The announcement of the Serie A fixtures always creates a sense of excitement, the new season laid out like a course to be charted. For Inter Milan fans, the release of the 2018/19 schedule has sparked a sense of optimism not seen in recent years.
But why are the Nerazzurri getting in a frenzy? And are they right to feel that way? And could Luciano Spalletti’s men rival Napoli as lead challengers to Juventus' crown?
Reasons to be cheerful
The upbeat mood that emanates from the training ground and blankets the entire fan-base has been prompted by the club's activity in the transfer market. After finishing fourth last season, it was clear progress had been made, but there was no time for complacency and the club have acted accordingly.
Inter are reportedly close to securing the signature of Arturo Vidal from Bayern Munich, an experienced veteran to add some necessary steel to the core of the side.
Radja Nainggolan’s move from Roma, too, may have surprised many, but it came right out of Monchi’s playbook for sporting directors, landing the capital club a £21m profit for a player who has just entered his 30s.
Assembling a squad of thirtysomethings might not be Inter’s long-term strategy, but the controversial Belgian will give their midfield a much-needed boost this season, even if it means installing a cigarette machine in the home dressing room.
Brothers in arms
A lesser-known recruit is the 20-year-old Argentinean Lautaro Martinez, who is set to wear the number ten shirt. The youngster impressed in a three-year spell at Racing Club and will hope to forge a successful partnership with compatriot Mauro Icardi.
The two already look to be getting on swimmingly.