Inter's risk in stalling contract talks

Posted by David Wilson

Marco Luzzani/Getty ImagesSigning Javier Zanetti for another year is crucial for Inter.

Various media outlets in Italy have reported that new Inter president Erick Thohir has halted contract negotiations with all players until February or March of next year.

The theory behind this move is that it will give Thohir time to properly assess the Inter squad before opening talks on new contracts. The problem with that philosophy is that Thohir is not going to be making those decisions (at least I hope he is not). Those decisions should be made by the Sporting Director Piero Ausilio and Technical Director Marco Branca. Ausilo and Branca should have an idea already which players they want to offer new deals too.

According to Transfermarket.co.uk, Inter have 10 players they need to make a decision on in the next six months. They are:

•Wallace (value 6.5 million euros)
•Esteban Cambiasso (6.2 million euros)
•Rolando (5.7 million euros)(Inter has buying option)
•McDonald Mariga (3.3 million euros)
•Diego Milito (2.6 million euros)
•Cristian Chivu (1.8 million euros)
•Gaby Mudingayi (1.8 million euros)
•Walter Samuel (1.3 million euros)
•Javier Zanetti (875,000 euros)
•Luca Castellazzi 175,000 euros)

So which of these 10 players should Inter try and sign to new deals and who should they let leave on Bosman transfers?

Wallace

The young defender is on a season-long loan from Chelsea, but he has not made an impact, making only three appearances as a substitute for a total of 40 minutes.

Recommendation: Unless something dramatic happens in the second half of the season, Inter should let Wallace return to Stamford Bridge when the season is over.

Esteban Cambiasso

Signing Cambiassio to a new deal should be the priority of the new regime. The veteran has been Inter's best midfield player this season according to Opta with a score of 7.57.

He is the heart of Inter's midfield, where he is tied for the team lead with 3.6 tackles per game, and is one of Inter's best passers with an 81.6% passing accuracy.

The knock on Cambiasso is that he will be 34 when next season starts and is one of Inter's highest paid players at 4 million euros net a year. Despite that he is still one of Inter's most valuable players and would be difficult to replace.

Recommendation: Sign Cambiasso to a rolling 12-month contract similar to what Inter will do with Javier Zanetti, but at a discount to his current 4 million euros wages.

Rolando

Inter has an option at the end of the season to sign the Napoli defender on a permanent deal. Rolando is one of Inter's lowest paid players at around 1.2 million euros net per year. He is purely a back-up defender, who plays when the likes of Campagnaro or Ranocchia are injured or need a rest.

Recommendation: Every team needs a squad player like Rolando who can come in and cover for a starter. If he can be signed for the same wages I would bring him back.

McDonald Mariga

Never really fitted in at Inter and he will not be wearing an Inter shirt next season.

Recommendation: Bosman

Diego Milito

Diego Milito is reportedly heading back to Argentina at the end of the season to finish out his career.

Recommendation: Let the Inter legend leave on a Bosman

Cristian Chivu

Inter tried to let Chivu leave last season, but the player refused a move to Turkey, and has spent this season watching from the stands while he recovers from a foot injury. At 2.1 million euros net, Chivu is too expensive for Inter at that price.

Recommendation: Bosman

Gaby Mudingayi

The 32-year-old midfielder has yet to play for Inter this season as he recovers from an Achilles injury that he picked up in January. With the young talent Inter have in midfield, I cannot see Mudingayi breaking into Walter Mazzarri's rotation.

Recommendation: Bosman

Walter Samuel

The veteran defender's season has been marred by injuries, limiting him to only 217 minutes this season. When he has played, Samuel adds a physical presence to the Inter back three, and his tackles, interceptions and clearances are amongst the best on the team.

At 35-years-old Samuel's best years are behind him, but he has shown this season that he can still play at a top level in Serie A, albeit in fewer games.

Recommendation: Inter needs Samuel's veteran leadership and if Inter can bring him back for another season at a discount to his current 2 million euros net wages, they should do that.

Javier Zanetti

Recommendation: Bring the captain back for another year.

Luca Castellazzi

The 38-year-old goalkeeper has never shown that he can fill in as Inter's No. 1 if one of the goalkeepers ahead of him gets injured.

Recommendation: Bosman

So Inter should focus on signing Cambiasso, Rolando, Zanetti and Samuel to contract extensions.

The risk that Inter are taking by not actively negotiating with these players until the spring is that come Jan. 1 they are free to talk to other teams outside of Italy. If Inter wait until spring, will they be able to sign these players to new deals before they leave on Bosmans at the end of the season?

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