Alessandro Bastoni made his third start for Inter in their 2-2 draw against Parma this past weekend. It wasn’t the Nerazzurri’s best performance by any means – Marcelo Brozovic looked hurried and slow, Diego Godin struggled against the pace of Yann Karamoh and Gervinho, and Inter missed Stefano Sensi and Stefan de Vrij.
When Antonio Conte brought on De Vrij in the second half for the struggling Godin, there was a lack of control in midfield. While Nicolo Barella did well to win a tackle and make two interceptions, Brozovic looked tired and worked. The Croatian was dribbled past once (via Whoscored).
In an average game overall, Bastoni showed the ability to hold his own. The 20-year-old won as many as six aerial duels and completed three tackles too. He was also dribbled past twice, but there were some big positive signs for a youngster (via Whoscored). That too, in front of an attack that had two players with searing pace.
In a backline that boasts of some of Europe’s best defenders in Milan Skriniar, Godin and De Vrij, Bastoni has already played four times. That, in itself, is a very good sign indeed.
The defender is already held in high regard by Conte, who once praised him. He told Inter TV (via Goal Italia):
“I saw physical and mental potential- he immediately does what you ask. He will be the future of this team and currently he’s the present: He is an important alternative.”
Bastoni made his first start for the club against Sampdoria earlier this month. He was probably the best defender on the pitch, despite Skriniar and De Vrij starting beside him.
The former Parma man won 100% of his tackles – 3. He won three defensive aerial duels, making six clearances on the day (via Whoscored). He played a huge role in helping Inter win 3-1.
Bastoni has almost taken off from where he left off at Parma last season. In his loan spell at the Crociati, Bastoni appeared 24 times in the league, 18 of them starts in central defense in a flat back-four of a 4-3-3 shape under Roberto D’Aversa.
In the whole campaign, the defender won the fifth-highest number of aerial duels per game – 1.6. He made the joint-second-highest number of blocks too, blocking 0.8 times per game (via Whoscored). He wasn’t D’Aversa’s best player by any means as Juraj Kucka, Gervinho and Roberto Gagliolo impressed. But it was the right place to develop for Bastoni.
He got first-team football in a team that had the highly experienced Bruno Alves as a player. He played in the Serie A, above all. That was crucial since he hadn’t played regular first division football at Atalanta before arriving at the San Siro for a fee of €31 million in the summer of 2017. In fact, he made only four substitute appearances for La Dea in his loan spell in the 2017-18 season.
In that sense, the loan spell at Parma gave him everything he wanted. The fee that Inter shelled out on him means that they really believe in the player and the future that he presents.
There have been questions about Godin’s inability to deal with quicker forwards. He struggled against Gervinho and struggled in front of Cristiano Ronaldo too. Rafael Leao also caused him problems in the Derby della Madonnina.
Against Juve, the Uruguayan was dribbled past once and Conte took him off for Bastoni. The same happened against Parma, but it was De Vrij who came on. Against Milan, Godin lost the ball three times in front of the pacy Leao.
In Bastoni, Inter have a quicker defender. He is younger and at 20, the second-choice of a Scudetto challenging team. He has played on the left side of the defense most of the times while Skriniar and De Vrij have the ability to play anywhere in the back three. That has played per Bastoni’s abilities.
With Godin not getting any younger, Bastoni is the one to replace him. Andrea Ranocchia is also getting older. As Conte said, Bastoni represents the bright future of the nerazzurri.