After a successful spell at Ajax, it was always going to be interesting to see where Frank de Boer took his next job. The Premier League was the most likely destination and he was linked heavily to both the Everton and Southampton jobs this summer. However, it is looking likely he is going to be moving to Serie A to replace Roberto Mancini as Inter Milan manager reports Jake Jackman.
The job at the San Siro is a big one and it will test his managerial abilities, allowing us to finally work out whether De Boer has a future at the very top of football management. Inter Milan have only finished in the top three once since Jose Mourinho left the club, way back in 2010. They won the treble in that season and were the dominant club in Italy. Their inability to find a manager to replace Mourinho has played a large part in their fall down the league. Last season, there were signs of revival as they finished fourth, their best league position in the last five campaigns. They started the season superbly and looked like they could finally return to the Champions League, but they fell off the pace after the winter break. The pre-season has been farcical and it was clear that the divisive character of Roberto Mancini needed to be replaced.
Frank de Boer is a more composed character and will provide a calming influence, which is needed at that club right now. The squad is full of talent and they have the potential to break back into the top three, but De Boer will have a difficult task to begin with. Their pre-season is almost over, therefore there is no time to implement his tactical approach and minimal opportunity to bring his own players in.
The signings of Antonio Candreva and Ever Banega were shrewd moves from the club this summer, giving the squad more quality in the midfield areas. The latter in particular will be perfect for the game that de Boer will look to play at Inter. As a Dutchman, the former Ajax head coach will want his side to play a possession-based game and he will need to make them more dangerous in attack.
Last season, they only scored 50 goals, which was significantly less than the top three of Serie A. Ajax under De Boer were free-scoring, but that was expected as they were one of the best sides in the division. Banega and Candreva should add creativity to the midfield, which will help the side in the final third. The side have Stevan Jovetic, Mauro Icardi and Ivan Perisic in the squad. All three should score goals this season and it will be intriguing to see how De Boer goes about fixing the goal-scoring problem at the club.
At Ajax, De Boer made the side well organised and they had the best defence in the Eredivisie during his spell in charge. Inter had a good defence last season, but De Boer will improve it even further this season.
The Dutchman has a huge reputation, but he has a point to prove after failing to win the Eredivisie during his final two seasons with Ajax. Last year, Ajax went into the final day as favourites for the league title and only needed to beat relegated De Graafschap to clinch the Eredivisie. However, they only managed a draw, which handed the title to PSV on a plate. Also Ajax’s record in Europe was sketchy during his reign at the club.
He is far from the finished article and the doubts over his managerial ability have caused him to be overlooked for some club jobs, which he would have fancied. However, he now has a huge opportunity to prove himself to the footballing world at a huge club. Inter Milan have underachieved in recent years, but they have the ability to finish in the top three. They have a squad to compete with Roma and Napoli this season, and it is now up to De Boer to live up to his hype if he does get the job as expected. Although they aren’t good enough to compete with Juventus, a top three finish is well within their grasp.
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