And it may be that very competition now for which he has been redrafted by Roberto Mancini. While at the start of the year contesting for third place wasn't entirely improbable, now the only way the hg87999注册Nerazzurri can secure a Champions League spot would seem to be by winning its junior version.
At the end of the month, however, the Serpenti have collected just one point from their last three games against opposition like Empoli, Torino and Sassuolo, with the transfer market dealings ending with the return of Davide Santon to Appiano Gentile.
Image via @inter
With Yuto Nagatomo returning from bbin真人电子游艺the Asian Cup and Danilo D'Ambrosio expected to be back within a few weeks from injury, Inter will have as many as six wide players in their squad. Dodo, Jonathan and the young Isaac Donkor, who got sent off against Sassuolo, making up that sextet with Santon.
In fact over the last couple of years, he may have even regressed due to constant injury problems and a lack of first-team action. His best season for the Geordies came in 2012-13, but it ended on a sour note when a misplaced backpass saw them crash out of the Europa League quarter-finals against eventual finalists Benfica.
For a few years now, Inter's central defence has been carved apart with relative ease, especially on the counter-attacks, and this was once more the case against the Neroverdi on Sunday. So, while Santon may be a defensive addition, he is one in the wrong part of the field.
It's a tale that Inter fans by now have become well accustomed to – one where a bright start eventually culminates in a rather disappointing finish. The month of January started with the Nerazzurri securing a draw at champions捕鱼平台 Juventus and the signings of Lukas Podolski and Xherdan Shaqiri.
In two weeks' time, Inter travel to Celtic in the Round of 32 and Santon having spent his formative years at the club has made it to the European list as he qualifies as one of the club-trained individuals. It isn't an easy time to be a Nerazzurro player as Mauro Icardi found out this weekend, and Santon may just realise his return to Milan won't be quite as romantic as hoped.
The former Magpie has played just one game all season as injury has seen him miss a majority of the campaign thus far. In the time he spent up in the North East, he displayed little to suggest that he is back to being the player that many Nerazzurri fans expected him to be when he burst on to scene six years ago.
and, while that may seem like a misguided piece in hindsight, Inter's issues are now restricted to the defensive end of the pitch and more specifically to their soft centre.
Inter's poor form in the League has meant that all hopes of securing third place have essentially vanished, and even participation in any sort of European football next season is in serious doubt as the team sits eight points away from fifth-placed Sampdoria.
Under such circumstances, the return of a player who at one time was compared to the great Paolo Maldini, but has subsequently had a largely disappointing career, feels underwhelming to say the least. However, more worryingly it is not likely that the 24-year old Santon is the answer to Inter's defensive woes.