The seeds of discontent had been brewing for some time. Whispers regarding how to take Inter forward. That boiled over on Monday when it was announced Roberto Mancini had left the Nerazzurri “by mutual agreement.”
A big sign came earlier in the day as the team trained without the boss, a sure-fire sign amid the chatter that an exit was near. Mancini had only returned to the club in November 2014 and last season had the Nerazzurri at the top of Serie A before Christmas. They would fall away to miss the Champions League.
Inter, hungry to return to that competition, has been busy on the transfer front. Ever Banega, Cristian Ansaldi and most recently, Antonio Candreva, headline the summer additions. They have kept the majority of their usual team from last season, but there still appeared a separation of ideas between coach and club as to how to further progress.
Taken over by new Chinese owners from the Suning Group, their plan is for a long-term Inter. Signing promising players and seeing them develop. Mancini was also thinking shorter term and was interested in the likes of Yaya Toure. Players he feel could help Inter here and now as they look to throw Juventus from their throne.
Less than two weeks from the start of the season, it is hardly an ideal move. But after only one win in seven pre-season matches – including a 6-1 drubbing against Tottenham – there were some concerns. The whole scenario is a throwback to the days of ‘Pazza Inter’ – Crazy Inter – in the 1990s.
Now, the question is who comes in and what he can be expected to do at this point. Dutchman Frank de Boer is the clear favourite and could be announced as early as Tuesday. President Erick Thohir hopes to do so as soon as possible. The Ajax boss has not coached outside his home nation and with such little time to work with the team before the opening round trip to Chievo, it is a huge gamble for the new owners to take. It puts the onus on experienced players, like Samir Handanovic, Joao Miranda and Gary Medel, as well as captain Mauro Icardi, to lead by example.
Mancini took time to thank the club and fans for support, wishing Inter “a future full of achievements and important sports results.” But this move serves to put their campaign in some jeopardy before it has commenced. How will Inter respond to this ill-timed change?