Fredy Guarin angled for a move to Juve last month, but owner Erick Thohir blocked the move.
A rough month, during which they failed to win any of their five games to start the new year, ended miserably for Inter. There was a protest, and there were a couple of signings. Hernanes, the midfielder formerly of Lazio, is the expensive boost of hope.
Yet February started without him, and the club lost for the 100th time against Juventus.
Life under president Erick Thohir is not easy. He came for the first match, and he anointed former majority owner Massimo Moratti as an honorary president. But Thohir has watched much of the action from his home in Indonesia. Only when supporters rose like an angry mob did he reconsider and eventually called off the transfer of Fredy Guarin to Juventus. “The fans just want answers,” Moratti told Italian news agency ANSA.
A businessman by nature, Thohir plans to implement a salary cap by the start of next season, a number reportedly around €2.5 million a year per player. Esteban Cambiasso and Diego Milito make more than €4 million, and the club could offload Andrea Ranocchia, Guarin and Mauro Icardi by August.
It is part of what Thohir has called “the last year of a fantastic era.” Cristian Chivu, always wearing a soft helmet for protection, could retire because of injuries. A similar decision awaits defenders Walter Samuel and Javier Zanetti.
Here are several players that Inter could lure in the summer, if the owner and his team wish to use the money wisely and bring about real change.
Javier Hernandez has scored 57 goals for Manchester United since August 2010.
Inter need goals from more traditional sources. Except striker Rodrigo Palacio—who has 10 strikes in Serie A—the team’s next best scorer is left-back Yuto Nagatomo. And there is hardly a surer thing inside six yards than Chicharito.
The 25-year-old has only played four full games for Manchester United this season, but he has an average of a goal every 151.7 minutes. And it’s not always the same kind of goal: he can head the ball or boot it or simply redirect it.
Palacio is often left stranded in the final third and a partner beside him could finish off what he leaves behind.
Chicharito does stray offside, sometimes killing the attack. But this Mexican has scored 57 goals for United since August 2010.
John Guidetti is 21, but he spent 18 months out of the game.
He has not yet started a game in the Premier League, but John Guidetti did score 20 goals in 23 with Feyenoord on loan from Manchester City in 2011-12. Several fans in Holland got tattoos of his likeness.
But there were complications: Guidetti suffered a virus, and at one point he could not feel anything in his right leg. Several forwards stand between him and the pitch at the Etihad, and yet they keep him. There is a mystery about Guidetti, an unfinished product and an investment they don’t yet want to parlay.
In the event that Inter do release Milito, who is 34 and hurting, Thohir could sign Guidetti at a relatively low price. And he’s 21. Lately the Nerazzurri have lacked the patience to develop their own kind—Coutinho was the latest to flee and flourish elsewhere—and that has to change.
PSG bought Javier Pastore for a reported fee of €43 million.
It’s obvious that Inter have a tendency to recruit Argentinians, and Javier Pastore once played great football in Italy. Under Laurent Blanc at Paris Saint-Germain, Pastore has split his time as a starter and substitute.
He was one of the first signings that PSG made as they mined the peninsula for star players and transformed into the fifth-richest football club in the world.
The speed of Pastore was once an issue, but he is versatile and well-rounded as a midfielder in the centre or wide on the left flank. He hasn’t scored any goals in his 16 games in Ligue 1 this season, and there is just a single assist all year.
Pastore is a starving artist, a capable playmaker who can lift the ball gently over the defenders and into the path of his striker, but his value has fallen from the original heights of the €43 million PSG paid to get him. He is only 24. Would Thohir go for the bargain?
The contract of Porto's Fernando, left, ends this summer.
They call him the Octopus. “Later they told me it was because I ran a lot,” Porto midfielder Fernando told FIFA, “because I seemed to be everywhere and had lots of legs.”
He is a defensive midfielder, unafraid to slide into a tackle, but most importantly he is a great carrier of the ball. He’s completed 89 percent of his passes this season, according to Squawka, and the more he sees open parts of the field, the more he takes it up. For such a rough player, Fernando has collected 43 yellow cards in 150 games with Porto since 2008.
Fernando's contract ends at the end of June. Inter have done deals with Porto in the past, acquiring Guarin and left-back Alvaro Pereira in 2012.
Martin Caceres is largely a substitute for Juventus.
These are tricky waters to negotiate in, and it may require a peace offering: Guarin.
Juventus almost got the midfielder in January, and a certain rugged, creative defender could tempt Inter. He’s also bright in the air, and he’ll score the odd goal. He’s Martin Caceres, a substitute for Juventus, and he’s quiet about it. No grumbling from him. But if he won’t say it, someone else should: This 26-year-old deserves to be a starter.
One of the game’s modern defenders, Caceres likes to play the pass, recover the ball and stay on his feet. In just four Serie A games, according to whoscored.com, he has completed 91 percent of his passes. He played twice against Real Madrid, and on a rare occasion Caceres played the ball backwards and into the feet of Karim Benzema, who teed up Ronaldo for an easy goal.