Club Focus – Inter – Adriano’s exit imminent with Primavera products on the horizon

Adrianotrouble

The lack of attention must have been getting to Inter this week. With Coach José Mourinho’s latest outburst largely ignored (we are all getting bored of it now), Adriano took it upon himself to thrust his club right back on to the front pages by going AWOL after international duty, reportedly missing his flight back from Brazil. He has managed to drag the issue out for the entire week, and at the time of writing, the problem is still unresolved. The player is still in Brazil with his family, his return date is unknown (his agent claims post-Easter) as are his reasons for refusing to fly back to Italy. Many theories – some rather ridiculous – have been put forward, ranging from a break-up with his girlfriend, a kidnap plot and a desire to see the Fla-Flu derby in Rio de Janeiro. What is clear is that he has yet another personal problem, and it begs the question just how long his club are willing to stick by him.

Adriano07042009

He is undoubtedly a player of immense talent, and when fit is a devastatingly effective. 47 goals in 115 league appearances to date for the Nerazzurri, 14 goals in 21 Champions League appearances. He is just as clinical for his country, with 29 international goals in 47 games. In one way, it is testament to his ability that he has managed to keep his ratio at such an impressive rate despite suffering so many problems, and is perhaps the reason why the club maintain their support of a striker who is clearly a liability. Nevertheless, to persistently carry such a player in a squad year upon year is a risky policy. They are coping, and will continue to cope, perfectly well with his absence at the moment due to the sheer number of strikers in the squad. Mourinho still has five strikers available to him (Victor Obinna, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Julio Cruz, Hernan Crespo and Mario Balotelli) and so will not be feeling the loss. However, in a smaller squad, something which the Portuguese Coach has advocated on more than one occasion this year and a stage he intends to reach at the start of next season, you would not find any more than four strikers. This number could even be as low as three if the Special One intends on using the 4-3-3 next year. At this point, a striker such as Adriano does become a problem as you cannot afford to carry players who could go off the rails at any moment.

If he is to be offloaded, it leaves one wondering which club will show an interest. A striker of his quality will clamour for a “big” club, but with his issues so widely known, just how many of these elite clubs are going to want to add him to their squad? Looking abroad, Manchester Utd, Arsenal and Liverpool are unlikely to add any strikers (certainly not those in the Adriano mould). Real Madrid only purchased Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in January, and will welcome Ruud van Nistelrooy back next season to complement Gonzalo Higuaín, Javier Saviola and Raúl. Barcelona are reported to be on the lookout for a front man, but having experienced their own dilemma’s with fellow Brazilian Ronaldinho, they are unlikely to cause yet more dressing room unrest with Adriano.


Fortunately, the shenanigans surrounding the Brazilian are not affecting the club on the pitch. They secured their 22nd league win of the season on Sunday with a 1-0 victory over Udinese. They were lucky to escape with the three points, the Friuli outfit had more than enough chances to take a point, none more gilt-edged than Christian Obodo’s late header which should really have been on target. La Beneamata’s performance was not spectacular, yet it did not have to be after Juventus managed to drop more points at home to Chievo earlier in the day. What could have been a remotely intriguing end to the Scudetto race has now turned into a procession for Mourinho and his players. It is hard to imagine this efficient machine dropping nine points in the eight remaining games. In many ways, it is a shame that the challenge to Inter’s supremacy has been so weak, because this is not a side without faults. Regrettably, no team has been able to apply any kind of pressure and attempt to bring those to the fore.

While the reigning champions host Palermo on Saturday, their nearest rivals face a tough trip to Genoa to play a side that has lost once at home all season. If anything, this gap will only be larger after the Easter weekend fixtures. The comfortable position in which the club find themselves may give the Coach a chance to experiment with a view to next season. He has made no secret of the fact new players will be acquired and added to the first team, and current players will be leaving. Chances are there will be at least one of the six centre-backs on the books on their way out, the same can also be said of the striking department (the previously mentioned Adriano does seem a prime target). One defender, two midfielders and a striker have been targeted. You could create an endless list, and spend many hours speculating as to who these individuals will be, yet the former Porto Boss could save himself a lot of money by promoting youth. The successful primavera team was under the spotlight on these pages last week, and with the Scudetto seemingly sealed it is a perfect opportunity to throw some of these youngsters an opportunity.

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Young holding midfielder Francesco Bolzoni, an Italian Under-21 international, could be first in line having appeared on the bench on a number of occasions this season. His range of passing could be just what the club are missing in a midfield full of functionality. Patrick Vieira’s eternal injury woes could conceivably open up a slot for the young youth team product and open up a new method of attack for a team that has looked short of ideas in numerous matches. Now that many Inter fans’ focus is directed towards next season, the promotion of young home-grown players to a side that looks distinctly un-Italian would improve the distant connection between the paying public and the team.

League Table and Fixtures


Team

GP

W

D

L

GS

GA

GD

P

1.

Inter

30

22

6

2

55

21

34

72

2.

Juventus

30

19

6

5

54

26

28

63

3.

Milan

30

17

7

6

53

28

25

58

4.

Genoa

30

15

9

6

40

27

13

54

5.

Fiorentina

30

16

4

10

41

30

11

52

March 22 – Week 29 Inter 3-0 Reggina – Cambiasso (5), Ibrahimovic (10), Ibrahimovic (58)

April 5 – Week 30 Udinese 0-1 Inter – Isla OG (77)

April 11 – Week 31 Inter vs. Palermo

April 19 – Week 32 Juventus vs. Inter

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