During the entirety of the 2018/19 campaign, there was a feeling of dread that lingered around San Siro as Inter were plagued by inconsistent results and controversy. The Nerazzurri seemed to be continually fighting fires as both Mauro Icardi and Radja Nainggolan caused controversy, while boss Luciano Spalletti exacerbated the drama with his over-the-top lamentation of the circumstances he felt were holding him back.
As Spalletti left the club in the summer, his replacement – former Chelsea Coach Antonio Conte – entered, and in typical style demanded omnipotence as he set about a revolution from within. The aforementioned disruptive figures were unceremoniously booted out, as was anyone else who could not produce exactly what Conte wanted.
He may not always make friends with his tough approach, but the Inter supporters will not care what method Conte uses if he can mould his side into one that regularly wins matches.
The new man was also crystal clear about which players he wanted to bring in, and as usual, he ended up getting his way. Both Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez were captured from Manchester United as the new man looked to build a side that could truly challenge Juventus for the Serie A crown this season.
Indeed, Lukaku has already netted in both of Inter’s opening matches this season, and is set to pair up with Sanchez for the first time since the Chilean arrived late in the transfer window.
“Finally I’m working with Conte, a Coach who has wanted me for a long time,” revealed the Belgian striker to reporters after scoring in a 4-0 win over Scotland earlier in the week. “The Nerazzurri have a nice group, just like here in the national team. I scored a nice goal and we’re very dangerous on the counterattack.”
The theory that the striker has formed an immediate bond with the Coach who fought to bring him to the club was duly reinforced by Belgium boss Roberto Martinez, a man who knows him well from both his time at Everton and the national side.
“This is the first time I have seen him free and happy,” Martinez said in a Press conference before the Scotland match. “Going back to many camps I have not seen Rom so focused, so happy, so refreshed by the new challenge.I think he is now ready to face one of the biggest footballing chapters in his career with the Inter Milan move.
“His life is football, he just lives to score goals and to be effective for the national team and at club level.”
As Inter host an erratic Udinese at home this Saturday evening, there is absolutely no indication that this will be anything other than a routine win for Inter, as they continue to be instilled with Conte’s supreme confidence, and have their new number nine in sparkling form.
With Sanchez added into the mix, this could really be a special display from Inter, the former Premier League attacking duo having fired in a combined total of 199 goals in the English top flight since 2014/15.
Many may not remember that the Chilean number seven was actually discovered by Udinese as a 16-year-old, their former technical director Fabrizio Larini having a big hand in bringing him to Italy for just €2 million. Coached by Francesco Guidolin, Sanchez made a huge impression on the peninsula, his 12 goals in 2010/11 earning him a €37 million move to Barcelona the following summer.
His return to Serie A will be eagerly anticipated, and it will not be a surprise to see Alexis Sanchez on the scoresheet versus his former side on Saturday.