Inter Milan's Biggest Transfer Targets This Summer
Erick Thohir is now in control, and Walter Mazzarri is settled on the bench. The transition period should be over for Inter.
The Nerazzurri have been some way off the pace in recent seasons, but the new owner is intent on returning them to the top of the European game, and with Mazzarri, he already has a manager capable of doing just that.
The former Napoli boss has struggled at times this season but looked at objectively, it's hard to see this Inter doing any better than fifth, were they currently sit. Juventus, Roma, Napoli and Fiorentina have all been working on their prospective projects for several years now and have left the Milan giants behind.
That needs to change over the summer, and we can expect to see a lot of fresh faces at the San Siro once the 2014-15 season kicks off. Here's a look at some of the front-runners to come on board.
There were plenty of rumours surrounding Paris Saint-Germain's Ezequiel Lavezzi during the winter transfer window, and though they ultimately came to nothing it's fair to assume that several of Europe's leading clubs could come back looking for the former Napoli man in the summer.
Lavezzi hasn't reached the heights he achieved in Serie A with the French club. It's thought that both his old manager, Mazzarri, and his old club would welcome the 28-year-old back to Italy.
The player himself refuses to rule a move out either. In December, Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that he was interested in a move to Inter.
That seemed to suggest that Inter would be his preferred destination, but he's since hinted that he'd prefer a return to Naples, as the Argentine told Fox Sports Italia (here, in Italian) in January.
The Argentine's ability to be effective across the forward positions would add much-needed dynamism to the Nerazzurri squad. He's got pace, he's an excellent crosser, an intelligent playmaker and a dab hand at creating space in unlikely positions. He's also got an eye for impressive goals. Paired with Rodrigo Palacio or Mauro Icardi, and Inter would have a very exciting strike partnership on their hands.
Hatem Ben Arfa
He's got the talent, but Hatem Ben Arfa remains something of a gamble for any prospective buyer. The Frenchman has delighted and infuriated in equal measure at Newcastle United, and now looks to be up for sale as patience has run out on Tyneside.
It had been hoped that following Yohan Cabaye's departure to PSG, Ben Arfa could step up and fill the void, but now it seems the club would rather sell. Local paper the Evening Chronicle reports that the Toon are willing to listen to offers for the forward, with Inter apparently top of the queue.
This one looks like it's almost a done deal. According to plenty of reports, like this one in The Independent, Nemanja Vidic will be on his way to Milan in the summer.
The Serbian defender revealed his plans to leave Old Trafford in the summer, and it's thought that Mazzarri would be extremely keen on recruiting an experienced player of Vidic's calibre—especially as he would arrive for free.
Inter certainly need defenders. Andrea Ranocchia isn't up to scratch, and Walter Samuel is winding down his impressive career.
Vidic doesn't exactly fit the bill for the often-touted youthful project at the San Siro, but there's no doubting that he could make a worthwhile contribution to Inter, and at 32, barring injury he still has a few years left in him at the highest level.
Nani is another winter rumour that came to nothing, but Inter could be back for the Manchester United player in the summer. He recently signed a new deal at Old Trafford but continues to be on the fringes of David Moyes' squad and is said to be looking for first-team football.
The curious part of the link is that fitting Nani into Inter's set-up would either require the forward to play a more central role than he's been used to or a very unlikely tactical switch from Mazzarri to allow the use of a winger. Alternatively, he could act as an extremely attacking option for wing back.
The Portuguese also interests Juventus, according to a report in the Mirror here, but it's hard to see the 27-year-old becoming a starter for the Bianconeri, effectively leaving him with the same problem he's got at United.
It's a long shot, but if Inter really want to mix things up in the summer they could go head to head with Europe's biggest clubs for one of the continent's brightest young talents.
William Carvalho is just 21, but he's already a Portuguese international and is considered one of the most promising defensive midfielders in the game.
Italy's Calciomercato (here in Italian) believes that the Nerazzurri have approached the player, but if they really want him, they're going to have to fight off some stiff competition.
A host of top clubs have allegedly been tracking his progress at Sporting Clube de Portugal, including Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona according to the Daily Mail. The Mirror suggests that Juve could be in the running, too.
The money being mentioned—the English paper values him at over £37 million—would likely be prohibitive for Inter—unless Erick Thohir really wanted to make a splash and signal his intent to return the Nerazzurri to the top of the game.