You’d probably assume that upon winning your first title in 11 years, the message from the boardroom would be ‘same again next year, lads.’
But this has been no ordinary summer for the current champions of Italy. After winning the scudetto in swashbuckling style, Antonio Conte walked away from Inter due to the club’s precarious financial state and the subsequent cuts that would have to be made to the playing staff.
The Nerazzurri need to generate some serious cash this summer, although the departure of Achraf Hakimi has already landed them a cool €70m. The wing-back needs to be replaced however, while new coach Simone Inzaghi must address other problematic areas in the squad.
So, let’s have a look at how Inter could line up for the 2021/22 campaign.
Samir Handanovic (GK) – He may be getting on in years, but Handanovic has got at least one more campaign in him at the very top. 37 years young, the shot stopper played a crucial role in Inter’s success last season.
Milan Skriniar (CB) – Several clubs have stated their interest in Skrinar in recent windows, but Milan won’t be leaving his namesake city just yet. The time may come when he accepts a new challenge, but right now, few clubs boast the funds to afford him.
Stefan de Vrij (CB) – Inter’s best defender last season, De Vrij will be strutting his stuff at San Siro for the next 12 months, at least. The Dutchman is living the dream in Milano, and has earned his place in a league-winning defence.
Alessandro Bastoni (CB) – If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Bastoni completes a backline that realistically needs no surgery and will be kept together for the next season. The consistency needed to win titles starts at the back.
Hector Bellerin (RWB) – Here comes the first change. It’s Hector for Hakimi, as we fancy Inter to go all out for Arsenal star Bellerin to replace the departed Morocco international. The Gunner is known to be available in the market, and the Nerazzurri may try a cheeky loan with option to buy for the Spaniard. A bit of a downgrade on the previous model, though.
Nicolo Barella (CM) – Even if Inter are willing to sell some of their stars, this boy is untouchable. Barella is one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the world, and his Euro 2020 exploits only add to his price tag. No matter how much Inter need the money, the Italian won’t be on the transfer list.
Marcelo Brozovic (CM) – The champions relied heavily on the metronomic Brozovic last year, and there are no indications that they won’t be doing so again. An underrated performer on the biggest stage.
Hakan Calhanoglu (AM) – The tragic circumstances which surround Christian Eriksen meant that Inter had to go out and buy a replacement attacking midfielder this summer. They ended up shopping on their own doorstep, pinching Calhanoglu from rivals Milan on a free transfer. Ouch. He is not going to be popular in the red and black half of the city anymore.
Emerson Palmieri (LWB) – Completing the midfield, we’ve opted for Chelsea’s Palmieri. The defender proved at Euro 2020 that he still has much to offer at the top level, even if that means leaving Stamford Bridge. Like Bellerin, Inter may look to land their target on loan before laying down any hard cash.
Romelu Lukaku (ST) – There has been plenty of gossip surrounding the future of Lukaku, but the Belgian has made one thing clear: He loves Inter, and he’s going nowhere. If he’s in the side, they’re always in with a shot of the title.
Lautaro Martinez (ST) – Like Lukaku, Martinez has been the subject of many whispers linking him with a move away, but with cash-strapped Barcelona his biggest admirers, he’s probably going to be sticking around for another year. The dream partnership lives on!