In the winter transfer window, it isn’t usually a club’s prerogative to bring in fresh players into their sides. However, that hasn’t been the case this time around, as clubs all over the planet have showed off their cash. Amongst the lot is Inter Milan, who has made four signings by the end of January.
One of the prime reasons as to why Rafa Benitez parted ways with Inter was the lack of funds that was made available to the Spaniard. However, Massimo Moratti, the Inter president, has gone in the opposite direction and let Leonardo, Inter’s new coach, to make not one or two but four signings in January. This could be a positive move for the Nerazzurri, as the squad looked thin, jaded and plagued with injuries. With the Champions League knock-out stages imminent, this could turn out to be a deciding factor for Inter and re-ignite the rest of their season.
TheHardTackle analyzes the four signings that Inter has made and also the probable impact that these players can have.
The ex-Genoa defender officially signed for the Nerazzurri on the 4th of January, 2011. Although the agreements were made in December, amongst the three parties involved, Ranocchia could only move in January. Inter would have waited till June, had it not been for the season-ending injury of their Argentine centre-back Walter Samuel. This was Leonardo’s first signing with the defending champions. The deal has the potential to go on to define Inter’s season, defensively.
Expectations: Ranocchia will be expected to provide cover for Cordoba or Lucio, if they succumb to injury. Also, with the Champions League knockout stages around the corner, Inter will need Ranocchia to fill the void of Samuel and provide defensive cover in domestic matches.
Merits: A young Italian International with a lot of hunger and intelligence. One for the future.
De-Merits: Andrea is inexperienced at the highest level and will be tested against tricky strikers. However, this could be a short term problem as he will ease into the first team in a year or two.
Possible Impact: Having already mentioned that Samuel is out for the rest of the season, Andrea can just be what the doctor ordered, at least in the domestic circuit. The young Italian International can complement Lucio. Intelligence and reading of the game are his key qualities. Ranocchia will be crucial in the domestic matches and could prove to be a very important signing for the European Champions.
Pazzini is another young Italian International who signed for Inter in January from Sampdoria. The former Fiorentina player has been a hit with Sampdoria throughout his tenure. He has had a superb second season with la Samp, scoring 19 goals in the process. His partnership with Cassano at Sampdoria was arguably the most powerful last year.
Expectations: With Diego Milito out of form and Samuel Eto’o the main man so far, expectations will be high from Pazzini, to share the load with Eto’o. Although Pazzini will not be featuring in all the games, he will be expected to push his way into the starting line-up provided Milito’s bad patch continues.
Merits: Pazzini is a fox in the box. He is known for his poaching abilities and is surely a star in the making.
De-Merits: It will be interesting to as to see how Pazzini adapts at a competitive club, with star strikers around him, having already failed at Fiorentina.
Possible Impact: Speaking of impact, Pazzini has already enhanced his reputation with the Nerazzurri, with a dream debut against Palermo. After come off the bench, Pazzini scored an incredible brace and earned a penalty which Eto’o converted. This helped Inter to come back from 2-goal deficit and win by 3-2. Similar performances can be expected and this could very well be the signing of the season for the Nerazzurri.
The 28-year old Moroccan International has had a stint with Roma, where he had an average outing, in 2005. Kharja is a France born Moroccan footballer, who plied his trade with Genoa until last month. He has signed for Inter on loan, which runs till June, with an option to make the deal permanent.
Expectations: It is difficult to expect anything from Kharja, as he is hardly going to feature, ahead of star midfielders that Inter has at its disposal. However, the Moroccan will be expected to be a proxy with fresh pair of legs to rush into opponents. He will be expected to be a game breaker for the Nerazzurri.
Merits: Industrious and a team player.
De-Merits: Lack of experience and skill to be a permanent in the starting lineup.
Possible Impact: With game time being limited, Kharja’s impact could be minimal, unless an injury to Motta or Cambiasso forces him into the starting line-up. Nevertheless, as a substitute, he can have a huge impact especially because of his energy and diligence, which can not only hurt the opponents, but also help Inter in winning back possession.
Another Asian who has built a reputation in Europe. Nagatomo was signed from Japanese side FC Tokyo by Cesena in June 2010, on loan. Having spent half a season with Cesena, he impressed them enough to be signed permanently. Currently the Japanese is on loan to Inter, with an option of making the deal permanent. He was signed by Inter on the deadline day.
Expectations: Having had a tremendous first half of the season, Yuto will be expected to take over the left back position, which has been a bit problematic for the Champions. With Chivu quite unimpressive while surging ahead, Nagatomo can complement Maicon on the left.
Merits: Brilliant while going forward and skillful with the ball.
De-Merits: Not as reliable in defense as Chivu and inexperienced in Europe.
Possible Impact: This is one more signing which could be very important for Inter. Yuto can have a massive impact on Leonardo’s side after his sensational first half of the season.