He Should Do Well: Goklan Inler (Udinese)

It is what Udinese do best. Few clubs are as capable at spotting players, fewer still have the patience to allow them to develop.

Rather than being a limitation, the inability to challenge the top clubs as dictated by the club’s financial reality has been transformed into one of Udinese’s strengths. There is no drama every time a player feels the need to leave but rather the acceptance that it is part of the club’s cycle of life, a necessity that allows the club to progress and keep on bringing players through.

This year’s stars weren’t exactly unknowns. Fabio Quagliarella had already made a name for himself last season with Sampdoria, a reputation further enhanced with a brilliant debut goal for Italy. Besides him up front Udinese have another part-time Italy striker in Toto Di Natale, a player who has finally found maturity and continuity.

It could, however, be argued that the two strikers have been getting so much freedom to express themselves because of the untiring work of midfielder Gokhan Inler. And he is someone to have seemingly come from nowhere.

For the rest of the world, Inler looked set to become a mere squad player when he was signed last summer from FC Zurich. Instead he quietly slotted into the role vacated by Sulley Muntari bringing to the side the ruthless efficiency of his predecessor without the Ghanaian’s votalitly. Because that is how Udinese work: they sold Muntari for €9 million and got Inler for just €1 million yet their overall play has improved.

Even by their standards, however, Inler has been quite a find. After a splendid goal and game against Fiorentina, the Gazzetta Dello Sport was moved to comment “he was the best player on the pitch, another invention of patron Pozzo’s club, that Gokhan Inler bought for a piece of bread and now valued in millions.”

“I didn’t know much about him,” says coach Pasquale Marino, “but after two days with him in pre-season I realized that he really had something to offer.”

This is exactly what Inler has done with the inevitable result that bigger clubs have started circling over him with Inter, Liverpool and Barcelona all being mentioned as potential suitors. Sooner or later an irresistible offer will come through, one that is deemed to be enough and Inler will be on his way pushing the club to find someone to replace him

Then again, that is what Udinese do better than anyone else.