Inter Milan Transfers: 5 Youngsters Who Could Bring Life to Strama's Lineup
Inter Milan have endured a torrid season as they attempt to begin a new era as the team that claimed a famous treble under Jose Mourinho in 2010 begins to crumble.
The Nerazzurri need to rejuvenate the squad but without the usual funds being made available from Massimo Moratti, Inter need to grow organically and introducing players from the primavera is going to be an option.
If you consider Juventus are out of reach for the next few years, Milan's regeneration is already at least a season ahead of Inter and Roma's squad is certainly stronger on paper, which means that Inter might not be able to retrieve that Champions League place in the next year or two, even by spending significant amounts in the market.
By developing their young players, who famously won the inaugural NextGen Series last year, Inter would be able to gradually return to the top of Serie A while also abiding by the new regulations of UEFA's Financial Fair Play.
Here are five youngsters who could bring life to Andrea Stramaccioni's side.
Mateo Kovacic, 18
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The 18-year-old Croatian was bought in January from Dinamo Zagreb, outbidding Manchester City for the prodigious talent with a fee of €13 million.
Mateo Kovacic has received plaudits from across Europe, including Milan legendary midfielder Zvonomir Boban, admitting "he could be better than me."
Having occupied a role as a trequartista at Dinamo, Andrea Stramaccioni is blooding the youngster in a deeper role, potentially due to his physical attributes still being unfulfilled to cope with the demand of Serie A.
Kovacic has a wonderful range of passing and while the fee was large for a relatively unproven player, it was the right player to spend big on given that the Nerazzurri can build the side around him over the next five years or so.
Marco Benassi, 18
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Marco Benassi has enjoyed some games in the Europa League and Coppa Italia this season, impressing with maturity beyond his years to adapt to Stramaccioni's tactical variations.
The 18-year-old has been compared to Claudio Marchisio and is currently featuring for the under-18 Italian national team. With Inter's midfield in desperate need of a change, Benassi might be thrown into the side sooner than expected.
With great personality on the ball and a willingness to be positive in possession, Benassi is a viable option right now.
Ibrahima Mbaye, 18
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Ibrahima Mbaye is a modern-day full-back who possesses astounding physical attributes.
The left-back was part of the primavera side that won the NextGen Series last season under Stramaccioni and has been integrated into the first team this year.
Mbaye has not had many minutes on the pitch, but the Senegalese is being called to feature on the bench in almost every game of late.
With Yuto Nagatomo failing to convince on the left and Juan Jesus being played more at centre-back, left-back or left-midfield is certainly an area that Inter are weak.
Mbaye won't have to wait long for his chance at this rate.
Joel Obi, 21
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Joel Obi has been injured with a calf problem lately, but the Nigerian is close to a return and would provide something different for Stramaccioni.
With his versatility to play defensive midfield, centre-midfield or left-midfield, as well as a multitude of other positions, Obi is certainly somebody that Stramaccioni can incorporate immediately into his side.
If it is a 4-diamond-2 or a 4-3-3, then Obi would fit nicely as the left-sided mezz'ala as he can charge up and down the pitch with ease, helping Inter become more of a threat in transition.
Marko Livaja (co-Owned with Atalanta), 19
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Marko Livaja was sent to Atalanta in a co-ownership deal that involved Ezequiel Schelotto moving in the opposite direction.
But this player could certainly add something to Inter right now and would definitely be an asset for the Nerazzurri for next season if they decide to take the player back in the co-ownership deal.
With the future of Diego Milito unclear due to the serious knee injury he suffered a few weeks ago, it becomes even more baffling as to why Inter sent the player on loan with Strama's options limited right now.
The 19-year-old has instantly adapted to La Dea's style, playing next to German Denis and looking to link with the Argentine, showing his intelligence and maturity.
While a prolonged stay with Atalanta is surely the best bet for his development, Inter could certainly use him right now, especially when you consider Antonio Cassano's future is now in doubt after recently falling out of favor with the manager.
Tommaso Rocchi will surely be moved on in the summer, so Rodrigo Palacio is the only striker that we can say with any certainty will be playing for Inter next season.
Livaja's pace and directness would add a new dimension to the Nerazzurri attack, and that is why the club should consider bringing the player back in the summer for this new era at the San Siro.