After a last day comeback victory against Lazio in Serie A, Inter can once again call themselves a Champions League side.
Down 2-1 at the Stadio Olimpico with 12 minutes to play, I Nerazzurri won a penalty. Captain Mauro Icardi levelled with the spot-kick and Matias Vecino went on to score the crucial winner.
It was a goal that tied Inter with their opponents on 72 points, and more importantly – put them at the top in the head-to-head standings. After ten nerve-jangling minutes, the black and blue of Milan secured 4th in the table.
As a new season draws near, the 2018/19 Serie A awaits. Even with coach Luciano Spalletti adding reinforcements such as Radja Nainggolan and Kwadwo Asamoah, Inter’s now extended schedule will call for extreme squad depth.
If they are to challenge Juventus and Napoli for the Scudetto, a strong rotation is vital – good thing Inter have talent in abundance. Here are five youngsters who could make their first team breakthrough in 2018/19.
1. Xian Emmers
Son of Belgian international Marc, Xian Emmers looks to live up to his father’s name by playing in two World Cups with his nation. The young midfielder has some way to go, but he’s making the right strides.
Since his transfer from Genk in 2015, the 19-year-old has progressed through the Primavera sides. Starting against Chelsea in the ICC, Emmers showed plenty to build on with some great passages of play.
Talking to InterTV after a pre-season win against his hometown team Lugano of Switzerland, Emmers spoke about the match and his new role in defensive midfield, saying: “It is the first match and it went well as we won 3-0. The most important thing is to get into the rhythm ahead of the upcoming matches.
“I struggled a bit in the beginning but then it went much better. I will do whatever the coach asks me to do.
A youthful player with bags of potential, it should be interesting to see how many first team appearances Emmers makes this season.
2. Ryan Nolan
The story of Limerick-born Ryan Nolan is without doubt an interesting one. Spending the last two years with Inter, the centre-back made his first team debut against Lugano in last month’s friendly.
Fluent in Italian, the Irishman played 18 times in last term’s Primavera 1 championship run. Moving to Spain at the age of eight, Nolan represented Murcia based side Torre Pacheco in his early career.
Speaking in an exclusive ‘Let Me Introduce’ feature with InterTV, the defender explained his move to Milan: “Coming to Italy was very important to me because I knew I had to improve defensively, as that’s my position.
“In Italy, you learn a lot about tactics and defending. I only wanted to join Inter. Then one day my agent called me to say the club wanted me.
“I said yes to Casiraghi immediately before I’d even called my parents. I called my mum and dad straight after that and I was delighted.”
Following in the footsteps of previous Irish greats like Robbie Keane and Liam Brady, Nolan becomes the third of his countrymen to play at Inter. Already joining first team training sessions, his career path could mature into a compelling tale.
3. Eddy Salcedo
Born in Genoa to Colombian parents, young Eddy Salcedo is Inter’s newest starlet. Arriving into the world on October 1st 2001, the now 16-year-old made his Serie A debut last term with his hometown team. An 81st minute substitute against Sassuolo, the schoolkid’s domestic bow made him the sixth youngest player to ever start in the Italian first division.
Not many footballers have made a first professional outing by the age of 16, but Eddy Salcedo seems to be something special. Joining I Nerazzurri on a season-long loan with a €15m purchase option, the teenager will look to cut his teeth at the Giuseppe Meazza.
It is clear that Salcedo has the raw potential to be one of Italy’s next global stars. Six goals in 24 Primavera 1 have highlighted the left winger’s attacking instincts.
Quick and agile, Salcedo has made a name for himself with a blossoming career. Likely an investment for the future, it’s not too far-fetched to think we’ll see Salcedo make a meteoric rise comparable to that of Kylian Mbappe’s.
4. Yann Karamoh
Signed from Caen on a two-year loan with an obligation to buy, Yann Karamoh was supposed to be ‘one for the future.’ In his mind, he’s one for now. Born in the Ivory Coast, the striker started at age eight with Parisian team Racing Colombes 92.
Karamoh’s agent, Oscar Damiani, spoke to FCInter1908 about his client’s development and happiness since the transfer from France, saying: “He can play in many positions and he is improving, also thanks to Spalletti, who is fantastic in always dedicating a lot of time to him.
“Yann has put on at least four kilos, he is building himself from a muscle mass point of view and you can see the benefits of this in how explosive he has become.
“These are the fruits of the hard labour put in at Appiano Gentile…Now, all he is lacking is a bit of continuity.”
Clearly behind Mauro Icardi in the pecking order, Karamoh will hope for substitute appearances and Coppa Italia game time. However, if the Argentine was to pick up an injury, it’s doubtful the 20-year-old would be fazed about leading the line.
5. Gabriele Zappa
Another of Inter’s rising stars is right-back Gabriele Zappa. Born in the nearby city of Monza, the defender has progressed through the youth groups at I Nerazzurri, impressing in both the U-17 B and Primavera 1 leagues.
A member of the squad that completed a notable treble, Zappa has won the Italian Campionato, Viareggio and Supercoppa at his age level.
After appearing twice in Inter’s pre-season ICC tour, the fullback will look to push on into first team contention this season. With coach Spalletti currently adopting a 3-4-1-2 formation, Zappa may need to show positional adaptability in his game if he hopes to progress.
Via InterTV, Zappa talked about his previous year and the upcoming matches, saying: “I finished the year in the best way with the championship, then maturity.
“I had a few holidays but when the call for pickup arrived I was very happy. You compare yourself with high level players. I’m happy with how it is going, we hope to continue like this.”
Under contract until 2021, the fullback will hope his performances were enough to show his manager that he’s ready for a full time promotion to the first squad.