VIA LANRE ADEMOSUN
Inter Milan owner, Erik Thoir
Erick Thohir must be one of the most thirsty club Presidents in the footballing world right now. He assumed Presidency at Inter Milan in 2013, taking over from Massimo Moratti. Unlike Erick’s, Moratti’s reign enjoyed plenty of silverware and medals, Including the historic treble winning season under Jose Mourinho, and that was it.
Inter milan is yet to win a major trophy under Erick Thohir and they are even struggling to qualify for a place in Europe. Finishing 8th in any major league would not have been termed a bad result for an average team, but Inter Milan shouldn’t be found in such position. Rather, they should be competing for the domestic title and disturbing the other big boys in Europe in the UEFA Champions League.
For the crisis that has rocked the club in recent times, finishing behind Juventus, Roma, Lazio, Fiorentina and Napoli is pardonable, but behind Genoa and Sampdoria? It means there is actually a cause to worry.
Having taken a close look at the team and it’s output, it must be said that there are few positives to pick out from last season, one of which is in the goal keeping position.
HANDanovic in action for Inter last season
Samir Handanovic just as the name implies ‘HANDanovic’ showed last season that he really knows how to make good use of his hands. The Slovenian kept the 4th highest number of clean sheets in the serie A (11), only behind legendary Gianluigi Buffon of Juventus with 18, Morgan De Sanctis of AS Roma with 16 and Albano Bizarri of Chievo with 12. It might surprise you to know that despite keeping 11 clean sheets, Inter Milan still conceded as much as 48 goals in the remaining 27 league games which makes you want to ask questions of the defense.
Despite getting Nemanja Vidic from Manchester United and Brazilian Dodo on loan from AS Roma, not much was shown in terms of stability in the defence. Andrea Ranocchia however got 9 goals to his credit but that’s not his major assignment.
The midfield can not be left out of the blame as none of Fredy Guarin, Gary Mendel, Hernanes, Mateo Kovacic, even Xherdan Shaqiri who arrived from Munich and Marcelo who joined on loan form Dinamo Zagreb could manage at least 7 assists in the league. One would have thought that they were too busy scoring goals and decided to leave assists, however, Hernanes was the highest goal scoring midfielder of all, yet he could only manage 7 goals in all competitions, 5 of those goals in the league. Every other member of the midfield registered at least a goal including our own Joel Obi who arrived in November from Parma where he was on loan, his goal came in the Milan derby and a very important one at that as that goal earned Inter Milan a point in that game. The last Nigerian who scored in the Milan derby was Obafemi Martins and that was way back in time.
Unlike the others, Gary Mendel didn’t even bother to register his name on the scorers sheet all through the season, I should joke that even Kelechi Iheanacho would have performed better in 31 games if given the chance.
Lukas Podolski joined on loan from Arsenal but little did the Inter Milan board know that they were adding just a goal to their attack. He managed just a goal all through the season, same as Nemanja Vidic (a defender).
Rodrigo Palacio hit the back of the net 8 times in the league and 12 times in 41 games in all competitions, I was tempted to type ‘not too bad’, but then you begin to wonder what the role of a striker is.
Icardi shouldered the goals for Inter last season
Clearly, Inter Milan’s best player last season was Mauro Icardi, The Argentine finished joint top goal scorer having the same tally as Verona’s Luca Toni, scoring 22 times in the league. Icardi scored 27 times in 48 games despite the midfield not supplying him with enough assists.
The highest point of the league for Inter Milan came in September last year when Icardi put 3 goals pass Sassuolo’s goal keeper at Giuseppe Meazza ground, 7-0 the game ended but just two weeks later it was Samir Handanovic who let 3 goals slip through off the boots of Albim Ekdal of Cagliari, 4-1 the game ended and this clearly interpreted what Inter Milan’s journey through the season was like.
55 points from 38 games in the league, 14 wins, 11 losses, 13 draws, 59 goals scored (22 of which were Icardi’s) and 48 goals conceded. Clearly the improvements have to come from all departments but from the midfield and defense majorly.
It might be pretty difficult to sign big names since they didn’t clinch an European place but a striker who can complement Icardi’s brilliance should be brought in next season and not another Podolski, with the perfect pairing and combinations in the defense line and Samir Handanovic between the sticks, It is safe to predict that Inter Milan should be playing in Europe in 2016.
Thanks for reading.
P.S: The article was written well before the signings of Kondogbia, Miranda and the rest.