With two long, dreary weeks until Inter is back in action, we had to pass the time somehow. Each week we’ll ask the writing crew an Inter-related question and see how everyone's responses compare. This roundtable looks at who we think Inter should sign in the summer transfer window. Of course, this relies on the assumption that Beppe Marotta has a transfer budget to play with and Inter finds a fix to its financial situation.
What player do you think Inter should sign this summer more than anyone else? What makes them such an outstanding option?
Mario: I think Inter should sign Andrea Belotti from Torino. The man needs to be saved from mediocrity and given a chance at that next level. He’s shown he's capable of scoring and makes his presence known at all times. Inter needs that vice-Lukaku type of player and I think Belotti could come at a great discount if we are to see Torino get relegated at the end of the season. The attacking rotation would be much better off and wouldn't have to lean so heavily on Lukaku/Lautaro being healthy 100% of the time. Depth is key for teams in multiple competitions and this is the only department we are severely lacking. Most importantly, he brings the Palermo factor. With Darmian and Belotti, expect at least a double.
Michael: While Ivan Perisic has come into his own in the left wingback position, I would really like to see Inter go for either Robin Gosens from Atalanta or Filip Kostic from Eintracht Frankfurt to really solidify our depth in that position. Both Aleksandar Kolarov and Ashley Young are aging and will not have their contracts extended beyond this season, leaving Perisic as the only option in the position going into next season. There are reports that Atalanta have decided to sell high on Gosens with his contract set to expire after next season. The set asking price is said to be around €40 million, but without much leverage, they could sell for a lower price or maybe accept a player included. As for Kostic, it has been previously reported that Inter had a €40 million bid turned down for the Serb in the summer of 2019. There have been no recent links, but he seems tailor made to play as a wingback in Antonio Conte’s 3-5-2 system. Another option is the return of the currently loaned out Federico Dimarco, who has impressed under the tutelage of Hellas Verona’s Ivan Juric. However, Verona reportedly have an option to redeem on the loan, so his future may remain away from Milano. It is possible that Inter could do something to convince Verona not to pay the €6.5 million redemption clause, but there is no clear solution on this situation at the moment. Regardless, expect some kind of move for another left-wingback this summer.
David: Most would agree that Inter’s starting XI is largely settled for the next couple of years, barring any major sales. Left wing-back and goalkeeper are the only positions that clearly need upgrades. With that said, the Nerazzurri suffers a significant drop-off in quality between the starters and the bench. It’s the backline that is most affected, especially with the contracts of Andrea Ranocchia, Danilo D’Ambrosio, and Aleksandar Kolarov expiring this summer. That’s just about all of Inter’s center-back depth possibly out the door. And while it wouldn’t cost too much to renew them, the trio has an average age of 33 and won’t be improving anytime soon. It’s clear Inter needs a fourth quality option to rotate between Bastoni, de Vrij, and Skriniar but who fits the bill? One interesting option is AS Roma’s Gianluca Mancini. At 24 years of age (soon to be 25 on April 17th), Mancini could be important for many years to come, whereas veteran signings only last a couple of seasons. He’s well versed in playing in a back-three under Paulo Fonseca and has already made 70 appearances under the Portuguese tactician in two seasons since a €12 million move from Atalanta. Though he usually operates on the right of a back-three, he can fill in across the entire defensive unit and even as a defensive midfielder. By no means would Mancini replicate what Inter’s current midfielders showcase, but he could be reliably deputized in the middle of the park.
The defensive side of the Italian’s game is where he really impresses. On a per 90 minutes basis, Mancini averages 1.51 interceptions, 1.85 tackles, and 13.01 pressures. He is also in the 90th percentile of successful pressures a game (4.23) and has made 0 errors leading to an opponent’s shot this season. Statistically, Mancini is in the upper echelon of defenders in the Big 5 leagues. He’s not too shabby in possession either. Mancini frequently enters the build-up for Roma and most of his touches come in the middle third of the pitch. His pass completion averages 88.5%, he makes 4.31 passes into the final third, and creates 0.84 shots (both per game).
Mancini’s current market value is $27.5/€23 million (Transfermarkt), but considering his age and importance Roma would likely ask for an amount well in the 30 million range. A significant investment would be worth it, though, thanks to Mancini’s versatility and clear defensive qualities. Having him in Inter’s defensive rotation would allow the Nerazzurri to fight on multiple fronts to greater effect and not rely on the fitness of each center back near as much. The center-back depth question will have to be answered one way or another this summer, and though Mancini is on the high end of the pay scale, he’s shown enough to be worth it if Inter has the financial capabilities.
We hope you enjoyed reading this as much as we loved fantasizing over who Inter could sign. Maybe in four months we’ll come back to this and see Mario, Micheal, and David all magically got their wishes (if only Beppe Marotta read Serpents of Madonnina...).
Who would you pick? One of these options or someone else entirely? Let us know in the comments.