As we wave goodbye to 2018, and say hello to 2019, it is now time to list the 10 best performing transfers from the summer market – based on the impact each has provided to their respective clubs during the first half of the 2018-19 Serie A season. Continue reading
“It’s unfortunate that we lost, but we were the team that had the bigger chances during the game. But this is Juventus’s strength: we more than matched them, but they know how to fully capitalise on their opportunities. We didn’t manage to find the back of the net, however. We could have got a better result tonight, but we’ll try to take good heart from the good things we did tonight: on Tuesday evening, we have to win at San Siro in front of our fans, who are always fantastic.” Continue reading
Today, João Cancelo turns 24. He’s had quite a few birthdays, but this one feels special. After so many seasons in the spotlight, he’s no longer the hot-and-cold prospect who is as likely to pull a Cafu-esque marauding dribble as he is to give away a penalty in the final minute. Today, after returning from his second loan in four seasons, you get the sense that he is the finished product now. You get the sense that from now on, it’s only up from here.
After initial struggles during his Inter Milan loan spell this summer, Cancelo worked his way into the line-up, and eventually playing a key role in the Nerazzurri’s Champions League push this season.The Portuguese international forced the loan move in late August in order to get more playing time under his belt ahead of the World Cup. In addition, he refused to play as a right winger under new Valencia coach Marcelino García Toral, instead preferring to test himself out in his natural position of right back. With Geoffrey Kondogbia in need of a stable environment for playing time after a tumultuous time at Inter Milan, it seemed like it could be the perfect swap deal. Cancelo went to Inter, Kondogbia went to Valencia.
Marcelino as well as new Inter manager Luciano Spalletti performed miracles on both new loanees, despite the fact that neither of them made it into their countries’ respective World Cup squads. Kondogbia became a vital performer in Marcelino’s double pivot, while Cancelo has refined his defensive side under Spalletti, a sector of his game that was previously lacking. Valencia have wasted no time in exercising their €25million buyout option on the Frenchman, but Inter, on the other hand, remain reluctant to exercise their €35million option on Cancelo due to Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.
Spalletti has admitted Inter will struggle to sign the Valencia loanee as well as equally impressive Barcelona loanee Rafinha Alcântara due to FFP restrictions.
“Right now Rafinha and Cancelo can’t be signed outright, even if they did very well for Inter,” said Spalletti during a press conference on Thursday. “We’ll see later, but right now we can’t.”
€35million may seem like a rip-off for a right back, but if Inter fail to seal a permanent deal for Cancelo, another team will swoop in and offer Valencia even more money for him.
Manchester United, Juventus, and several other Premier League clubs are keen on the Portuguese talent, and it is clear they have the resources to pay just as much, if not more, for Cancelo. If Inter fail to act quickly, some other club will get the gem that Spalletti polished, and they may not even have to pay more than €35million. Whatever the case, Valencia will sell to the highest bidder, unless Inter pays up on the €35million option, which is set to expire on May 31.
Inter have struggled to find a long-term replacement for Javier Zanetti since the Argentine legend began his decline, but Cancelo has what it takes to become Inter’s starting right back for the next generation.
As Inter enter their first season in the Champions League since 2011/12, the Nerazzurri cannot afford to cut corners any longer. They must seek to improve and grow their squad, and it is likely that if Cancelo is not signed, Danilo D’Ambrosio will be his replacement, and that between him and Davide Santon, Inter will not feel the need to start a right back. This would be a horrendous decision for Inter’s present affairs and future; D’Ambrosio is a fine squad player, but that’s just what he is. He is not anywhere near as effective or as talented as Cancelo, and if Inter want to act like a Champions League-caliber club, they have to do what it takes to sign Champions League-caliber players.
If Inter want to successfully rebuild for the next generation, they must balance the books and exercise their permanent option on João Cancelo before the May deadline expires. If not, they’ll be allowing another European giant to capitalize on all the development Inter did for free; they’ll be allowing their long-term Zanetti replacement to escape from the palm of their hands.
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