© foto di Giuseppe Celeste/Image Sport
A whole career in blue and black which began fifteen years ago in the Youth Sector where Piero Ausilio took his first steps at Inter and went on to reach the first team.
Today the Inter sporting director looked back over his years of experience, ideas and projects as he spoke by telephone on Sky Sport 24, beginning with a comment on the most recent achievement of the Primavera team. "I wouldn't say this came out of the blue because of the whole planning programme behind it. I mentioned before in passing that we have been there or thereabouts for over 10 years now in contention for titles and sometimes we win them – quite often we win them, considering our 15 or so, in the past ten years. I clearly remember the finals because having played for 6 years out of 10 in six Primavera finals goes to show the amount of planning, hard work and consistency that has gone into this great squad."
Not only has the Nerazzurri Youth Sector been successful, it has also produced many champions, like Bardi, Santon, Obi, Destro and Balotelli for example. "This is the greatest satisfaction," said Ausilio, " because winning titles at youth level is great but when they are linked to a player's development they are even better. Having succeeded so consistently over all these years and then seeing those names today is so rewarding for for everyone involved in the Youth Sector. There are over a hundred of them and I'm pleased to say that over the past ten years, for the most part, they are the same people; that means Inter chose them wisely, creating a group that could work together well and improve things constantly, to consistently produce the great results we are seeing today.
The names are important names and tonight two of them will be pulling on the Italy shirt at the European Championship, Bonucci and Balotelli, while another 6 wear the Under-21 shirt, so this is quite nice to note. Soon we hope to see many of them in our first team because this is our final objective."
On the subject of Mario Balotelli, the Inter sporting director was reminded that it was he who had picked him as a youth: "So they say (he smiled, Ed). I may be one of those who pushed for him but you never discover anything on your own. Behind every young talent discovered there is always a scout who points him out, I might have had the capacity or maybe the luck to have believed in him more than some others, but I found a club and a president who have always put their trust in me. What it boils down to is this: we have a president and a club who let us work well, making investments and placing their trust in us and I hope we have been paying them back in full."
From the Youth Sector he went on to talk about the first team, and Ausilio himself can be considered a product of this path: "I am most certainly a product of all this because that's where my roots are, having been at Inter for 15 years, and I'll be here for three more because my contract has just been renewed, so this is without doubt a great satisfaction. I'm beginning to feel a bit older..."
Going back to the Primavera team members who played a great part in the championship win, Ausilio was asked if Samuele Longo was ready for the first team yet: "We'll see, he's young but has grown a lot over the past few years. He has made a lot of sacrifices and demonstrated humility and conviction because maybe he has had to play second fiddle to many others who showed through more in the Primavera championship, suffering a little more. He played on loan for a few seasons, first at Piacenza, then at Genoa because he couldn't manage to break through with us. Unfortunately for him he was in competition with people like Destro and, before him, Balotelli. So I'll say it again, his path was quite complicated and the fact he is still there shows that he's a player Inter can count on today, with his great technical and physical characteristics, as well as his his morale and self-confidence. He'll go far.
Does president Preziosi want his half of the player? Inter is not going to give up its half of the player and Genoa knows it. The idea is to hold on to 50 per cent at least for next season and then decide what the best thing for Samuele and we'll talk to him about this too. We would like to be able to count on the lad but we'll decide on the future when things have quietened down and by planning things well."
It's only right to concentrate on the youngsters today and on the Nerazzurri success in the Primavera league, so you're not giving anything away about the first team tranfer market this summer, am I correct? "Perfectly correct," replied Ausilio smiling: "There's nothing really to tell because apart from Guarin and di Palacio, who were two great buys for Inter, it's only 10 June. We have all the time to prepare the team well and we want to make a good job of it. The president has given us ample guarantees and indications and the coach has had time to get to know the squad better, so we'll try and prepare them well for next season both for Europe and the Italian championship."
There is one sensational figure: looking at the 13 derbies played between Inter and AC Milan in the Giovanissimi and Primavera categories, 11 were won by the Nerazzurri and 2 were draws. Who'll win the market chase for Acerbi and Silvestre? "Just for the sake of precision, I'd like to say that the derbies between the youngest players count too and we have won 18 out of 18 so we didn't even lose one. As for the rest there is no derby, there's no rivalry in the transfer market. We try to find players who will contribute to improving Inter, if it's one of them we'll see, but whether AC Milan is there or not is of no concern to us."
Sebastian Giovinco's, explains Ausilio, "is not interest, enquiries were made and we have discussed it with Parma. He's definitely a good player and has come along a lot in the past few years. We've been keeping an eye on him and we'll see what happens over the next few days but I don't feel like talking about interest in him rather than in others for the time being."
The Lavezzi deal has fallen through, the alternatives could be Brazilian or connected with Giovinco, Ramirez and Gomez: "Well if that's what you think, let's hear it. We think we have some ideas, we know all the championships well, as we are spread out throughout the world. It's just a question of finding the right one and with the right conditions for buying. We'd like to buy all the best players in the world, but if they are too expensive or aren't for sale it becomes difficult so it may be better to look for new ideas, something different, maybe not anyone as well known as the names you mentioned."
Finally regarding Mattia Destro, Ausilio concluded by explaining that: "He played well and this was a very positive season for him. He knows well that he hasn't been lost or abandoned, but there are certain moves on the market that at times must be made and were made. Just like in the past other young players have been 'used' – and that's not the right word – like Bonucci and Bolzoni to be able to buy more important players at that time like Milito or Thiago Motta, who helped us win the treble. These were sacrifices which led to even more positive results for Inter at that time. Two years ago Destro left the Primavera squad and was sacrificed for the cause of Andrea Ranocchia. We are very pleased with Ranocchia and this is already positive, so we'll see. If there the financial and technical conditions to consider a future at Inter."