Inter’s season went haywire weeks before the pandemic stopped the game on a temporary basis, seeing leading online bookmakers like allvideoslots.com move them out to third favourites for the Serie A title. The loss to Lazio probably peaked it and it was confirmed by the time Juventus beat them in the last game before the lockdown. This has happened despite the club making January signings and filling some gaps. But it comes down to signing the right players and not stop-gap options.
Antonio Conte managed to sign multiple players for the wing-back positions this season. Cristiano Biraghi came from Fiorentina, while Valentino Lazaro came from Hertha Berlin. In January, the nerazzurri signed Ashley Young and Victor Moses. While Young has become a regular down the left or the right, Lazaro has been loaned out to Newcastle and Moses has played just 107 Serie A minutes. Biraghi has been a regular over Kwadwo Asamoah but he’s been far from impressive.
The idea to bring Young in was to add a wing-back who can cross the ball. For Moses, it was to add attacking quality on the flank, considering Moses had become the regular in that position for Conte at Chelsea. But with Joao Cancelo being linked, he will be perfect for what Conte wants.
Cancelo is a former Inter player himself. During his loan spell from Valencia in the 2017-18 season, the Portugal international had impressed while picking up four goal contributions in 26 appearances. He had completed 1.7 dribbles per game, also coming up with 1.3 key passes per game. He had become a creative spark- especially in the second half of the season under Luciano Spalletti.
His attacking intent was key for Juventus last season. He scored once and assisted thrice, often playing either as the wing-back or as a winger under Massimiliano Allegri. He completed as many as 2.4 dribbles per game, coming up with 1.4 key passes per game too.
At Manchester City, he hasn’t been a regular. A lot of it has been down to how he isn’t quite suited to Pep Guardiola’s system yet. The system requires structural knowledge that takes a while to come in players. There is every chance he becomes a key player, considering how he is adept in the final third.
Conte wants exactly that in a full-back. Young got himself an assist in his first cross for Inter against Cagliari, setting up Lautaro Martinez. Cancelo brings a similar trait to the table, adding creativity and more goals to the team.
The 3-5-2 system relies heavily on service from wing-backs. That is one reason for Antonio Candreva’s abilities have come to the fore in a fine way. The former Lazio man has contributed to ten goals in all competitions, showing how his career has been revived under Conte. It shows that any wing-back who likes to attack and is at the Inter level will thrive in the Conte system.
Having three at the back and an anchor-man helps the wing-backs to push forward. The front two of Lautaro and Romelu Lukaku rely heavily on passes from wide, meaning the onus on the wide players is huge. And that is why Conte wanted to sign Young, Moses, Lazaro and Biraghi to add depth to the team.
Moses’ deal is an option to buy, while Biraghi is on loan. This shows that they were stop-gap alternatives to fill the holes. Cancelo though, would be the long-term option and would thrive in Conte’s system. He’s already been at the club and did well in that stint under Spalletti. This move would make sense on many levels.