The time when Inter were winning games with some arrogance seems long gone now. Antonio Conte has been vocal about how the club needs depth to win games regularly but to get depth, they need to offload some players first. One of those players has to be Andrea Ranocchia.
English football fans will recognise Ranocchia from his brief loan spell at Hull City. The Italian had a defensive pairing with Harry Maguire under Marco Silva, but the duo could not stop the club from getting relegated to the Championship.
But Calcio fans know Ranocchia better than anyone else. The defender has been at the club for nine years now. During this time, he has had loan stints at not just Hull but at Genoa and Sampdoria too.
But over the last few years, his influence has been fading. He isn’t as important a part of the side as he was back in say, 2012-13. He had played 45 times in all competitions for the club that season in what was his peak at the club.
But constant managerial changes didn’t do him good. The loan stints at Samp and the Tigers came from the 2015-16 campaign onwards. Since he has come back from those spells, he is still only a back-up at the San Siro. And he seems past his best. Or maybe, Inter aren’t of his standard anymore.
This season, he has two appearances in the Serie A. He started both of the games early in the season. Both of them came in the absence of Diego Godin, who had an initial settling in period. Since then, the Uruguayan has come in and has made that position his.
Ranocchia is now very low in the pecking order, with Alessandro Bastoni and Danilo D’Ambrosio higher in the ladder than him. Bastoni has six appearances to his name, while D’Ambrosio has played eight times.
Its a reflection of where Ranocchia is at the club. The start to the season was a time when players were coming into their grove. Ranocchia did well against Lecce, winning three aerial duels and making as many interceptions and one tackle.
Inter do have Champions League demands and Conte has been vocal about a lack of depth. But he has also talked about quality in the depth at his disposal. Ranocchia can add depth, but not as much as quality as the others.
He is 31. That is an age that is considered a peak for central defenders. Especially in Italy, ageing defenders are seen as reliable and smart enough to play in a tactical league. For how much Ranocchia has played, he has that experience and maturity now.
But at what is a peak for a central defender, he isn’t playing enough. If he stays longer, he will see his career stall and stagnate if it isn’t already.
Inter are in a situation in which they need quality in midfield. While Stefano Sensi has come back from injury, a workhorse midfielder in Nicolo Barella is out injured. Considering Conte’s love for battling midfielders like Arturo Vidal and NGolo Kante, it is a massive blow.
To get in-depth in that part of the pitch, Inter need some cash. A player Ranocchia could easily give them the cash to afford the wage of another player.