An Inter Revival

Inter manager Roberto Mancini

In 2010, Jose Mourinho led Inter Milan to a European Treble. The Nerazzuri topped the Serie A, dominated the Italian Cup and edged out a victory in the Champions League final. For the last several seasons, those days of triumph have been just a thing of the past. Since that historic 2009/10 campaign, Inter have claimed just a solitary piece of silverware, and have struggled to remain relevant in the league.

Once a perennial contender on Europe’s biggest stages, Inter haven’t qualified for the Champions League since 2011. Slowly but surely, the famed Italian club began to slip further and further down the table. The low point had to be the conclusion of the 2013 campaign where they finished the season in ninth, more than 30 points behind the champions.

This year, however, we’ve started to see a slight revival of the Inter that won titles with ease. Currently, Roberto Mancini’s club sits all way up in third, and is just four points behind Napoli for the lead. A couple of years ago, fans probably would’ve been happy just to qualify for Europe, now they have dreams of topping the league. How did they get back to this point?

Over the summer, Inter made some very high profile signings in the hopes of rejuvenating the squad. Atlético Madrid’s superstar centerback Miranda turned down reported interest from some of the biggest clubs in Europe to come to the San Siro. Joining him was one of France’s most promising young players Geoffrey Kondogbia. Completeing the trio of new signings was Croatian forward Ivan Perisic from Vfl Wolfsburg.

Together, these three high profile signings cost Inter a reported fee of €51 million. That cost isn’t even factoring in the additions of players like Felipe Melo (Galatasaray), Stevan Jovetic (Manchester City), Davide Santon (Newcastle United) and Jeison Murillo (Granada).

This glut of new players brought into the squad revitalized a tired lineup and pumped Inter back into an elite category. Miranda and Murillo have formed a fierce center back tandem that has allowed a league-low 13 goals. Jovetic and Perisic have played key roles in the attack. Kondogbia has continued to build on his potential at Monaco and could become a world-class player in the heart of the midfield.

While it’s easy to focus on the new additions as a reason for success, there are two returning players that have been leading the charge, as well. In attack, Mauro Icardi leads the team in scoring. Between the pipes, Inter has perhaps the best keeper in the Serie A with Samir Handanovic.

Inter's Mauro Icardi

Starting off with Icardi: the Argentine striker is coming off of the best season of his career in 2014/15. Through 36 games, Icardi found the back of the net 22 times and was tied for the league lead in goals with Luca Toni. This year, the 22-year-old isn’t quite on pace for last year’s monstrous total, but he is still averaging a goal almost every other game (eight through 17). With the reinforcements brought into the team’s midfield and attack, Icardi now has better service to feed him the ball. He could prove to be the top-notch striker that a championship contender needs.

Going back to the keeper: Handanovic has long been a solid number one for Inter. The problem was the lack of support in front of him. Last year’s center back pairing (Juan Jesus and Andrea Ranocchia) didn’t have the quality to keep Inter in matches. So far this season, Jesus and Ranocchia have started just ten matches combined. The introduction of Miranda and Murillo into the starting lineup has seemingly given Handanovic more confidence between the pipes and has laid the foundation for Inter to compete for years to come.

While they may not quite be on the level of the 2009/10 squad, this year’s Inter Milan should give supporters hope that bright days are returning. With the top half of the Serie A getting tighter and tighter, the biggest decider, in my opinion, for how Inter’s season ends will be how they compete against the mid-table clubs. The talent they have should give them the opportunity to do just that, and stay right in the title race until the end of the season.

 

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About the author: Collin Carpio

 

I am currently a senior at the University of Missouri in the Journalism School. I have been an avid follower of Manchester United since 2006 and of course I support the Stars and Stripes. Due to my St. Louis high school allegiances, I am a big supporter of Brad Davis and Sporting KC in MLS.

 

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