Inter’s loss to Borussia Dortmund was a stark reminder of the club’s lack of depth. It was reminiscent of their game at Sassuolo, when they let a three-goal lead slip. Antonio Conte was livid after the game and he was right in identifying the problems.
After the loss in Germany, the Italian told Sportmediaset (via Footballitalia)
“Some players have to be on the field constantly and in the long run, you do pay for that. I am furious, because this cancels out all the good work.”
While this wasn’t the only reason Inter lost it definitely is a problem for the club. Against Barcelona, Inter let in two second-half goals to lose the game. Against Juventus, they conceded a late Gonzalo Higuain goal to lose 2-1. They were held to a draw by Parma and relied on a late Romelu Lukaku brace against Bologna.
After winning all of their first six league games, they haven’t been at their best. The loss to Juventus has been followed by the 4-3 game at Sassuolo. After that, they’ve had the games against Parma and Bologna.
Conte is right when he points out a lack of depth in the side, especially in midfield. Inter have only three midfielders which can transform a top-four side into a potential title contender- Marcelo Brozović, Nicolo Barella and Stefano Sensi.
The Argentine has been one of Udinese’s most important players in a frustrating campaign. While Stefano Okaka has scored thrice, the 25-year-old De Paul has scored once and has assisted once too.
Last season, De Paul was the club’s best player by a mile. He had a tally of nine goals and eight assists, helping the Friuli side avoid relegation by five points.
The biggest part of De Paul’s arsenal is his versatility. Last season, the Argentina international played a variety of positions, according to the games in Transfermarkt’s database: He was a second-striker in a 3-5-2 shape, often playing as the most advanced midfielder in a 3-4-1-2. He also played as a left wing-back, but his main position is in central midfield. That is where he has played this season.
He has a very good engine and work rate is another big part of his repertoire. Apart from that, he also brings a lot of creativity to the plate.
Last season, he played as many as 2.7 key passes per game – more than any other Udinese player. His pace allowed him to completed 2.3 dribbles per game – more than any other player.
These abilities allow him to play roles similar to that of Sensi and Barella in midfield. He has Barella’s work rate and Sensi’s control of the game.
Inter currently have Matias Vecino and Roberto Gagliardini as their back-ups in those positions. But De Paul is a complete package. He is more creative and has a better work rate than them.
He recently signed a new deal at Udine, tying himself down till the summer of 2024. This has allowed Udinese to maximise his value. Not just that, the interest in him will drive that price up higher.
Inter have competition, clearly. But they would have to win battles like these to come closer to winning the Scudetto.