Since the oil tycoon Massimo Moratti took over Internazinale Milano in 1995, Inter has experienced the most turbulent era in football history. More than 100 players and exactly 18 coaches have come and gone during his 18 years of tenure. As a true fan of Inter, Moratti has sacrificed a lot to lift Inter to the top of the world. But, right motivation multiplied with wrong action still leads into the wrong direction. Moratti’s ambition doesn’t walk in coherence with patience, and astuteness. No wonder Inter has done too many transfer blunders during all these years.
The top 10 list below will sum up the worst transfers from 1995 until 2012. Thanks to the enormous number of transfer flops, many mediocre names couldn’t make it to the list. The likes of Domoraud, Ventola, Sukur, Farinos, Dalmat, Kallon, Brechet, Van Der Meyde, Forlan, Kharja etc didn’t feature in the list because there are many more players who cost more but performed horribly.
The list will assess the contribution given compared to the price Inter paid. There are a lot of mediocre players who should never have worn the Nerazzurri colours in the first place. But, because many of them were bought for (relatively) cheap price, they aren’t mentioned here. The example is Brechet. His defending was simply awful, but since many defenders cost more than him, he was not included in this top 10. Another condition is that I have only assessed player-in transfers. Player sale blunders and coaches are excluded.
And here are the top 10 transfer flops:
10. Christian Chivu (In : €15 m, Out : ?)
The Romanian showed fine defensive quality during his first 2.5 seasons since his arrival at Inter. The rock at defence and capable of being a left back, it was as if Chivu would turn out to be a good piece of business. But, the head collision against Chievo fractured his head. And since his comeback, Chivu has never shown the same quality he did before. After the comeback, he has time and again demonstrated poor man-marking, wrong positioning, slipped, mispassed, committaed unnecessarry fouls and red cards, and many more. He was the weak link in Inter's defence during Mourinho’s Inter and he became a disaster during Benitez and Leonardo’s era. Thanks to his fine displays during his early tenure at Inter, he is only placed at number 10 of worst transfers.
Admitted, on his normal day Chivu is better than many mediocre defenders like Gamarra, Sorondo, Adani etc. But neither were they bought with € 15 million nor were they expected to be a key defender.
9. Adriano (In: € 15m, Out :0 )
Almost the same case as Chivu, only with worse outcome. He was loaned out to Parma to give him playing time and he showed promising quality with his deadly partnership with Mutu. It only looked even more promising with his goals during 2 seasons wioth Inter, raked up 40 goals in all competitions. But since his father died in 2006, his form dipped drastically. He missed training several times and appeared in night parties frequently. His body just kept getting fatter and fatter and he lost his motivation too. Not being able to stand his attitude anymore, Inter decided to offload him on a free transfer. Until now, Adriano is still unable to escape from the alcohol and lack of displine issues that ended his Inter dream.
8. Fabian Carini (in : €10m, out : 0)
Do you know where the €10 million came from? It was the estimated price of Cannavaro. Yes, Inter did an ridiculous trade by exchanging the world's elite defender with this unproven goalkeeper. Carini caught Inter's attention by his outstanding display during Copa America 2003. Doesn’t matter how talented the player is, to trade one of the best defenders with a player who only showed outstanding performances in a few matches is idiocy. And that was what Inter did. He never threatened Toldo's position as Inter's main goalkeeper, he even had to be loaned out to give him some playing time. The worst thing was, when he returned to Inter he became the 4th goalkeeper behing Toldo, new arrival Julio Cesar, and the aging Orlandoni. Until his departure, he only had played 4 times for Nerazzuri. What a complete joke. Inter bought him at the expense of Cannavaro to play only for 4 games.
What made it worse, Cannavaro enjoyed a very successful stint in Turin, even becoming the first defender to win the World Player of the Year in 2006.
7. David Suazo (in : € 13m, out : 0)
A former Cagliari star, where Suazo singlehandedly led the club to escape relegation. He was even awarded the Serie A foreign footballer of the year award in 2006 and the award was shared with the then best player in the world Kaka. Inter and AC Milan fought to sign Suazo and in the end, Inter managed to get him. Inter won the transfer battle, but as it soon turned out, lost the war. Suazo could never replicate his Cagliari form and he struggled to even make it to the team. Even the teenage Balotelli beat him as a super sub, let alone competing with the likes of Crespo, Cruz, and Ibra. Then he was loaned out to Benfica and Genoa, but he also failed to impress at either club. After he returned to Inter, he was badly injured and failed to play even a minute in the entire 10/11 season. Forgotten and not in the team plan anymore, Inter didn’t extend his contract which expired on 30 June 2011.
6. Vrastilav Gresko (in : € 5m, out : 0)
The match against Lazio on 5th May 2002, the final game of 01/02 season is the short definition of Gresko. No one remembers his contribution throughout the season, people remember just that day. Before that catastropic day, Gresko was the main left back and he was the second setpiece taker only second to Recoba. That € 5 million that Inter paid 2 years before seemed like a decent piece of business. But his “assist” to Poborsky lifted him up by many levels in Inter's worst player category. Although most Inter players performed terribly, it was Gresko who received all the critique and blame and he rightfully became a scapegoat of the lost scudetto. Soon after, he was released to Parma as part of the deal with Almeyda.
