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Conte unhappy with squad depth, did he loan it all out?

In recent months Antonio Conte has blamed high profile losses on a lack of squad depth. Could it be that the correct reinforcements are actually already under contract with the club?

Antonio Conte head coach of FC Internazionale look on before... Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images

Over the summer, Inter saw a huge change of personnel — playing and coaching staff. The main change being the appointment of Antonio Conte as the club’s head coach taking over from Luciano Spalletti.

Conte as well as sporting director’s Piero Ausillio and Giuseppe Marotta, made many changes to the playing squad throughout the summer. Inter had players coming in and players going out, all to try and give Conte the tools he needed for the season ahead.

The club broke their record transfer fee by bringing in Belgian international Romelu Lukaku from Manchester United for £60 million. Inter also brought in Italian midfielders Nicolo Barella and Stefano Sensi as well as right wing back Valentino Lazaro and left wing back Cristiano Biraghi. Inter also brought in Alexis Sanchez on loan and Diego Godin on a free transfer.

Internazionale v Hellas Verona - Italian Serie A Photo by Mattia Ozbot/Soccrates/Getty Images

Fast forward to November and many of these signings are playing well and making an impact. Inter sit in second place in Serie A and remain in contention to qualify from their UEFA Champions League group. However in recent months, after defeats in big games such as Barclona, Juventus and Borrussia Dortmund, Antonio Conte has put these defeats down to one thing, everytime.. squad depth.

“Some important mistakes have been made at the planning stage, we can’t play both the Champions League and Serie A with such a small squad,”

Now this is where we get on to the departures of Inter’s playing squad over the summer. Conte is clearly saying that the squad is too thin, and I agree, the squad is too thin, some weeks I look at the bench and think who on earth can we bring on here.

My issue, however, is that Mr Conte will have had a say in which players were allowed to leave the club over the summer and who was to stay. The fact of the matter is that non of the permanent sales are questionable because they were all players that would not make the bench anyway, but it is the loan departures that are very questionable. I feel there is no doubt some of the players out on loan could have played a part in the squad this season and helped massively in the squad depth problem yet non of which brought in a transfer fee from their departures.

There are players on that list who are currently out on loan at other clubs that no doubt in my mind would be of use in an Inter match day squad this season, I am going to list the players on that list that I think would help Conte’s problem and how they are doing so far this season out on loan.

Radja Nainggolan - The former Roma midfielder joined the Nerazzuri in the summer of 2018 and despite an average season which included some injury issues still contributed to the team on occasions last season. The Belgian is currently on loan at his former club Cagliari has contributed to his loan club defying the odds and sitting in fourth place in Serie A. Radja has performed well picking up three assists and netting two goals. There is no doubt he could play a part in the Inter squad, especially with the midfield being one of the thinnest in terms of squad depth.

Gabriel Barbosa - Gabigol has been out on loan since summer 2017 but signed a 12 month loan deal with Flamengo in January 2018 and the deal is set to expire at the end of December so he could well be a solution to Conte’s squad depth problem, especially with the injury to Alexis Sanchez. The Brazilian has netted 28 goals and assisted eight goals in 35 apperances across the Brazilian league and Copa Libertadores, surely these are stats the club cannot ignore.

Joao Mario - Another midfielder who could be an option from the bench for Conte rather than his only current options in Borja Valero or Vecino. His time at Inter so far has been mixed in terms of performances but after earning his place back in to Spalletti’s plans last season he had a few decent games and showed there is talent there. He is on loan in Russia this season for Lokomotiv Moscow and had assisted four goals and socred one himself in 12 games for the Russians. A player who never fulfilled potential at Inter yet but definitely someone who could have played a part this season.

FC Internazionale v Empoli FC - Serie A
Gabriel Barbosa and Joao Mario in 2017
Photo by Claudio Villa - Inter/FC Internazionale via Getty Images

Andrea Pinamonti - Although the striker is still young, he would be another option off the bench for Conte, again, especially with the absence of Sanchez. Pinamonti is on loan at Genoa and has scored two goals and assisted three in 11 appearances so far.

Yann Karamoh - The young Frenchman has been loaned out the last two seasons at Bordeaux and now Parma. He started for his loan club against Inter in San Siro a few weeks ago and made a huge impact on the game scoring one and assisting the other of both Parma’s goals. He looked very lively and caused Inter many problems. Looked like a player that Inter would love to bring off the bench against tired defenders.

I think what Conte says regarding the squad is true, it is too thin for three competitions. However, he has to look at some of the decision making that took place regarding sending players out on loan in the summer, because the Inter bench would look a whole lot stronger with those names on it than it does right now.