Many times throughout the history of Italian football, supporters have been accused of having too much power, of ignoring authority and abusing their position of privilege.
Stopping a Rome derby, stripping the shirts of players in Genoa and even altering decisions made by club management, the Ultra have done it all and been pilloried for it.
Often the condemnation is fully justified but, occasionally, there are rare instances where other followers of clubs from other leagues could learn from their Serie A counterparts.
As Mirko Vucinic raised a pen to sign his contract at Inter headquarters, fans’ ire grew to such a degree that the deal was swiftly cancelled to avoid further problems.
Yet the Nerazzurri faithful were not protesting solely at the prospect of seeing the Montenegrin pull on their colours, they were intelligent enough to realise he would be a smart addition. The striker, despite having won two titles with bitter rivals Juventus, would have filled a need, but the price was simply too high.
Sacrificing a talented midfielder was quite a loss to a squad shorn of talent in recent years. Wesley Sneijder, Philippe Coutinho and even Thiago Motta were sold far below what should have been asked, and the prospect of losing another was a step too far.
Just as Juve’s own followers had felt when Alessio Secco tried to bring Dejan Stankovic in the opposite direction, their ire was justified, and Inter were right to listen to them.
But Fredy Guarin should still have been sold.
Not to Juventus, and certainly not just to bring Vucinic to the Giuseppe Meazza, but the 27-year-old clearly has no place at the club and needed to move on. By allowing him to remain, Inter have put the harmony of their squad at risk, keeping a player who believed he had secured a deal elsewhere.
Taking to Twitter to demand “clarity and respect,” (h/t SempreInter.com) Guarin is now bitter and disillusioned by the management of both the club and his career.
At his age, and with the World Cup drawing near, for one of his nation’s best players to not even be given a place on the bench is detrimental for all concerned.
Before this deal became public knowledge, he had started all 18 of the club’s league games, and their one cup tie at Trapani. A substitute in Week 19, he has yet to feature since, costing Inter one of their best players at a crucial time, the team missing his contribution which WhoScored highlights.
According to their stats database, only Rodrigo Palacio (10) and Yuto Nagatomo (five) have scored more goals than Guarin’s four. He also ranks third—behind Palacio and Ricky Alvarez—with four assists, while adding 1.8 tackles and 1.1 interceptions per game. He also sits fourth in Serie A with 2.9 successful dribbles per contest.
Yet for all that input, Inter will not be able to command a fair transfer fee this summer, as the entire footballing world is aware of the situation. The club need to offload him and the player has expressed his desire to leave, allowing all the leverage needed for an interested buyer.
As it has in the past, a lack of clear leadership has cost and will cost Inter here; their managerial set up has yet to be properly streamlined by new owner Erick Thohir. Their organisational structure—taken from the official club website—shows a plethora of job titles which have very little meaning.
Unlike at Juventus, Roma or Milan—where clubs know to speak to Beppe Marotta, Walter Sabatini and Adriano Galliani respectively—it is unclear who at Inter is responsible for transfers. Is it Managing Director Marco Fassone, Technical Director Marco Branca, Sporting Director Piero Ausilio, or someone else entirely?
This is what must be rectified before the summer, for as much as the club needs a talented squad member like the former Porto midfielder, they simply cannot allow this kind of mistake to be repeated. It is already costing the player and Inter, while Colombia may also be forced to suffer the ramifications.
Fredy Guarin should have been sold.