Could Antonio Conte replace Luciano Spalletti at Inter Milan?

Chloe Beresford by Chloe Beresford / 29 January 2019, 15:42

As Torino and Inter left the pitch following their clash on Sunday evening, the cameras picked up a familiar sight.

Nerazzurri boss Luciano Spalletti had his head in his hands following a truly disappointing defeat to Serie A’s 10th placed team, his body language as always there for all to see.

Still, Inter sit third in the table, five points above cross-city rivals AC Milan in fourth position and – although the side suffered a disappointing exit from the Champions League – still have all to play for in consolidating their league position, as well as key fixtures to come in the Coppa Italia and Europa League.

This may seem like an ideal scenario for some, but Inter have big plans for the future.

Owners Suning have put heir to their company fortune Steven Zhang in the position of Chairman, while moves to appoint Alessandro Antonello as CEO, and former Juventus transfer wizard Beppe Marotta as Sporting CEO are intelligent indeed.

It can be argued that Spalletti has achieved his brief in getting the club back in the Champions League, however the current inconsistency shown by Spalletti will not be tolerated by these high achievers for long.

Sure, there have been problems behind the scenes in that talented winger Ivan Perisic has handed in a transfer request, but all Coaches have issues to deal with, and the successful ones do not hide behind excuses.

The tactician changed from his usual back four to match Torino’s 3-5-2 ahead of last weekend’s encounter, a factor that predictably allowed the Granata to take the lead. Knowing how they play, it was inevitable that Walter Mazzarri’s side would then commit to resolute defending, refusing to allow Inter any way back.

“I changed the wingers with two strikers,” Spalletti admitted to reporters from Sky Italia after the match.

“I didn’t have many wingers at my disposal. Perisic is indisposed, we risked Matteo Politano at the end because he wasn’t well, while Keita is out.

“We made a different choice, based on physicality and not losing individual duels, so we could create chances for the front two. We got a couple of situations wrong, then when Toro clammed up after the goal, it became more difficult.”

After Sunday’s disappointment, Spalletti met with club officials on Monday night who reportedly issued an ultimatum.

In order to be kept on beyond the end of the season, the current boss must deliver a third place finish in addition to a trophy. Recent experience shows that the Tuscan Coach will struggle to achieve the necessary run of results to achieve this, leading to rumours that the experienced Marotta is already looking elsewhere.

It’s no shock that former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has been linked with the job, having worked with Marotta in his three consecutive title winning seasons at Juventus. Here is a man that could push Inter towards the kind of form that the owners demand, his ruthless approach unlikely to be affected by any lingering negativity from the reign of Spalletti.

If anyone could take Inter by the scruff of the neck and resolve the current problems, it’s Conte.

Never would you see him with his head in his hands on the touchline full of woe, rather he’d be boiling mad with rage and ready to ensure his players don’t repeat the same mistakes again.

Ultimately, Spalletti has taken the club as far as he can. His approach may not be the best, but he did at least return them to the Champions League after an absence that stretched back to the 2011/12 campaign. Yet we already know that Marotta works with an efficiency that will not allow the current man to remain without sufficient merit.

Just don’t be surprised if the man who replaces Luciano Spalletti is a candidate that Marotta already knows ticks all the boxes.

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