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Know Thine Enemy: Atlético Madrid-Inter Milan Q&A with Serpents of Madonnina

We got the scoop on the San Siro side from Matthew Clark, the manager of SB Nation’s Inter Milan site.

FC Internazionale New Signing Lautaro Martinez Arrives In Milan
MILAN, ITALY - MAY 24: FC Internazionale new signing Lautaro Martinez arrives at Malpensa airport on May 24, 2018 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

It’s been a wild summer for both Milanese sides, but it seems Inter Milan have really roared back to life with some of these signings. How thrilling has this window been for nerazzurri supporters? (And how on Earth did you get Radja Nainggolan for so cheap?!)

As an Inter fan, I think this is one of the most exciting summer transfer windows we have experienced in a long time. Primary owners Suning, sporting director Piero Ausilio and manager Luciano Spalletti have been extremely smart in this window structuring loan-purchase deals that make sense. Getting Stefan De Vrij and Kwadwo Asamoah on free transfer as well as Lautaro Martínez, Šime Vrsaljko and Radja Nainggolan with the deals made were quite extraordinary. With the possibility of adding Keita Baldé in the coming weeks, the news keeps getting better for Nerazzurri fans.

(As for Nainggolan, I think a lot of that is due to timing with Roma and Spalletti.)

What do you hope Vrsaljko adds to the right flank?

I think Vrsaljko will add nice pace as well as an ability to move smartly with the ball. He is versatile and agile which is something Inter have needed in a right back for some time. Also, teaming him up with Croatian countrymen Ivan Perišić and Marcelo Brozović doesn’t hurt at all!

Do you hold out hope that Diego Simeone will make his way back to San Siro one day, and is it something you’ve really thought about?

Honestly, it isn’t something I have put a lot of thought into. Also, I would question if he would be a fit with the current system and setup under Spalletti. He was a great player to be sure and his coaching would add to any roster, but I don’t see a move back to Inter happening anytime soon.

Despite Inter’s high-profile additions, it doesn’t get much higher-profile than signing Cristiano Ronaldo like Juventus did. How confident are you that Inter can take part in a Serie A title race this season?

Ronaldo will just elevate the status of the entire league. In terms of competition, I have always held to the adage that one player does not a team make. Juventus will continue to be strong, but I don’t think they are unbeatable even with CR7. What Juventus did in one splash signing, Inter did over the course of the window. We didn’t spend a ton of money, but we got a lot of quality — and quality that will make an immediate impact on the field.

How close to a full-strength XI will we see from Spalletti, and where do you think Inter can trouble an Atlético Madrid side that is warming up for the UEFA Super Cup?

I think you will see Spalletti play a lot of different players as he tries to get some a closer look at the new players and give them more time playing together. With Inter’s defensive set, they can really put pressure on Atlético and force the issue on the counterattack. That said, Spalletti tends to use the preseason as a gauge of players rather than an attempt to get results.

Finally: scoreline prediction?

This one is difficult because of Inter’s approach to the preseason. I think a 2-2 tie or a 2-1 win for Inter is where I would go.