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Steven Zhang Discusses State of Inter in Interview with GdS

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Inter’s president sheds light on the situation in Milan

2020/21 Serie A Trophy Is Displayed At FC Internazionale’s Headquarters Photo by Emilio Andreoli - Inter/Inter via Getty Images

Even fresh off winning the Scudetto, Inter’s dire finances still caused the Nerazzurri a mountain of trouble. One of the men most involved in the happening at Appiano, Steven Zhang, recently spoke with La Gazzetta Dello Sport over what the future holds for our beloved club.

President of Fc Internazionale Steven Zhang looks on before... Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images

Many thanks to FedeNerazzurra for the translations

On winning the Scudetto

“It is a great pride to have achieved this goal, eleven years after the last title, by interrupting Juventus’ streak of nine straight. This was one of our dreams when we took over. A huge satisfaction that comes from the bottom of my heart, I thank the team, the coaching and corporate staff for being able to give our fans this joy that they Waited for a long time. Doing so in such a difficult and dramatic period also has an added value. We are aware of how much effort it took to make it happen. The hard work paid off and today we know that Inter have the skills, abilities and quality to win and to continue planning a solid and satisfying future.”

On signing Conte and what led to the separation:

“From the first moment we took over Inter we thought that Conte would be the best coach for our project. Two years ago, we finally managed to bring him to the Nerazzurri. I was and remain convinced that Conte is a winner: this is the reason that led us to invest so much in him and in the team in the last two years. Already last summer, the pandemic started to greatly affect our revenues but we continued with him, focusing on the season with conviction that we could win. That decision was correct. But now, we cannot fail to review the situation by looking for savings that lead to a future budget balance. We must necessarily reduce costs and control risks. This obviously also influences the transfer market strategies. Our different views on the situation led to the separation. What wasn’t fundamental for him was for the club. And vice versa. Conte is a top coach, but as president I have to think about the solidity of the club.”

“We need a large capital gain at the end of this transfer window but we want to keep the team very competitive to allow them to do well in Champions League and obviously to win that spot again for the season after. Because we want to be permanently among the great European clubs.”

On winning the Scudetto again

“It is not easy. Six or seven clubs dream of winning the Scudetto every year and the reality is different. Let’s enjoy what we have won.”

On signing Simone Inzaghi

“Simone has shown in recent years that he is a coach of value and experience. He has the qualities to keep our club competitive, which is what we want, but he also cooperate with us to ensure that Inter remain a solid club without risks. He knows our project and is committed and married to it and so we are very happy to have him here. We hope that we can win together.”

The financial situation

“COVID-19 has created enormous difficulty, mainly on the financial level. For a year and a half, stadiums were closed with negative impact on box office sales and also commercial contract revenues. In 2019-2020 season, the loss of major European clubs, including Inter, reached €2B. All these factors force us to review our plans and look outward to obtain new resources. There have been many rumors and untrue speculations but we could not deny them every day. In January, we were very clear on our needs: we evaluated options and chose the one that best matched our financial strategy for the club in medium-long term.”

“There was no offer to buy the club. And on the other hand, we were looking for something else anyway. In this post-pandemic, it is not easy to find groups willing to invest in football whose system is losing a lot of money every year. Our goal now is to find a financial balance by reducing costs, otherwise we will never be able to find new investors.”

“For our part, we always think in the medium-long term and we are always open to commercial or financial partners who can increase revenues and by synergistic with our project for the good of Inter.”

“I think that economic problems existed even before, but the pandemic has accelerated them. There is a need to review football system to have changes in its technology, digitalization and increase the attractiveness of the sport for the new generation. We have to innovate, look to the future. We must try. Obviously this must be done in agreement with FIFA and UEFA. The Super League was just one of examples of these attempts to make.”

On the new stadium project

“A new building is essential to increase revenues and economic stability that not only it can bring to the club through commercial and sponsorship but also through the possibility that it would offer the fans to experience sporting events all year round.”

Whatever your thoughts may be on how Suning has handled Inter’s struggling finances, Zhang seemed to make it clear that they’re around for the long haul. Hopefully both Suning and Inter will see their fortunes uptick in the near future and the Nerazzurri can get back on the track Suning had it on prior to the pandemic. And if not, well, at least we have this Scudetto to look back on from the Suning era.