Week 24: Inter – Milan A Post Transfer Window Derby
Many fans have correctly voiced concerns about the direction of the team. To be sure Pioli and the players have done a phenomenal job in the past two years. Financially the team has done good business too and as reported the balance sheet and numbers are heading in the right direction, all despite the pandemic. However, as the now concluded transfer window showed, Milan is either incapable or perhaps unwilling to compete financially. Inter and Juve in particular made important if not big moves and Milan only spent on 18 years old Marko Lazetic. Whether this January window is a fair indication of how the team can improve moving forward is perhaps up for debate but finishing top 4 is certainly a requirement to maximize revenue and for now the team has been left behind. The upcoming summer – rumoured interest in Renato Sanches, Sven Botman and others – may be more exciting but for now the team has to hope that the oft injury laden team has the skills and stamina to not fall out of the Champions League places.
Other moves have not help either. While it is time to forget that Donnarumma and Calhanoglu left for free the danger that both Kessie and Romagnoli will do as well can not be dismissed as ‘it happens’. Kessie is courting controversy by questionable conduct following return from Africa Cup Of Nations duty. Conflicting reports about how and where he is training don’t help. It is at least somewhat indicative of the lack of resources that Pioli may be trying to test Kessie as a number 10 vs Inter. Diaz’s and Maldini’s forms have made for an underwhelming focal point in launching attacks. The latter was briefly linked with a dry loan move but he ended up staying.
The right wing spot will remain a sore spot for another six months at least as the team rotates between Messias and Saelemaekers. The left side is more secure as Leao has shown growth. Ibra will play up front and when he is unavailable Giroud will take his spot. Bennacer and Tonali will be the pivots when Kessie is not to be one of them. Rebic is another missing player and this further hinders creativity and options up front.
At the back Tomori seems on the verge of an early return but it is surely dangerous to risk him less than four weeks after (keyhole) knee surgery. Kalulu and Romagnoli are the available options and the recently extended Gabbia the other of course. Hernandez has done well and makes Milan’s left side very potent. Calabria will get the start on the right side of defense. Maignan is a player of the year candidate in goal.
Robin Gosens (Atalanta) and Felipe Caicedo (Genoa) just joined Inter on loan. The former is out injured but will provide quality when healthy and the latter – previously with Simone Inzaghi at Lazio – good depth up front.
There is always more on the forum.