By Gautam Sharma
Its over. The transfer market has officially closed in Italy. And Inter made no big signings. Is this time to get worried? Or even scared?? These are the ramblings of a worried Inter fan, interspersed by ramdom & unnecessary Yoda quotes.
"The path to the dark side, fear is." - Yoda
On the other side of the city, Milan are celebrating. Ibra & Robinho are marquee Berlusconi signings. Have Milan become stronger than Inter? Or as most nerazzurri are wondering (read: hoping), have Milan have ended up with too many lazy strikers with big ego's? Because that could backfire. From my point of view, while the acquisitions of Ibra and Robinho are not as "brilliant" as Baldie & Baddie would like everyone to believe, some other Milan transfers worry me more (or rather in conjunction). Papa, Boateng, Montelongo and Yepes may not be superstar purchases, but they do add youth, grit and/or depth (in Yepes'es case) to the Milan defence/midfield. Last season we weren't too worried about Milan because they just did not have cover for Thiago-Nesta. Now they do. Papa & Boateng are IMO their best purchases. Montelongo is a wildcard (as I have never seen him play, though I hear he is good). Papa/Yepes represent decent CB cover, as compared to the shite of Favalli/Kaladze last season. Boateng is the Gattuso replacement Milan have been crying for. The fullbacks are still not top notch, though if the Montelongo gamble works it may be a different story. And there is more than adequate cover there as well (Montelongo, Antonini, Zambro, Papa, Janku, Oddo, Abate).
Because of all that, Milan worry me.
"You will find only what you bring in." - Yoda
On top of that, Inter have regressed. UEFA Fair play aside, Inter earned a lot of money in the transfer market (in the region of over Eur 60m). Plus Inter reduced their wage bill by Eur 15-20m pa. But while Branca financially excelled in the sales of Balotelli, Quaresma, Mou, 3 kids to Milan, Obinna, Burdisso, etc, he failed in selling some of our deadwood: Suazo, Muntari, Rivas, & Mancini (at least from what we have heard so far). On the other hand, the purchase of Ranocchia was inspired, and Biabiany+Coutinho are good youthful additions... however I expected Inter to make further 1 or 2 significant purchases.... spend in the region of Eur30-40m more. That was needed to add hunger and an edge to a treble winning side... balancing books is all good, but you cannot do it so suddenly that you don't even spend half of what you earn from transfers.... we have learnt that from our city cousins.... we risk going stale... and that worries me.
"Grave danger you are in. Impatient you are." - Yoda
....and the last two competitive games did not inspire in any way.... (tho it is way too early to judge) I am not convinced at all by Benitez. I know we didn't have much of a choice, Branca/Moratti did as well as they could in selecting the coach... but Benitez looks like he is bored and couldn't care less... he always looked like that to me... someone who is lazy and bored with his day job... like an intelligent version of Zac. Its just a perception, but in life, perceptions have become a large part of reality. I hope I am wrong here, but I haven't warmed up to our new coach, and it will take much more than what we have seen in the last 2 games...
That worries me too.
"Named must your fear be before banish it you can." - Yoda
(I expect) Roma will self destruct sooner or later. Juve have had a revolution, spend zillions, and now look even more mediocre than before. Viola have too many injuries / suspensions / misfortunate events with referees. But Milan, they have a deeper squad, and their average age has reduced, and most importantly, even their average nose size has got longer! ;) But then we again resort to jedi-wisdom:
"Size matters not." - Yoda ;)
They may have bought Big-Nose, but we won Big-Ears. Its an even contest. A Milan derby for the Scudetto. Hopefully Good will continue to prevail over Evil, La Beneamata over the Diavolo :P
May the force be with us.