How a Series of Unfortunate Events Got Us Here
So my beloved Internazionale find themselves in a precarious situation. Just when things looked brighter with a two game winning streak we find our selves again hovering over the relegation zone. Out of 12 league games they have already lost 5, and the fortress formerly known as the Giuseppe Meazza is now a five-star hotel for visiting teams as Inter has lost three times there. The defense that was the hallmark of the championship winning sides has allowed 18 goals so far and the impotent offense has managed only 14. This did not just happen over night as I have seen the warning sign coming that fateful day in May in which all us Inter fans were overjoyed with the lifting of the Champions League trophy.
We can go back since the beginning of the Massimo Moratti era and find hundred’s of mistakes that we can associate to how bad Inter is now, but I will only go back to the night we won the treble and start from there.
“It was like a husband cheating on his wife, but seeing as he cares for her and doesn’t have the courage to admit to it, he climbed out the window”
Leading up to that Champions League final everyone knew that Jose Mourinho was going to leave to Real Madrid. The press knew it. The fans knew it even if they were in denial. Mourinho’s statements about how much he hated all the things that surrounded football in Italy basically confirmed it. Plus his constant flouting that he had a buyout clause in his contract pretty much sealed it. Well everyone except Moratti and the Inter management team. They seemed so surprised and blindsided by the news they basically had no plan whatsoever as what to do. This led to a crazy scramble which led to the second event in this debacle: Rafa Benitez.
Now there are three roads: either the club starts a project and buys four players right now in January or we continue like this with the coach who is the only person to blame or otherwise the president speaks to my agent and we find a solution.
Inter’s solution to the coaching problem was to hire Benitez who was personality and philosophy wise completely wrong for the team available. Also the Financial Fair Play rules have were announced a few months before and the club found out that they needed to get their books in order after 15 years of just relying on Moratti to cover their losses time and again. Anyone who’s followed Rafa’s career knows the man needs to build a team. He needs semi freedom to decide what players come and what players go. He inherited a squad in desperate need of breaking up and rebuilding but was not allowed to do so. He also decided to completely change the way the players train and that led to a ridiculous amount of injuries that handicapped the season. He was so stubborn tactically that he refused to change things around even when results were not coming.
Moratti on the other hand was so happy to have finally won the Champions League that he could not see that his team was in desperate need of breaking up. Also being restricted by the FFP rules he’s so desperate to comply with he said no purchases unless there are sales. However, he did not make the right decisions in that department also. Real Madrid came in with an offer of Euro 23m for Maicon, and Inter asked for 30m. There were also offers for Milito that were refused outright even though the player right after winning the Champions League opened the door for an exit. Two big mistakes considering they wanted to cut salaries. Instead they raise Milito’s salary and sell Balotelli for 28m.
This eventually ended in the way everyone expected and Leonardo took over. Inter did buy those four players Rafa had wanted and went on a run that made people think that things were all well. Though the players were mostly still the same and the defense was so leaky that games turned into who scores last wins. As much as the players liked playing for him the rumors persisted that Leo was not the long-term solution for the club. Then suddenly Inter announced that Leo has stepped down while he was saying that Inter pushed him out.
This led to the most embarrassing coaching search in the history of coaching searches. Not embarrassing in the amount of negative responses that the club got, but because Inter did not seem to have a project in mind while looking for a coach. Side note: I always laugh when people mention Inter and project together since you cannot have a project if you change coaches so regularly. The only time we had a semblance of a project was under Mancini. So in the end Inter settled for Gasperini. It seems that they hired him without ever watching his teams play since they were all shocked that he used a three-man defense. They also refused to buy him the players that would fit into his system. So inevitably they fire the man after five games.
Inter also had another terrible summer; Instead of selling Lucio, or calling his bluff on the contract extension they give him a two-year extension. Instead of tell Cordoba thanks for your service and let him go they keep him. They still do not sell Maicon, nor Chivu who they will lose on a free next summer. They sell Santon for peanuts and bring in Jonathan who is not better. Finally they sell Eto’o when it is too late to replace him, and when they do bring in Forlan it turns out he’s ineligible to play in Europe.
No we find ourselves in the bottom quarter of the table with no light at the end of the tunnel. Inter will eventually buy a few players this January and try to salvage the season, but unless they truly overhaul the squad we will keep coming back to this. I don’t mind having a bad season if management comes out and says we are rebuilding and are trying to integrate the youngsters and weed out the older players. However they still insist in public that the team still has a lot to give. Until they open their eyes to the reality of the situation it will be a bleak couple of years to come.