Roberto Mancini believes Inter Milan can compete for the Serie A title next season, and he wants Yaya Toure to lead their charge.
The Nerazzurri captured five successive Scudetto’s between 2006 and 2010, until they surrendered the title to city rivals Milan before Juventus embarked on their recent domination of the league. Inter’s glorious era came under the leadership of Mancini, so there was much room for optimism when the 50-year-old returned to the club in November to succeed the sacked Walter Mazzarri.
Mancini has struggled to spark a dramatic upturn in fortunes for the San Siro giants, who have won just eight of the 21 matches during his second stint in charge although they have only lost six times. This includes a Coppa Italia defeat to Napoli at the quarter-final stage, but they could yet end the campaign with silverware as they remain in contention for the UEFA Europa League.
In Serie A, though, Inter are well off the pace. The 18-times champions are currently ninth in the standings, a staggering 21 points behind the Bianconeri. However, Mancini is confident his side are improving, and he believes they could challenge for the title next season – particularly if they can somehow prise midfielder Yaya Toure from his former club Manchester City.
“I’m sure that we’ll compete for the Scudetto next year,” he told Gazzetta TV. “The team has really improved, both in terms of their mentality and the level of their play. I’m sure we’ll do some good business. Yaya Toure? He’s played in almost every league, except for Germany and Italy. If, as seems to be the case, he wants to try Serie A we’ll look into the possibility, but it won’t be easy.”
Toure, whilst still an integral part of the City side, has not quite been at his best for the English champions this season. There is often a question mark over his long-term future in Manchester and was linked with Paris St Germain during the last summer transfer window, but with his contract set to run until 2017, the Blues could command a significant fee despite his age of 31.
Mancini was at the helm of the Etihad Stadium club when they signed Toure from Barcelona in the summer of 2010 for £24million, in what has proved to be a shrewd acquisition. The Ivory Coast international scored in both the FA Cup semi-final and the final as the Blues ended their 35-year trophy drought in 2011, and also scored crucial goals as they won the Premier League in 2012.