It had been a poorly kept secret, but on July 1st, Inter announced what many knew already; that they had captured the signing of Diego Godin on a free transfer from Atletico Madrid. Of course, this represents a big coup for the Nerazzurri in terms of their squad, as new boss Antonio Conte will surely look to change the formation to his preferred 3-5-2.
Inter can now boast a central defensive trio of immense quality, Godin now slotting into the backline alongside Milan Skriniar and Stefan De Vrij. With Conte at the helm and presumably more signings on the way, the Milanese giants will surely be looking to challenge Juventus for the Serie A title, taking a huge step forward from barely qualifying for the Champions League as has been the case in the last two seasons.
“Antonio Conte values the squad,” Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio told La Gazzetta dello Sport recently. “He calls me 10 times a day to ask for updates. We won’t do names: we’ll sign three or four players, going for quality over quantity. We’re at work, but at this stage it makes little sense to talk about names.”
What the signing of Godin, the removal of the erratic Luciano Spalletti to make way for the appointment of Conte and the comments from Ausilio show, is that Inter are moving on from the mistakes of the past. On too many occasions have Inter spent way over the odds on mediocre players, for example when they wasted €28 million on Gabriel “Gabigol” Barbosa in August 2016 and a fee thought to be in the region of €25 million for fullback Dalbert a year later.
Godin represents a new, more sensible era for the Nerazzurri. The driving force behind such a change is new CEO for sport Beppe Marotta, the man who is ultimately in charge of all the moves on the transfer market, as well as the hiring and firing of the Coach. Having made the short journey across to Milan from Turin – where he spent eight highly successful years with Juventus – the executive has been handed the task of putting Inter back where they belong.
Now Juve are the ones who have made a fresh start by parting company with Max Allegri, a man who won five consecutive league titles with the Bianconeri. The appointment of Maurizio Sarri in his place will surely see the all-conquering side go through a period of transition, one that Inter must be ready to take advantage of.
“I create expectations,” Conte declared in an interview with GQ on June 11. “When I embark on a new adventure, the club expect a lot from me.”
The Coach, who worked with Marotta during his time at Juve, also went on to describe what it means for Inter to have captured the director’s signature.
“Marotta helped. He was the confirmation of the impression I had from afar. Marotta is a director who has won a lot. If you go for him as soon he leaves Juve, it means you have very serious intentions and leave no stone unturned to climb to the top.
“Let’s face it: apart from rare exceptions, it’s been eight seasons that they [Inter] haven’t fought for the Scudetto. Inter want to change that. The way they’re moving shows their willingness to compete.”
The capture of Diego Godin is just one more example of the direction in which they are moving; and that is towards the very top of Serie A.