outside was good but the dummy he put on so both defenders converged on him was brilliant. It left Lautaro Martinez wide open to finish it off. Politano will most likely line up at right wing this season. Inter fans will be happy to see some production out of that position this season after watching Antonio Candreva struggle finding the back of the net all last year.

Another player lining up in that right wing position will be Keita Balde Daio. Added late in the mercato but a very big addition for the Nerazzurri. Keita has experience already in Serie A having transferred to Monaco from Lazio just over a year ago. Keita is a speedy winger that should add skill to Inter’s attack. Once he gets accustomed to Inter and being back in Serie A, he could be a real force in the upcoming campaign. I am really looking forward to seeing Keita play with Icardi. His style fits Mauro very well. Keita will take on defenders and cut inside or towards the end line while looking to find the open man. Mauro Icardi is so good at finding the pockets in the defense that this tandem could be potentially better than Perisic and Icardi. I should pump the brakes but I am excited about this player.

Now we are brought to the wild card, in my opinion, of the forwards: Yann Karamoh. He made 16 appearances last season, with only four starts. Karamoh gave Inter fans a glimpse of his untapped potential in the 2-1 win over Bologna. He dribbled past two defenders and hit a blistering shot into the bottom left of the net while still on the run.

It was a beautiful goal and I believe we will see more of that this season. With three competitions this upcoming season, Karamoh is going to get a lot more playing time and will be able to finally tap into that potential. Along with Martinez, the sky is the limit for him. If all things go right, he can certainly be special. He is a player that runs until he physically cannot anymore. He does not give up on the play and has the talent to play with the best of them. I am excited to watch Karamoh grow as a player this season as he can really break out.

After all that, the Nerazzurri still have Antonio Candreva. Now many people will point to the fact that Candreva did not score last year to define his season. I totally understand that but Candreva is still a good player. He is past his prime now at age 31 and still managed to average two key passes per game and 1.4 dribbles per game. He may not have found the back of the net but he did assist on eight goals. If Candreva is Inter’s sixth option throughout the year then Luciano Spalletti and Co. have to be feeling good.

As an Inter fan, I am extremely excited about this group. We will see at least three of these players every game and could even see Martinez lining up in the center of three in the 4-2-3-1 to make four of those players starting. I truly believe at the end of the year we will see a starting XI that consistently have Icardi, Martinez, Perisic, and Keita Balde Diao in it. I don’t know about you but I am ready for the season.

Is it Aug. 19 yet?


What do you think? Post your comments below!