The signing of Henrikh Mkhitaryan on a free transfer from Roma is an example of Inter CEO Beppe Marotta’s long-established strategy of weakening major rivals by signing players from them.

This according to yesterday’s print edition of Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, who identify Marotta’s hand at work in the seizing of the opportunity to sign the 33-year-old from the Giallorossi.

When Marotta was in charge at Juventus, the Bianconeri became well-known for completing high-profile deals to sign players from other top sides in Serie A without a transfer fee, such as Andrea Piro from AC Milan, Fabio Quagliarella from Napoli, and then Miralem Pjanic from Roma in the same summer they snatched Napoli striker Gonzalo Higauin.

This trend has continued for the executive at Inter, most recently in the Nerazzurri’s high-profile signing of midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu at the end of his contract with city rivals AC Milan.

Marotta appears to be once again using a similar strategy by bringing in Mkhytarian, who had proved to be an important player for the Giallorossi last season.

Roma even made a significant effort to convince Mkhitaryan to stay so that they could build around him next season, but in the end the 33-year-old chose to join Inter instead.

In Mkhitaryan, the Nerazzurri have signed a player who will add depth and versatility to their squad, but besides that, have also put rivals at the top end of the Serie A in a position of having to replace a key man from last season.