Having just won their first Italian league title since 2010, Internazionale should be a club on the road to serenity. Instead, the opposite is the case. Owned by Chinese company Suning, Inter are having problems handling finance. COVID-19 and Chinese government decrees has seen the ownership unable to commit to investment. Instead, talk of wage deferrals and postponements has been met with anger. After working so hard to win the title, there is talk of near-mutinous feelings within the club.
Players are furious at not only the asking of wages to be cut, but the vague responses given as to the reasons why. With coach Antonio Conte the miracle worker in Milan, his €12m annual salary has also been seen as an issue. His contract expires in 2022, but the present financial situation means that Inter are likely to have to find some means of compromise. Could the coach who has helped to mastermind the revolution, alongside Beppe Marotta, walk away this summer or next?
It looks more likely than many would have expected. Typically known as ‘Pazza Inter’, few big clubs have the propensity to create headaches and drama quite like Inter. This moment, then, is typical of the ‘crazy’ side that Conte has tried his best to move on from. However, with talk of cuts as opposed to improvements, talk of major transfer targets in the summer has instead moved to selling squad players and young talents.
Also, there are other pressures in the background that might cause more issues. Several veterans of the team are on high wages and no longer contribute to the level they did at their physical peaks. This makes moving on from these players tough, as finding willing buyers for expensive veterans is rarely easy.
Will Internazionale make major moves in 2021?
At the moment, the only major moves being spoken about are new deals for key players. Even then, there is talk that these deals might not be completed. Recent reports suggested that key forward Lautaro Martinez was close to signing a new deal with the club. This, though, has been rejected by his agent, who instead insisted that his client was waiting to see what the future would hold for Inter first. Ominous words.
More worryingly, though, might be the contract of Alessandro Bastoni. The young Italian arrived from Atalanta and has been a mainstay for the last two years at Inter. He has become among the highest rated defenders in his age group anywhere in the world. A known Inter fan, too, the youngster still plays with the contract he first signed upon arriving in Milan. His agent has recently spoken out about the irritation of contact negotiations with the club and has made clear that his client will not continue discussions if no renewal takes place before the end of June.
For a club that has just won the title and looked to be marching back towards the summit of Italian football for the long-term, these recent developments are sure to cause worry for fans, players, and management across the summer.