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It’s been almost a decade since Internazionale dominated Italian and European football. Inter’s last trophy came with the 2011 Coppa Italia and last season they finished 21 points behind Juventus who won their eight successive Scudetto.
However, things are stirring again at the San Siro with a new man at the helm. There was never any doubt Antonio Conte would shake things up at Internazionale. Since his arrival last month the combustible former Chelsea and Juve manager has been busily reshaping the Inter squad.
New Look Inter
The busy summer has already seen the arrivals of a new right side to the midfielder in Valentino Lazaro and Matteo Politano and in defence former Atletico Madrid skipper Diego Godin, who even at 33 is a coup on a free transfer. Inter have also been busy shedding the deadwood with Zinho Vanheusden, Ionut Radu and Marco Sala leading the departures.
However, more dramatic changes appear to be on the way with Inter trying to pull together a financial package that will bring Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku to Italy. The Belgian forward was Conte’s first choice to replace Diego Costa at Chelsea back in 2017, but United stole a march on Chelsea and Conte had to make do with the underwhelming Alvaro Morata.
Lukaku has lost the central striking role at Old Trafford to Marcus Rashford and a deal looks close to being finialized. If Lukaku arrives it will extinguish any faint hope of the controversial Mauro Icardi staying in Milan.
Being replaced as captain last season caused a deep division between Icardi and the club and it was never likely his hot headed personality would mesh with Conte. Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan also appears to be on his way out, giving a very different complexion to the Inter squad.
Formation wise it seems likely Conte will adopt his favoured 3-4-3 formation with Godin joining Milan Skriniar and Stefan De Vrij in the back three, Matias Vecino, Marcelo Brozovic, in central midfield flanked by Lazaro and Dalbert with a front three of Ivan Perisic, Lukaku and Politano.
The Old Lady Continues to Reign
Inter may be getting their act together but Juventus remain firm favourites to make it nine Serie A titles in a row. The arrival of Maurizio Sarri after a troubled year in London isn’t likely to see a drop off from the champions. Indeed Juve have strengthened yet again by adding Adrien Rabiot and Aaron Ramsey in midfield on free transfers, reinforcing the defence with Luca Pellegrini and Merih Demiral, bringing back Gigi Buffon and likely adding Ajax star Matthijs De Ligt.
What happens now with Gonzalo Higuain will be intriguing after underwhelming loan spells with AC Milan and Sarri’s Chelsea. Higuain is a favourite of Sarri’s after their productive spell at Napoli, but it’s still difficult to see him fitting into the same team as Cristiano Ronaldo.
Serie A has suffered from one team dominance in recent years with Juventus head and shoulders above the chasing pack whilst Inter’s triumph under Jose Mourinho back in 2010 remains the last Italian success in the Champions League. But the return of Conte and indeed Carlo Ancelotti with Napoli a year ago provides a much needed shot in the arm for the division. All three will be in next seasons Champions League alongside surprise package Atalanta, hinting perhaps at a more competitive season ahead.
Featured Image: The Independent