Archive for the ‘Inter’ Category

Ibrahimovic To Barca?

July 17, 2009

The transfer season arms race at the top of Spanish football continues as today’s Gazetto Dell Sport and Marca indicate Inter striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be heading for FC Barcelona in a 42 million euro deal. Its reported that Barça President Joan Laporta and Inter Boss Massimo Moratti came to an understanding on the transfer during a meeting last night in Milan.

It is also being reported that Barca striker Sammy Eto’o may be heading to Inter as part of the deal to acquire the the 27 year-old Swede Ibrahimovic, who is currently in Los Angeles training with his Inter teammates.

Ibrahimovic, who scored 25 goals last season for the Italian champions, would add to the Spanish and European champion’s already potent offense and make an ideal striker to play off the world’s best supporting striker in Lionel Messi.

There remains a chance that Chelsea could still swoop in make a grab for Ibrahimovic and even Moratti admitted on Sky Italia last night that , “We need to wait to see what the player wants.”

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Lavezzi: Not Going Anywhere

December 2, 2008

Napoli’s Argentine wunderkind Ezequiel Lavezzi is a man in demand these days. The spark he brought to newly promoted Napoli last year kept them in the upper half of the table and this year, along with fellow countryman German Denis and a host of others, has Napoli up to fourth place in Serie A.

“El Pocho” is often compared to Argentina legend (and current national coach) Diego Maradona but he has a style all his own. Lavezzi has blazing speed and technique but his uncanny abilty to change speed and direction (on or off the ball) makes him a danger to any defense. The list of defenders he has faked out of their jock strap this year alone is long and distinguished.

Almost on cue, deep pocketed Chelsea has taken a shine to the Napoli ace but last night he told the Italian press he is not interested. “I am happy at Napoli,” he said. “I like the city of Naples and the team so I’ll stay here – it’s better than going to England.” Not the kind of thing feedback Permiership clubs are used to receiving.

But now Inter president Massimo Moratti is talking about trying to pry him loose from Napoli, a club which can always use the money but one which also values pride and loyalty above all. They’ve been eyeing him along with Chelsea’s Didier Drogba but that deal is looking less likely so their focus is now on Lavezzi. Regardless of Napoli’s statements that he is not for sale, we can expect to see lots of leaks from Inter to the Gazetta Dello Sport with outlandishly high offers for Lavezzi, all in an attempt to put pressure on the Napoli board.

Given his huge impact on the team, his cult hero status in the city, and the throngs of fans who show up every night at Castel Volturno just to get a look at El Pocho, its hard to think of any offer high enough to convince the club to sell.

Mourinho Starts House Cleaning At Inter

November 13, 2008

Its just eleven weeks into the Serie A season and league leaders Inter Milan are already to clean house. Jose Mourinho’s side is one of eight teams within striking distance of the top spot in what is so far one of the most competitive Scudetto races in many years.

While there has been recent talk of Argentine striker Julio Cruz wanting to leave in January, last night Mourinho announced four players he wants to put on the auction block as well; strikers Hernan Crespo and Ribeiro Adriano, and midfielders Luis Jimenez and Oliver Dacourt. All four have been either injury plagued or have fallen out of favor with the Inter boss over the course of the young season. While Mourinho still seems to be pining for Chelsea’s red hot Florent Malouda, it appears the special one is looking at nothing short of a complete overhaul of his team’s attacking options.

Lazio had sought the services of Crespo last summer and may still be interested in January. That said, Major League Soccer should give serious consideration to signing the 33 year-old Argentine. If not Crespo, then Adriano (who would otherwise be heading back to a Brazilian club) may be a viable option for MLS.

It also appears that central defender Walter Samuel, who has been out for months with a knee injury, may also have a tough time working his way back into the fold. If Samuel ends up on the departure list for January, I’ve still got to wonder if Mourinho may have his eye on Standard Liege’s American defender Oguchi Onyewu. He was sold on Gooch during his last season at Chelsea, when he asked the board to acquire him so its not too much of a stretch given that Mourinho tends to go after the same players, regardless of where he is coaching. Gooch has reportedly been focused on a move to England but if interest came from a big club like Inter, you just never know.

Champion’s League: Night of The Greeks

November 5, 2008

Two Greek teams surprised everyone last night scoring a combined six goals and picking up four points from stiff competition. Werder Bremen fell to Panathinaikos 3-0 while Inter Milan, down 3-2 to Anorthosis well into the match, managed to salvage a point and finish 3-3.

