Inter Milan are on the verge of a massive change. It seems probable that there will be no Champions League football next season for the Nerazzurri.
Andrea Stramaccioni's future remains bleak, although injuries to several key players have really hurt his prospects of delivering Champions League football to Massimo Moratti.
Rodrigo Palacio and Diego Milito have been ruled out for the season. There have been countless injuries to others, including Walter Samuel—for various periods of time—that have unsettled the side and prevented Stramaccioni's ability to stumble upon his best lineup.
Without the revenue of Champions League football, certain players on high wages will have to be moved on as Moratti attempts to freshen up the squad without having to release a hefty transfer kitty.
Before embarking on who to bring in to ensure that the Nerazzurri can reemerge as scudetto contenders, the club will dissect the squad and decide who can be depended upon to contribute to the renaissance of La Beneamata.
One positive for Inter this season has been their goalkeeper, Samir Handanovic, who is considered at least the join-best in Serie A by most, alongside Juve's Gianluigi Buffon. So, with the Slovenian just 28 years old, it is a position that is sorted for the foreseeable future.
In all honesty, Inter's defence is a mess—although Andrea Ranocchia has been appalling at times, somewhere in there is a good player and I don't believe that Inter are willing to give up on him just yet.
An experienced, proven centre-back is required to play alongside Ranocchia—said centre-back could also help the talented, yet erratic, Juan Jesus progress in his career.
When you talk about leaders, Inter are blessed with a few—Javier Zanetti, Esteban Cambiasso, Samuel and Milito are some of the most experienced players around the league, all of whom have collected numerous trophies throughout their careers. Their experience will be invaluable for blending the new group together.
Rodrigo Palacio has also been a success story. With 22 goals in 38 appearances in all competitions, the former Genoa star has certainly lived up to expectations and some—the Argentine will surely be a key piece in the plan moving forward for Inter.
Antonio Cassano is the next player you would have consider to have had a successful season, often inspiring the side as the fantasista and relishing the opportunity to play for the side that he supported as a boy.
The 30-year-old is not assured of remaining with the Nerazzurri though, having had a public bust up with Stramaccioni. His attitude has again been questioned and perhaps a mutual agreement on a contract termination will arise.
The new signings from the January transfer window will surely remain, with Mateo Kovacic a star in the making, Zdravko Kuzmanovic adjusting to life in Italy and Ezequiel Schelotto's energy down the right flank proving useful, these are squad players, at the very least, that Inter will rely upon.
Fredy Guarin has blown hot and cold this season—while the Colombian is capable of the spectacular, Inter might see him as disposable due to his market value, which could bring in funds to rejuvenate the squad in other areas, especially given the depth in his position that Inter possess.
For this very reason, the loan of Walter Gargano might not be made permanent and the injury record of Dejan Stankovic might persuade Inter to cash in on a player who has just one year remaining on a contract with high wages.
Other players that could be sacrificed to raise funds might be Ricky Alvarez and Joel Obi, as Inter will surely need to bring in four or five new players if they are going to make the top three in order to regain Champions League football.
A nucleus for next season comprising of Handanovic, Samuel, Ranocchia, Zanetti, Palacio and Milito is what the manager will surely call upon, with Juan, Cambiasso, Kovacic, Kuzmanovic and Schelotto competing for starts.
When you consider there are only 11 players that can be identified as being assured of their futures with the club, the scale of the rebuilding project becomes apparent at Inter and Moratti's decision making becomes key once more.
Without the luxury of calling upon an elite manager such as Jose Mourinho, Moratti is going to need to be extra clever this summer, both in terms of whom he entrusts as the manager and the players that are drafted in.
Inter are in trouble, but this summer will decide just how long the rebuilding project will take.
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