At a certain point last summer Inter Milan’s heads were turned from the very achievable target of Arturo Vidal and towards the frankly fairy tale prospect of signing a Luca Modric who was now Real Madrid’s preeminent player following Ronaldo’s departure. It may well be the defining moment in their 2018/19 campaign.
Inter’s inability to creatively unlock defenses last season almost cost them their champions league qualification prior to the arrival of Rafinha, who when fit was able to unpick defences from central positions to ease the pressure on the stuttering Candreva and overburdened Perisic. But that option is gone.
Inter improved their squad in almost every way this season apart from this one, arguably the most important. And it shows. The team struggled from the start against Sassuolo and have continued since against deep lying defenders content to watch the wide attacking players stutter.
Nainggolan isn’t the solution either. An all-action box to box midfielder who happens to be able to bustle through defences on sheer force of will is not the same as a creative player who sees things before they happen, opens spaces and creates chances from nothing. The Belgian seems like he’d be most effective in a deeper central pairing with Brozovic.
So who solves the issue of replacing Rafinha this season? Very simple:
The Croatian has only ever played on the left but possesses the vision, workrate, final ball and eye for goal to take up a much freer role in the centre behind the front three. His presence there would likely draw defenders out too, leaving more space for the Inter attack.
At this stage it really seems like there are almost no other options in the role. Politano lacks the chops for it, Candreva is a spent force since two seasons back and Brozovic, as it was clearly pointed out in the Italian media this weekend, is more of a waiter than a chef.
Playing Perisic behind the front line frees up the left side for Lautaro Martinez to try and establish himself in the team too. A potentially huge talent likely to be kept benched by Icardi.
Spaletti can’t wait around for this current system to somehow click despite it yielding four points from four matches against decidedly basic teams.
Perisic is the answer to Inter’s woes and the sooner he’s given the opportunity to step up into a central role the better.
Image Daily Mirror