Ex Ireland manager Giovanni Trappatoni has said that he sees Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic as integral to a possible Serie A challenge for Inter next season, despite reported interest from Premier League duo Liverpool and Arsenal, comparing the 20-year-old to Michel Platini when speaking to fcinternews.it.
Kovacic has long been held up as one of Europe's top midfield talents, and the former Dinamo Zagreb star has improved dramatically in his second season in Serie A, scoring 8 goals in all competitions this year.
However, it hasn't been an easy season for Inter, with Walter Mazzarri being sacked in November and triple Serie A winner Roberto Mancini returning to take control at his old club. Nevertheless, the Milan giants have continued to struggle and find themselves in 10th position in the league.
But Trappatoni, who was in charge of Inter for five years at the end of the 1980s, has insisted the Nerazzurri would be in with a title shot next season given the players and management team now in place.
“I really do think that Inter will be able to challenge,” the veteran coach said.
“In my career I’ve finished sixth one season only to win the League the next. I am convinced that with this squad, hopefully reinforced with some new signings, Mancini can do it.”
Trappatoni emphasised the importance of Kovacic to any chances of that, saying Inter have to resist any overtures for the player with Liverpool particularly closely linked recently.
“If he was signed, then Inter were convinced of his quality. He probably just needs more time to make his mark.
“Personally, unless there was an economic necessity, I would never sell such a talented young player. It’s always difficult at the start, just look at Michel Platini’s first six months, but then everything changed.”