Inter Milan boss Luciano Spalletti has put pressure on his talented young forward Gabriel 'Gabigol' Barbosa, to prove himself at the Serie A club. The prodigious Brazilian talent is widely regarded as somewhat of a wonderkid in world football, however the future of the player remains unclear as the youngster is yet to flourish at the highest level.
Speaking to the press following his side's 1-1 pre-season match against Bundesliga side Schalke, via Football Italia, Spalletti faced questions regarding his take on the warm-up match, as well as the specific matter of Gabigol's performance. When quizzed on the 20-year-old's input to the game, Spalletti stated: "Gabigol? Gabigol paid attention to what I asked of him, I know him well enough.
"There are games he’s played that I could go and see, but then training also counts, even friendlies. It’s the footballer who has to give the answers though, just like all the others”.
Judging by his comments, Spalletti is clearly open to giving the 2016 Olympic gold medal-winning player a shot at first-team football next season, despite rumours of Turkish side Fenerbahçe being keen on bringing the skilful forward in on a season-long loan. West Ham United are also believed to be in the running to sign the player, a deal which now seems unlikely.
Assessing the general performance of the side, Spalletti seemed to be pleased with the promise his recently inherited side were showing, while acknowledging the desire for collective improvement:
"I saw a lot of order from my team in the first half, there’s a lot of good raw materials that with proper preparation can lead to improvement. We lost possession at times, trying to force situations when we should have been keeping possession, but overall in terms of attitude and being a team we did well".
Spalletti is yet to delve into the summer transfer market with the vigour shown by arch-rivals AC Milan, but has invested in the likes of Milan Skriniar from Sampdoria and Facundo Colidio from Boca Juniors. Gabigol could well end up spending the 2016/17 campaign on loan, but the player may relish his opportunity to impress his new manager during pre-season training and matches.