Unimaginative Inter could have taken punt on Cassano
Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho has again lamented the lack of a playmaker* following Sunday’s 1-1 home draw with Bari in their Serie A opener.
Creativity was already a problem for the champions last season and now talented striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has left for Barcelona, it is difficult to see where inspiration is going to come from judging by their Super Cup defeat to Lazio and the Bari draw.
Samuel Eto’o is a goalpoacher while Dejan Stankovic, who occupies the role behind the front two, is a hard-working midfielder at best.
Mourinho has said the club is working to bring in a playmaker before the transfer window closes but with Deco too pricey at Chelsea and Wesley Sneijder looking happy to bide his time at Real Madrid, the options are limited.
But there is Sampdoria’s reformed wildchild Antonio Cassano. He has certainly matured in the last two years after annoying a slew of coaches with his behaviour and at the moment is undoubtedly the most talented Italian with the ball at his feet.
Reports linking Inter with Cassano have swirled for months and Mourinho is an admirer, although he cryptically said at the weekend that Cassano now played too far forward to be considered a playmaker and had blotted his copybook by daring to score against the champions last term.
Perhaps Inter are worried that a return to a big club will prompt Cassano’s childish side to re-emerge (which is probably why Marcello Lippi will not consider him for Italy).
But it is often worth taking a risk to find that bit of brilliance.
* Kevin and I have often wondered if there was better way of saying “playmaker”. “Man in the hole” is just a bit too weird. The Italians have a nice word — trequartista (three-quarter forward)
PHOTO: Plenty of space on the Inter bench. Jose Mourinho gestures before the start of the Serie A match against Bari at the San Siro, August 23, 2009. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo