New Inter boss Frank de Boer insists captain and star striker Mauro Icardi will not leave the club as he plots to end Juventus’ dominance of Serie A.
The former Netherlands international has signed a three-year deal at San Siro to succeed Roberto Mancini, who left his role amid reports of a dispute with club owners Suning Holdings Group.
A succession of heavy pre-season defeats preceded Mancini’s exit, with De Boer confirming the club approached him in the aftermath of last Friday’s 6-1 defeat to Tottenham.
But the 46-year-old was bullish over Inter’s prospects at his first news conference as coach and he expects Icardi – a reported transfer target for Arsenal and Napoli over the course of the close-season – to play a key role in attempting to stop Juve adding a sixth consecutive league title this season.
“I thank Inter for choosing me,” De Boer said. “I spoke with the owners and everyone wants to bring the club where it deserves to be.
“Juventus are not unbeatable, sometimes things change. They have a great team and it will be tough, but we want to fight.
“We will keep the players who do not want to sell. Icardi will remain.
“Mauro is young, can still learn and we will work very well together.”
Mancini’s future was a source of speculation throughout a fractious pre-season and De Boer revealed that he held exploratory talks with Inter’s owners two weeks ago.
“We spoke to Inter two weeks ago simply to understand whether there might be any common ground,” he explained.
“Everything happened quickly. I was honored by their interest.”
Inter’s opening game of the Serie A season comes away at Chievo in 12 days’ time, meaning De Boer faces a race against time to get his players up to speed.
“It’s not an ideal situation but we have a very talented and experienced side,” the ex-Ajax coach added.
“We can use our ideas to be ready in a short space of time. We have a philosophy and the team needs to believe in that.
“I’m convinced that we’ll be ready and that we’ll get on the right track as quickly as possible.”