Monday, October 19, 2009
How long does it take to judge a player? In Inter's case the answer is one game and it doesn't even have to be a meaningful one.
That, at least, is judging by Marko Arnautovic's example. The Austrian forward arrived last summer from Twente Enschende and was promptly labelled as the next Zlatan Ibrahimovic. To be fair, there is a certain physical likeness between the two but reality is that it was the Slavic surname that really brought about the comparison.
Inter had battled hard to get Arnautovic. Twente were playing hard to get, a stand boosted by Chelsea's rumoured interested in him, but what looked like turning into an auction quickly fizzled out after the player suffered from a stress fracture to his leg that was to keep him out of action for a couple of months. Still, Inter were interested enough to press ahead with a loan deal that includes a clause allowing them to buy the player for €9 million.
Now it is increasingly looking as if they went through all that trouble for nothing. Already there had been rumours of Jose Mourinho's lack of enthusiasm over the player's attitude, what with his unwillingness to work hard to get back to shape and his increasing waistline. Rumours that increased considerably after Inter set up a friendly with Piacenza (which thely lost 2-1) last week specifically to test out Arnautovic and in which he was, by all accounts, crap.
Now talk has turned from 'if' Arnautovic will leave to 'when' with some insisting that it will be January and others going for next May. Either way, he doesn't seem to have a future at the club and will go down as another dud spotted by Inter's permanently beleagured sporting director Marco Branca.