OK, so I blew the call on the Inter-Anonthosis match but I think keepers Julio Cesar (Inter) and Arian Begaj (Anorthosis) combined for one of the most noteworthy goalkeeping displays we’ve seen this year.

Check out a few of their great saves here:

As for Roma putting three past Chelsea, that too was a real surprise, especially given the giallorossi’s league form lately. Roma looked more confident than normal while Chelsea looked tired from the early going (the muggy weather in Rome pobably didn;t help). Now if Roma could just play consistently on the road (a problem the past few years), they could make a run for the Scudetto (and perhaps more). I’m not holding my breath.

And the rest of the scores:

CFR Cluj 1-2 Bordeaux
Roma 3-1 Chelsea
Anorthosis 3-3 Internazionale
Bremen 0-3 Panathinaikos
Sporting 1-0 Shakhtar
Barcelona 1-1 Basel
Liverpool 1-1 Atlético
Marseille 3-0 PSV

Full highlights on the night here:

Suazo Linked To Roma

August 3, 2008

David Suazo, arguably the most dangerous striker in CONCACAF, has been linked to AS Roma. The Honduran’s agent, Giovanni Branchini, mentioned yesterday that a move from Inter to Roma was “possible.”

New Inter boss Jose Mourinho is in the middle of a house cleaning in which he has his eyes on a few of his old Chelsea players, but the club must unload some talent to make room for any new signings. At the same time, injuries to several key defensive players also has the nerazzurri looking for a stop-gap option in central defense.

Suazo, who scored 95 goals in eight seasons at Cagliari, has seen limited playing time since coming to Inter in 2007, scoring only 8 last season in 27 mostly substitute appearances. Meanwhile, Roma are in the market for a striker and reports out of the Eternal City indicate Luciano Spalletti has his eyes on Suazo.

Suazo reportedly prefers to stay at Inter but if the “Special One” puts him on the auction block, he could do worse than a stint at Stadio Olimpico.
UPDATE: As of Monday morning, La Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting that Bologna is also interested in acquiring Suazo.

Is Onyewu The Answer To Inter’s Defensive Woes?

July 31, 2008

I recall during the 2006 World Cup when a colleague from La Stampa turned to me and called Oguchi Onyewu, the “American Materazzi.” Of course this was well before Materazzi’s incident with Zinedine Zidane during the World Cup final so there was no doubt he meant it as a compliment to the American player curently with Standard Liege. Two years later, I wonder if the fates of Materazzi and Onyewu may now somehow be connected.

Jose Mourinho has taken the reins of a powerful Inter Milan side which now finds itself in a defensive emergency just three weeks before the start of the Serie A season. Recent injuries to defenders Marco Materazzi and Christian Chivu have left the Nerazzurri with some big holes in central defense as they look to defend the Scudetto for yet another year. This has led Inter’s president Massimo Morratti to back onto the transfer market looking for a solution.

The loss of the soon to be 35 year-old Materazzi is a particularly hard blow given his strong physical presence in the middle, which is hard to replace at this stage. There was some talk in Milan of an interest in bringing in Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvahlo, who played for Mourinho at both Porto and Stamford Bridge. This may not be so easy since the failure to seal a deal on Frank Lampard may have soured both sides soured on any further negotiations right now.

When you look at the transfer pool at this late stage, there is not much depth in the available central defenders. This makes me wonder if Mourinho may look to acquire Oguchi Onyewu not only as an early season stand-in but as a player to take on Materazzi’s role in the future or better yet, to give him a sturdy physical partner to replace the often ailing Chivu. The new Inter boss had been keen to sign Onyewu in January 2007 during his last season at Chelsea but was not able to convince his club to spend the money at the time. Having been sold on him once before, could Mourinho now decide that the “American Materazzi” is at least a short term answer to Inter’s defensive woes?
At the same time, if Chelsea did sell Carvahlo to Inter, could this open an opportunity for Onyewu at Stamford Bridge and give Gooch the Premiership break he has been looking for? Is Gooch even ready for either club?
All speculation aside, the Bundesliga’s FC Cologne remains among the most interested in acquiring Onyewu for the 2008-2009 season. With 30 days left in the transfer period, only time (and money) will tell where he ends up.