It seems like over the last few years, reunions are all the rage. Not only are bands doing it (thank you eternally, Steps, you made my life) but if you look at the buzz in the press, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston could be about to break the internet with their reunion - and that’s before we even start talking about the Friends one that’s in the pipeline. It’s like putting on an old, comfy pair of socks. You know what you’re getting and in these cases, you’re going to make a ton of money too.
Reunions are so trendy at the minute that Antonio Conte has decided to have one of his own. He seems to be on a one-man mission to get ex-Premier League stars together in his Inter Milan side, as he fights Juventus for the Scudetto. In the summer, it was Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.
Mixed fortunes for those two, with Lukaku shining like the brightest star in the sky - don’t forget Conte was desperate for Lukaku at Chelsea and ended up with Morata (and he must wonder how different things could have been) and Alexis has done well when he’s played. Of course, the former Manchester United man has struggled with injury but he's impressed Inter and the board so much so that they want to make the deal permanent.
Manchester United meanwhile have striking issues so bad Ole himself may think about putting his boots back on, yet they can’t recall Alexis after failing to put a recall clause in the year-long loan contract. Either that, or Alexis has flushed his phone down the toilet and is in a bunker with his beloved dogs, hiding from any threat of the nightmare of Manchester returning and United are just trying to save face.
Inter have done well in the first half of the season but Champions League failings promoted Conte to moan about his squad, and this winter, they’re going all out. Well, in the Premier League at least. Victor Moses and Ashley Young are about to become the most prolific wing-backs in the world, and make Trent and Robertson look like child’s play by the time they’re finished in Serie A - or so Conte hopes, and in Serie A, don’t bank against them at least showing an old dog can learn some new tricks.
Christian Eriksen finally got his move away from Tottenham Hotspur yesterday, signing for Inter for a fee of about £16.9m, staying with the Italian outfit until 2024.
So why is Conte so obsessed with bringing players who have come to the end of their time in England, for varying reasons, to the club? Well, you stick to what you know, and you look at players you think will add to your side. At Chelsea, Conte’s use of wingbacks was a key reason they won the title and Victor Moses had the best season of his career. It’s not a stretch to think he’ll be even better in Serie A, far less pacey than the Premier League, and Ashley Young could well find a new lease of life.
The contract for Young is six months with the option to extend for another year, and you’d back the player to get that extension. Conte knows what he wants in a wing-back, and after watching Chris Smalling shine in Rome, Young has clearly decided he wants a piece of that too. Add to the fact Conte is a tactical master and is a huge lure to work under - unlike Ole ‘we’re going places because Man City played a full team’ Gunnar Solskjaer, and it makes a huge amount of sense.
The move for Eriksen is a good one for both parties as well. Imagine someone with that vision and you’d assume a work rate and motivation we’ve not seen for Eriksen in six months - assisting the likes of Lukaku in Serie A. It’s a no-brainer. From Eriksen’s point of view, this is his last big contract and actually, Inter have a great chance of winning trophies under Conte. The title is a huge possibility this season, as is the Europa League.
It’s easy to mock names like Victor Moses and Ashley Young, especially considering neither are spring chickens, but bringing a bit of experience to the side, especially title-winning experience, is invaluable, and players can find a new lease of life in Italy due to the way the game is different from the Premier League.
It would be nice to see Juventus finally knocked off their title-winning perch, and Conte does love to win a title in his first season, so they’re my bet to kick on with new signings and do it. Of course, if we’re being honest, I’d much rather see Brad and Jen reunite, but if we’re being realistic, a Scudetto for Conte will have to do.