Building on the foundations of Mazzarri's team

Posted by Mike Whittaker

Valerio Pennicino/Getty ImagesRiccardo Alvarez: Either play him, or cash in on him.

In the previous article we looked at the current Inter players that new coach Walter Mazzarri will be relying on to form the basis of his team next season. This article expands on the topic and discusses which of the remaining players still have a role to play within the team.

Andrea Ranocchia
When Ranocchia arrived at Inter back in 2011, from Genoa, he had been dubbed as the next great Italian defender. Unfortunately in the following season and a half he failed to show much sign of the promised potential. This season started very well for the young Italian however, and he was even considered one of the strongest defenders in Serie A until the winter break, but 2013 has seen his form slip once again. This has left me, and many others, wondering whether the player I had considered to possibly become the next great Inter captain is actually worth keeping at the club. Now with both Juventus and Manchester United reportedly interested in the player he has obviously done enough to make them think he's worth the risk, but to be honest, I'm yet to be totally convinced. The question is whether the club are willing to give him any more time to prove himself, or is the writing on the wall for Ranocchia's Inter career, especially with the imminent return of the Nerazzurri youth product Marco Andreolli from Chievo.

Ricky Alvarez
Alvarez is one of those players that seem to be constantly criticised by the Inter fans and in 2013 he certainly wasn't one of the club's top performers. His biggest problem during his time at Inter has been the same issue that befell Phillipe Coutinho, lack of time on the pitch. To perform at his best, Alvarez needs to be playing week in and week out otherwise it seems to me his playing becomes rusty. We saw the same thing last season when Andrea Stramaccioni arrived and started to play Ricky regularly, he became a good player and an asset to the club. Will Mazzarri allow Alvarez a consistent spot in his starting 11 though? If not then Inter should cash in on him and allow him to leave, possibly as part of the rumoured deal to bring the defensive midfielder Fernando to the club from Porto.

Esteban Cambiasso
Along with Javier Zanetti and Diego Milito, 'Cuchu' is the only other 'senator' within the Inter squad that still has something to offer the club. On the pitch this season we have witnessed Cambiasso's abilities decline, compared to what we have seen in previous seasons, but even if Mazzarri feels he isn't in a position to be a regular starter, Cambiasso is an important player to have in the changing room with his leadership and motivational skills, as well as providing the coach with an experienced back-up player for his midfield.

Walter Gargano
Like Matias Silvestre, Gargano's loan deal is also subject to a gentleman's agreement to purchase the player this summer, meaning that he is likely to be part of the squad next season. I'm not particularly happy with this as he failed to impress during his loan spell, but luckily it seems Mazzarri has no intention of making his ex-Napoli player a regular fixture in his Inter team. Instead the Uruguayan defensive midfielder is likely to spend the season warming the Nerazzurri bench.

Fredy Guarin
I'm a fan of Guarin's passion and power on the pitch, and believe he has an important role to play in the team. The main reason he wasn't included in the previous article as one of the foundation players is because of his inconsistency on the pitch. Also, his ambitious long shots from outside the area are another cause for concern as these often bring an end to promising attacks. Guarin is important to the team, but he is better suited to be impact substitute. That being said, with a number of clubs allegedly interested in the player, I wouldn't be upset if Inter made a profit on him by selling for around €15 million.

Antonio Cassano
No one can deny that Cassano is a talented forward and could be a useful member of Mazzarri's squad, but this can often be overshadowed by his infamous attitude. As to whether Mazzarri will see Cassano as part of his regular starting 11, I'm not sure. Personally, for all his genius on the pitch I only see him as a second string player considering his age and past health problems. If he doesn't get consistent time on the pitch he may start to cause trouble for his coach and the team in general, so with all this in mind, Inter should seriously look into the possibility of selling the squad's loose cannon, regardless of how talented he is on the pitch.

Samuele Longo
Longo didn't have the best experience out on loan with Espanyol this season, but the youngster can still play a part in Inter's squad in the future. Expectations are high following the young striker's great performances in the Inter Primavera Next gen winning squad last season, but Longo is still a work in progress. Competing for a place in the team with the likes of Milito, Mauro Icardi and Rodrigo Palacio, would bring huge pressure to the inexperienced striker, and with Mazzarri not being renowned for his youth development skills I wouldn't be surprised to see Longo out on loan once again for the 2013/14 season. There have already been rumours that newly-promoted Hellas Verona are interested in loaning him for the upcoming season. They would be the ideal team for him to gain important Serie A experience and help him grow into a player that can stake his claim for a starting spot in the 2014/15 Inter squad.

Marco Benassi
In his few appearances under Stramaccioni, Benassi has shown some great potential, with a keen eye for a pass and good shooting ability for a midfielder. However, I cannot see Mazzarri having plans to use him as part of his regular starting 11, so the youngster is likely to spend another season on the bench providing a quality substitute for the midfield. Hopefully he will be given ample opportunity to play, but at only 18-years-old there will be plenty of time for him to become a regular fixture in the team.

Joel Obi and Ibrahima Mbaye
Finally, Obi and Mbaye. Both should be part of the Inter team, but my one concern is that I can't really see how either of them fit into Mazzarri's tactics. Obviously, the team needs players to fill up the substitutes bench, but even those players need to play occasionally in the formation and style that the coach sets. This may lead to both these youngsters having to spend a season or two on loan, to help them grow and become more adaptable.

The remaining players and 'Senators'
Players not mentioned in this or the previous article should be offloaded by the club as soon as possible, either to be replaced or just to bring in transfer funds to the club. This even includes recent additions to the squad like Ezequiel Schelotto, Alvaro Pereira and Zdravko Kuzmanovic, who have failed to impress during their time at Inter.

The last remaining veteran 'senators'; Dejan Stankovic, Walter Samuel and Cristian Chivu should also be allowed to leave this summer. They will always be appreciated, but it is now time for them to move on or to hang up their boots. I could be sentimental and say that they should stay if only for their experience, but being sentimental with the older players is one of the things that put the club in the position that they find themselves in now.

These changes to the current squad, alongside the new additions due to join the club this summer, should give Mazzarri a team capable of competing in Serie A next season and achieving a return to Champions League football in the following season.

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