Italian coaches have been known for prioritising seasoned veterans because of their experience while neglecting young players who are more likely to make mistakes. A recent report has revealed that three Serie A squads are among the 10 oldest in Europe’s Top five leagues, and that Inter – the oldest from Italy – is third overall.
The study takes into account the ages of players that have played in their respective leagues from the start of the 2022/23 season and the percentage of players from four separate age groups were also taken into consideration.
According to the CIES Football Observatory, Inter have an average of 29.13 years of age whilst only Bochum from Germany (29.85 years) and Sevilla from Spain (29.2 years) have older teams. Also featuring in the Top 10 from Italy are Sampdoria in fifth with an average squad age of 28.93 years of age and Lazio in seventh with 28.85 years.
Meanwhile current Serie A leaders Napoli and Atalanta have younger teams with average ages of 26.65 and 26.9 years old respectively, and reigning league champions AC Milan have an average age of 25.91 years.
Inter struggling to keep up with Serie A contenders
Although the 2022/23 Serie A season is just seven rounds in, a team of the calibre of Inter should be near the top of the table, but they have been performing inconsistently and the Nerazzurri are seventh in the table, five points off Napoli and Atalanta at the top.
Under coach Simone Inzaghi, Inter have not played with the same urgency and intensity that was synonymous with the Biscione in previous seasons. Despite offloading veterans like Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal in the summer, Inter still have a few players on the wrong side of 30.
Captain Samir Handanovic is 38 years old and has become more prone to errors; Edin Dzeko is 36 years old and has scored just once in seven Serie A games this season; Matteo Darmian turns 33 in December; 33-year-old Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan joined on a free transfer from Roma; and the Nerazzurri even signed 34-year-old Francesco Acerbi, who was considered to be surplus to requirements at Lazio.
With reports that Suning are planning to sell the club, it is understandable that Inter CEO Beppe Marotta might not be in a position to spend extravagant amounts of money and he has had to look for a short-term fix to keep the squad competitive.
However, considering the high tempo that the Nerazzurri have played at in recent years, it would seem more logical to get younger, faster, and more energetic footballers.
Inter host Roma in Matchday 8 of Serie A on Saturday evening.