Luciano Spalletti will not take much inspiration from Juventus’ European conquerors Ajax in Inter’s quest to bridge the gap to the top in Serie A, insisting that recreating the Eredivisie club’s model in Italy is almost impossible.
Juve were eliminated from the Champions League on Tuesday after losing 2-1 at home to Dutch side Ajax, who progressed to the semi-finals as 3-2 aggregate victors.
Erik ten Hag’s young side have been lavished with praise ever since, with their free-flowing, attacking-minded football earning them many admirers this season, and Wednesday’s win in Turin was no different.
In the end, Juve were lucky to escape with only a 2-1 defeat, but Spalletti doubts Ajax’s approach and club model can be mimicked to help topple the Old Lady domestically, with Massimiliano Allegri’s men 17 points clear at the summit.
Instead, Inter feel they have to use players who are already close to their peak rather than young players with great potential, citing the deal which saw Radja Nainggolan join from Roma and Nicolo Zaniolo go the other way last year.
“Ajax played good games, but it is difficult to create an Ajax model in our league,” Spalletti told reporters on Friday.
“Between saying we want to win and doing it, there are all those components that need to be prepared in detail. Then it takes a credible path for the players.
— AFC Ajax (English) (@AFCAjax_EN) April 16, 2019
“It’s not just you play that way or let the other team play. It’s not just, ‘don’t pass the ball back to the goalkeeper’.
“The biggest clubs in Europe don’t even buy a goalkeeper if they can’t play with their feet. It is important that things let themselves go every now and then.
“Which way do you want to go? What is the path you want to offer your team? Ajax have a culture at the club and at national level. They go to play, to bring home a cleverly constructed design, it is a professional way of working.
“There are operations in the last transfer windows that we have done to be able to quickly bridge the gap with the strongest teams.
“Zaniolo is certainly a quality footballer, but he is not the only one who was included in transfer negotiations.
“Unfortunately, we have had to make transfer decisions to get up the table quickly and make a comparison. There is no time to calmly plan.
“Every market decision we had to account for Financial Fair Play. We have therefore been forced to sell promising young players like Zaniolo.
“We made the sacrifices we made to bring Inter a player like Nainggolan, ready to make the difference immediately, so we have suffered in recent seasons.”
Inter have been linked with yet another Roma player in recent times, with Edin Dzeko reportedly lined up for a move to San Siro.
But Spalletti insists he is unaware of any interest, as the two clubs prepare to face each other on Saturday.
“Today we talk about our players only,” he said. “Dzeko today is a formidable opponent to deal with.
“In that role we have Lautaro [Martinez] and [Mauro] Icardi who are both doing well. Keita [Balde Diao] did his job properly when he was called.
“For whatever concerns the transfer market, you will have to ask Piero Ausilio [sporting director], he is the professional on these matters.”
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