Inter Milan completed a deal to sign Sevilla play-maker Ever Banega this summer as manager Roberto Mancini looks to build a squad finally capable of challenging Juventus, Napoli and AS Roma in the Serie A title race.
Given Banega’s skill-set, it appears the Nerazzurri will be looking to play more direct to use their best qualities in attack rather than trying a patient style that would leave them frustrated.
Inter Milan scored just 50 goals in the league last season, and failed to get the most from a blossoming strike-force. Despite having the pace in the final third, Mancini’s men were at times suppressed, but that could all be coming to an end now they have a player capable of picking them out from any position on the pitch.
It’s worth noting Banega averaged more chances created per game last season than Luis Suarez, Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta too. The 28-year-old isn’t known for totting up a high amount of assists however, but he’ll be the man supplying as much of the ball as possible to the forwards.
Banega averaged a long pass every 10 minutes in La Liga for Sevilla last season, and his playing style will also be somewhat of a defence mechanism for Inter Milan given he’ll be able to start attacks without being drawn out of position.
Mancini tried a number of fluid formations last season, but didn’t have the creative personnel capable of unlocking defences on a consistent basis – Inter Milan’s leading assist-maker setting up just six goals in Serie A (2015/16).
It was a lot of work for players to make their own chances at times, with 26% of Inter’s goals in Serie A last season coming from dead-ball situations. A pragmatic outlook led to one of the lowest ‘goals for’ returns in their history too.
That could all change next season as Banega will be giving more of the ball to the players capable of harming opposition sides in areas where they can be the most-effective.
Inter’s pace up front should find more joy breaching the back-line too, provided the attackers can beat the offside trap, so Inter will always carry a threat.
Inter have been notably light in central midfield with the creative burden resting on Marcelo Brozovic’s shoulders, but will Benega’s influence yield an effective direct style? Time will tell…