5. Sulley Muntari (in : € 15m, out : 0)
At first, when Mourinho came to Inter, he intended to sign the attackng midfielder Lampard, but he ended up getting defensive midfielder Muntari instead. During his playing time at Inter, Muntari scored some sensational goals, most notably a winner against Juventus and the backheel goal against Napoli. But the goals couldn’t mask up all the calamities he made. That madness against Catania, when he came in as a substitute and only lasted 1 minute before being sent off was the highlight of his career at Inter and just a tip of the iceberg. Lack of football intelligence, awful tackling, and very emotional, no wonder he collected more yellow cards than anyone else at Inter. Also he gave up possession too cheaply. I am not sure if it was Mourinho’s instruction or not, but he frequently acted as if he was a deep lying playmaker, spraying long pass to his teammates at the frontline and on the flank. Only, the accuracy was left to be desired.
4. Nelson Rivas (in : € 7.5m, out : 0)
If Muntari was disaster in the midfield, Rivas was the worst disaster in the backline. It was a mystery how Inter landed him in the first place and it was even more mysterious how he could earn 16 appearances under defence expert Mourinho. Sixteen appearances in 2 seasons could be considered too few, but for a defender with Rivas'es quality it was simply too many. Looked unconvincing ever since he stepped his foot on the green turf of the Giuseppe Meazza, Rivas was an exemplary defender whenever he played. Exemplary? Yes. Whatever Rivas did on the pitch, other defenders should do the opposite. Nervous, no physical presence, the positioning was all over the place, awful timing of tackle, blunder prone, and clueless. Whenever the ball approached Rivas, the chill shot down every Interisti spine as they knew that an accident was waiting to happen. After 2 seasons, Rivas was offloaded to Livorno, to the joy of every Interisti.
3. Amantino Mancini (in : € 13, out : 0 )
An unexpected flop. Before he moved to Inter, Mancini terrorised every defence in Serie A with his dribbling. Fast and highly technical, Mancini ran through defences for fun and his goal against Lyon was the proof of his amazing skill. Mancini came to Inter to accommodate Mourinho’s need of wingers. When he trained Chelsea, Mourinho used the combination of Duff and Robben to torment the opponent’s defence. So, when he moved to Inter he bought Mancini without a second thought. Highly proven in Serie A and suited the coach's playing style, it seemed like Mancini would be the key player for Inter. But after he moved to Inter, it was as if he left his skill in Rome. No more lightning speed, no more stepover, no more quick dribbling, now every defender ate Mancini for breakfast. After 2 seasons of failure, Mancini was loaned to Milan to no avail. As Inter didn’t see any hope in the Brazilian, Inter didn’t extend his contract.
2. Fransesco Coco (in : € 22.5m, out : 0)
It seemed Italy's search for a Maldini replacement had been completed. Touted as the next Maldini since his tender age, Coco impressed everyone with his composed and elegant performance when he wore Rossoneri and Blaugrana colours (on loan). Then came the offer from Inter which was worth € 22.5 million, comprised of money and Seedorf as part of the trade. Milan accepted and 2 things happened. Seedorf enjoyed a successful career at Milan, being a key part of the team who won Serie A and 2 UCL titles. On the other hand, Coco spent most of his time in the surgery room. It took 2 more years for Coco to recover and return to the pitch. But, his form never recovered and it grew worse instead. Then Inter loaned him to Livorno and Torino to give him the time to play and prove himself. But Coco never impressed. Not long after his loan spell at Torino ran out, he returned to Inter and decided to retire from football in 2007. In total, he played 68 games for Inter including appearances as sub. Disastrous transfer yet it was not the worst. Just imagine how bad Inter's transfer policy is if such an outcome is not the worst yet.
1. R. Quaresma (in : € 24.6m, out : €7.3m )
An obvious number 1. Probably the biggest transfer flop ever in Serie A. Signed in the same season as Mancini, Mourinho wished to replicate his Chelsea playing style with two explosive wingers. But both of them failed to live up to expectations. With a 24.6 million pricetag (including Pele, a player from Inter Primavera), what he provided was not even worth €1 millio in quality. Miskick, mispass, miscommunication, and missed chances were his characteristic during his brief career at Inter. Also don’t forget how many times he was dispossessed when a simple pass would work. The only bright glimpse was his trivela goal from the edge of penalty box, but it was a lucky strike. Well perhaps he used up his lifetime of luck for that goal and the winger’s form at Inter never picked up.
Mourinho kept using him despite poor performances, probably to justify his expensive price. But performances never lie and disappointed Inter decided to loaned him out to Chelsea. Different club, same case. Quaresma only featured 4 times and he failed to deliver with such limited chances. Then he returned to Inter only to disappoint again. Mourinho gave him a second chance even handing him the no. 7 shirt which was previously worn by Figo. Too bad such a big motivational boost failed to improve his performances, instead he tarnished it. It was still old rusty Quaresma and as Mourinho’s patience ran out, Mourinho started to accept that the transfer had turned into flop. After Mourinho signed Pandev for free, Quaresma never appeared again for Inter.