Three out of Inter Milan’s four goalscorers in the derby against AC Milan were players who signed for the club on free transfers.

This is highlighted in today’s print edition of Rome-based newspaper Corriere dello Sport, via FCInterNews.

By now, the importance of free transfer opportunities to Inter’s transfer strategy is no big secret.

Nerazzurri CEO Beppe Marotta has long been a big exponent of exploiting such opportunities when they come along. He used it frequently at Juventus, and has done so even more at Inter, where he has had to work within financial constraints.

And against the Rossoneri, the Nerazzurri gave a demonstration of how strong a team can be with free transfers.

In Inter’s starting eleven, there were a few players who signed for fairly significant transfer fees. But the majority arrived for more modest outlays.

And in the cases of midfielders Hakan Calhanoglu and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and striker Marcus Thuram, they arrived without a fee at all.

And as it happened, those three all got on the scoresheet.

Free Transfers Decisive For Inter Milan In Derby Triumph Vs AC Milan

First there is midfielder Mkhitaryan.

The veteran Armenian international signed from Roma last summer after his contract with the Giallorossi ran out.

Mkhitaryan has been a fixture in Inter’s starting eleven virtually ever since joining. And against the Rossoneri on Saturday, he was the man of the match, capping off a fine individual performance with a brace, including Inter’s opener.

The Nerazzurri’s second goal arrived courtesy of striker Marcus Thuram.

Like Mkhitaryan, Thuram signed for Inter on a free. His contract with Borussia Monchengladbach expired at the end of June.

Inter are, it must be said, paying Thuram big wages.

But the Frenchman has more than justified that so far with his performance. His display and brilliantly-struck goal against the Rossoneri are the clearest sign of that yet.

And lastly, midfielder Calhanoglu scored from the penalty spot in the second half.

The Turk has become one of Inter’s key players in midfield, pulling the strings. And he is also now the Nerazzurri’s first-choice penalty-taker, showing why with his clinical effort from the spot against Milan.

It was the Rossoneri who failed to agree a contract with Calhanoglu. There’s little doubt that they regret allowing their city rivals to snap him up without a fee.

Inter’s final goal of the match came in stoppage time via a player who they actually invested big money in.

Midfielder Davide Frattesi came off the bench to score.

There’s no doubt that these kinds of signings are key – a top side cannot be build on free transfers and bargain bin signings alone.

But as Mkhitaryan, Thuram, and Calhanoglu demonstrated, those signings can more than have their place.