Success-starved Inter fans will hope Saturday night’s performance against Roma is the heralding of a new era at their club – a winning era.
Despite being merely the second Serie A match of the season, the Olimpico clash was billed as an early barometer of Inter’s supposed improvement, while new Giallorossi coach Eusebio Di Francesco was under pressure to prove himself against his predecessor Luciano Spalletti.
Via the club’s various social media platforms, Suning spent much of the summer proclaiming #InterIsComing, much to the disgust and embarrassment of some.
A slow start to their summer transfer dealings, many began questioning whether the Chinese corporation are the right people to take the right forward. However, their ability to invest remains hamstrung by UEFA’s Financial Fair Play sanctions, which mean Inter must fully comply with the agreement set out previously.
Despite this, more than €75 million has been spent on improving the squad, while around €50 million of that has been recouped by selling fringe players.
Significant upgrades such as Milan Škriniar, Dalbert, Borja Valero and Matías Vecino have arrived, showing that Inter is now a club capable of conducting careful and intelligent transfer business. João Cancelo is another who provides Spalletti with versatility, who can perform within the Tuscan coach’s preferred 4-2-3-1 or three-man defensive system.
Mauro Icardi has started the season with four goals in two matches, and the early signs are he will go toe-to-toe with compatriot Paulo Dybala to be crowned Capocannoniere in May.
With Ivan Perišić fully committed to the cause, as well as an improved supply chain from midfield, the Argentine is well-placed to beat his personal scoring record of 24 goals. If he can maintain his current performance levels, as well as continue improving his overall contribution to the team’s play, then Inter have every chance of challenging for the title.
The aforementioned midfield duo of Borja Valero and Vecino have given Inter a new lease of life in the centre of the pitch. Their technical ability and tactical understanding has been pivotal to victories over Fiorentina and Roma. The fact they are managing to keep last season’s revelation Roberto Gagliardini out the starting XI is testament to their quality. Borja’s ability to orchestrate play from deep as well as play in a more advanced trequartista role could prove vital as the season progresses. Inter have been without that kind of flexibility for far too long.
With Serie A looking set to be the most competitive it has been in many years, there are many more tough tests to come for Inter.
Belief is growing all the time at Inter and, while the fans know not to take anything for granted having endured a series of false dawns, there is a sense that things are different this time. The squad is more balanced, the most balanced it has been since the treble was won in 2010 in fact. With another centre-back due to arrive before Thursday’s transfer deadline Spalletti will have plenty of options, especially given the fact his team does not have European football to contend with, as all their main rivals do.
The building blocks for a successful future in place. Now is the time to build gradually, bringing in players who fit into Spalletti’s philosophy. One or two new signings in January to give the team an extra boost before three or four more additions next summer would be an ideal way in which to evolve, but also give the team the stability it requires. There will be bumps along the way but make no mistake, Inter is coming, and this time they are determined to reach their final destination.