When the final whistle blew at Old Trafford in March and Jose Mourinho was knocked out of Europe in only the second round, Inter fans made a humbling return to reality.
In fairness, many of them were already beginning to question the gospel according to Jose, but others - understandably, it must be said - were still expecting him to achieve the impossible, solve all the problems and ensure the Beneamata overcame their European hoodoo.
The reigning champions of Europe and the world admittedly made tough opposition - arguably the second hardest draw Inter could have had - but they made that bed for themselves by only finishing second in what was one of the weakest groups in the competition.
Mourinho may be a magician, but he can't do it all. His humble recognition of his side's inferiority following their elimination from Europe's premier club competition was astounding. This is a man who would usually try and convince the world even if he was in charge of Brescia that they are better than Barcelona; but no more.
The Portuguese gave that classic speech of helpless futility we're used to hearing from Harry Redknapp or Adriano Galliani. He told the English press in no uncertain terms that he needed more money for new recruits in order to compete at the highest level, and since then, speculation has been wild.
The odd defender and midfielder have been rumoured targets of the Italian champions, but first and foremost has been the speculation linking Inter with strikers. Whether or not it is their most pressing priority in the eyes of Mourinho or Interisti is one thing, but clearly, the media have made up their mind already.
Super-agent Vincenzo Morabito made some intriguing revelations - or perhaps just observations - to Controcampo on Sunday night, claiming that Samuel Eto'o would be a potential target for Inter. The Cameroonian's contract is due to expire next summer and he is showing little sign of renewing, thus Barca may be willing to offload him this summer to ensure they cash in on the free-scoring success he has enjoyed in Catalunya.
Furthermore, Morabito revealed that the Nerazzurri are already following David Villa - along with Barcelona and Chelsea, apparently, with no mention of Real Madrid or Liverpool - and that even Carlos Tevez, poised to walk away from Old Trafford this summer with his rights for sale, could find his way to San Siro.
When Jose liases with Marco Branca, Massimo Moratti et al in search of his new striker, he will be thinking in terms of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Ibra is the star; the focal point; the slightly more dainty Drogba: whoever Mourinho chooses to recruit this summer will be the best fit to play alongside the Swedish genius.
David Villa certainly has the credentials to be considered the best forward on offer of the three, but perhaps isn't the best man to complement Ibra. Bear in mind the two of them are actually quite similar, only that Villa is of course smaller and quicker.
Samuel Eto'o being less skilful could almost make him a better fit; a better contrast to Ibra and giving opposing defenders something entirely different to think about. In addition to this, it is worth considering that Eto'o is a man Mourinho wanted at Chelsea to partner Drogba, only to instead be given Andrei Shevchenko. The rest is hilarious history. The Barcelona man's fearless, passionate and head-strong approach to the beautiful game is Mourinho all over.
Tevez would perhaps provide the best balance between the two. While Villa settling outside of Spain remains an uncertainty and Eto'o regularly suffers from uncontrollable bouts of insanity, little Carlitos could 'Intergrate' (if you will) with all his fellow Argentines, and behaviourally, is very much a model employee (without looking the least bit like a model, of course). His only weakness is his goal return; it has not been the most impressive at Old Trafford, but his excuse may just as well be that he never felt like a genuine first-teamer. Maybe Inter could be his big break.
Added into this mix and unmentioned by Morabito is Sergio 'Kun' Aguero. Atletico Madrid are still outside contenders to re-qualify for the Champions League, but Kun is no longer content in the Spanish capital. It seems as though he has finally come to the realisation he needs a better club to make his meteoric rise to Ballon d'Or status. Father-in-law, Argentina coach, noted substance abuser and that guy who played football once upon a time, Diego Maradona, is already thought to be pushing the prodigy towards Inter. He's that little bit more disciplined than Eto'o, likely to be more adaptable than Villa and better in front of goal than Tevez - maybe the best man for the job is the one currently being overlooked.
One thing is for sure: Inter will snap up one hell of a world class striker this summer, and the fans will be treated to some incredible football next season.
Sulmaan Ahmad, Goal.com