We have done our business in the transfer window, I started off with making cuts to our reserve squad has we had a large number of fringe players who had come back off loan spells who I thought would not make the grade here at Inter. We also had a number of players returning to their respective clubs after being on loan with us last season, Eder, Pulišić (who I tried to sign but he signed a new contract with Dortmund), Manaj and Costa. Alex Telles was due to return to Galatasaray but I paid the £6m clause in his contract to keep in Milano. Mauro Icardi came to me again about joining a bigger club (Real Madrid) but I convinced him to stay at least until the January transfer window. Steven Jovetic will stay with us on loan until January with an option to buy for £6m. The main players to leave us are Marcelo Brozovic £19m to Chelsea, Juan Jesus £18.5m Bayern Munich, Jonathan Biabiany £4.2m U.S Sassuolo and Marco Andreolli 750k Verona. Brozovic and Jesus both asked for moves amid interest from Chelsea and Bayern. Biabiany was not getting games with us so a move to U.S Sassuolo should give him game time. Andreolli is not part of my plans so Verona should be a good move for him.
I decided to strengthen the first team by adding 4 players who I believe can take us to the next level, first through the door was Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka £12.5m from Borussia Monchengladbach, then I paid £35m for Italian Domenico Berardi from U.S Sassuolo, Berardi gives us options up top by being able to play in a number of roles. Next through the door Portuguese midfielder Ruben Neves from FC Porto for another £35m paid over 48 months, Neves adds that touch of quality to an already strong midfield. Finally Centre back Eric Bailly joined for £19.75m from Villareal, Bailly looks a good prospect and will add competition for places.
I have got to say the Icardi situation as got me thinking that he really wants the move to Real Madrid and come January he will be knocking on the door again, Jovetic does have the clause that will allow us to buy him outright for £6m. The situation will be monitored over the next few months. I have promoted promising midfielder Assane Knoukouri in to the first team, Knoukouri looks a promising talent. I will give Knoukouri some quality game time during the season.
The board expectations for the coming season are that we qualify for the Champions League via our League position and that we reach the 1st knockout road of this season’s Champions League, they don’t consider our performance in the Coppa Italia this season to be important. I feel that these expectations are fair however I want us to defend our Coppa Italia win from last season.
The youth team are looking strong with me looking at a number of players development over the season. I am looking for us to be in a position of promoting at least 2 players in the the first team picture from the end of next season so the youth team squad is an important feeder to what I call our development squad (U20’s) from where I will be expecting progression.
After a successful campaign last season I was thinking about our short to long term goals. It’s clear that my philosophy is influenced by Bielsa and his Verticality, I want my teams to break down the opposition’s layers by playing our type of Juego De Posicion (Positional Play ). I theorise constantly about the philosophy and tinker constantly micro managing my teams. My bro Saadiq Bey @Rovazzz is another Bielista who keeps me thinking about our systems of play. Saadiq is currently turning Hajduk Split in to a Bielsa influenced club, if you don’t already you should give him a follow. So back to my goals at Internazionale on the pitch my default formation is 4-3-3, a few people have said to me that they didn’t think it looked defensively solid because the tactic screen shows it has your defensive formation and some people think it looks too offensive however when I set my teams up I set up to defend from the front. Without the ball I want a high block like Bielsa so my front 3 are in position to initiate the block straight away supported by my 3 midfielders we close down very quickly and through watching hours and hours of match footage it’s clear to see that we turn the ball over in our favour very quickly and consistently. I don’t want my team to sit in and wait for our opponents to break us down, I want us up on our toes and closing down aggressively. We play a high line with the central defensive pairing made up of 1 marking and 1 covering. The full backs will push high up the pitch supporting either inside forwards or wingers depending on who I play and what roles I give them. My midfield 3 are made up of 1 sitter,1 runner and a playmaker. Up front I change the roles frequently for example I may use a target man flanked by 2 inside forwards or a defensive forward flanked by a winger and an inside forward. Like I have said before I tinker and micro manage from game to game but the philosophy is always Bielsa inspired with verticality the goal.
When I took over last season my thinking was:
Year 1 Push for the top 4 and try and win the Coppa Italia (I have a bit of a love affair with the Coppa Italia if you have read my other saves)
Years 2-5 Win Serie A 2 times and reach the Champions League final.
Years 5+ Established as the number 1 team in Italy and win the Champions League. Have at least 10 players in the first team squad that have been developed by the club.
I hope you enjoy following my journey with Internazionale, I will be posting our Pre Season results plus a report from the Supercoppa final against Juventus shortly so keep your eyes peeled for the next instalment of ‘Rise Of The Nerazzurri’