The Nerazzurri President may have talked tongue-in-cheek about signing Lionel Messi in 2013 but for the here and now, it looks like the European Champions will have to offload one or two players if they are to bring in new additions in January. Meanwhile, Ballon d’Or candidate Wesley Sneijder is on the verge of signing a new contract and new starlet Philippe Coutinho is settling in well.
As much as Mr Moratti likes to crack the odd joke, he seems deadly serious when it comes to his club’s finances and for this reason he is determined to dispense with some of the dead weight before making any alterations in the January transfer window.“I don’t know if we will do something. We are looking around, but to buy we must sell. We will see if we are able to do both of these things”, he said earlier this week. This will provoke mixed feelings from Rafael Benitez who has made no secret of his desire to strengthen his squad as soon as practicable and although he will not be harbouring thoughts of signing Lionel Messi, there have been many ‘lesser’ names bounded about that would provide adequate cover for his squad. The players that may have to make way may seem obvious but it is not always as clear cut as it may seem: David Suazo, Mancini and Sulley Muntari are the first names one may predict will be leaving the Nerazzurri, albeit Muntari’s case may be somewhat different. The player appears determined to get back in the manager’s good books, as he himself has recently stated in an interview, thus rendering the whole decision-making process on the forthcoming departures rather more complicated.
One man who is going nowhere is Wesley Sneijder. He is on the brink of signing a new contract with the Nerazzurri that will keep him in Milan until 2015, netting him in the process a cool five million euros, according to La Gazzetta. On Sky Italia, President Moratti expressed confidence about Sneijder’s chances of extending his contract and confirmed fruitful negotiations are currently afoot.The Dutchman has always talked of his love for Inter and his fondness of Italy and Milan and has at last put an end to the farcical rumours that have been circulating in recent weeks, especially in the English press. Sneijder has had ammunition to haggle over his new contract, as he is strongly tipped to win the Ballon d’Or, which takes place in Zurich on January 10th. Last season saw him win a historic treble with Jose Mourinho’s Nerazzurri, as well as coming close to winning the World Cup final with Holland in South Africa. His sublime skills, ability to find space for himself and others, mixed with his endless array of precision passes and wonderfully-crafted set pieces all put him in prime position to claim the honour. One of his biggest fans is playing in the same team as him and comes in the form of new Inter wonder-kid, Philippe Coutinho. He is backing his friend and idol to win the prestigious honour and has been singing his praises to Il Corriere dello Sport by describing Sneijder as a role model and a source of inspiration.
Philippe Coutinho himself is also turning heads at the Giuseppe Meazza as his recent performances have seen him burst onto the scene as one of Europe’s hottest new properties. He has been enjoying his football after playing 11 times for Rafael Benitez so far and in the same conversation with Il Corriere dello Sport enthused about his manager’s talent without omitting a reference to his growing affection for Milan and Italian food.“Benitez helps me. He gives me advice. It’s important because this way he can teach me the role and the jobs I have to carry out on the pitch better. I am missing a goal, but it will come. It would give me greater confidence”. He is aware of being on still fundamentally unfamiliar ground in his new club, and, although the city of Milan has definitely made a good impression on him, he has yet to know his way about, as it were. Nonetheless, this did not stop him from finding his way to many a savoury pasta al ragu’, which he apparently adores. While this may clearly indicate that the player is finding his feet in a new context, there is little doubt everyone who follows the Nerazzurri will instead be hoping he will find his feet and his way around in front of goal too this very Sunday against Genoa.