As expected from the current European and Italian Champions, the Inter Milan squad does not need a lot of work this summer. This is by no means an aging Inter team, with many of their best players still in their prime. So what will Rafa do this summer in the transfer market?
Assuming that Benitez sticks with Inter’s 4-2-3-1 formation that Mourinho uses last season these are the areas that I expect Rafa to focus on:
Inter has the goalkeeper in the world, and just signed a back-up keeper this week, so I expect nothing more to happen here.
Maicon, Lucio, Samuel and Zanetti were terrific last season, especially in the Champions League. Lucio, Samuel and Zanetti are all the wrong side of 30, although Stanton can fill in for Zanetti. I would not be surprised if Rafa’s adds a younger center-half here, who can learn from Lucio and Samuel for the next season or two before moving into the first team.
The big question mark on the Inter defence is where will Maicon do next season. Rumors yesterday were that Real Madrid have reportedly already offered €25 million for the Brazilian with Inter holding out for €35 million. So lets say they split the difference and settle on €30 million. Inter then need to find a new right-back.
Rafa might be tempted to go back to Liverpool for Glen Johnson and if Inter can get him for €15 million that is a €10 million profit on the right-back position, which is a good business move.
There have been a lot if rumors flying around that Inter are about to offer Liverpool £25million for Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano. I expect them to come true and that Rafa will partner Mascherano and Cambiasso in midfield. These are two of the best holding midfield players in the world, and if they can co-exist together in the middle of the park, then Inter will look extremely strong defensively next season.
Last season Inter played with Eto’o on the right, Sneijder in the middle and Pandev on the left. All three played great last season and Eto’o and Sneijder are going nowhere. That leaves Pandev’s spot as a potential opening for an offensive minded player. With Mascherano and Cambiasso in midfield, Rafa could add a very offensively oriented player here.
There have been rumors of Liverpool’s Dirk Kuyt joining Inter, but he is a right sided player. Inter need help on the left side, so I don’t think that Kuyt is the answer as Inter have Mario Balotell to back up Eto’o.
In this formation, Milito is the lone striker, a position he played so well last season. Benitezx could always move Eto’o or even Balotelli into this position if something happens to Milito so I would be shocked to see Inter spend any significant money at this position this summer.
Three potential purchases for Inter this summer; A young center-half who can learn from Lucio and Samuel, Javier Mascherano as a holding midfield player and a left-sided attacking midfield player. If Maicon goes to Real Madrid then Inter will need to add a fourth player at right-back.