Inter Milan’s midfield has transitioned into a “new era,” with Hakan Calhanoglu pulling the strings at the heart of it.
This is the view in today’s print edition of Rome-based newspaper Corriere dello Sport, via FCInterNews.
Inter’s midfield transformation over the past couple of seasons hasn’t been abrupt.
Rather, Simone Inzaghi has gradually re-styled the team’s engine room.
But at the start of the 2023-24 season, the Nerazzurri have had the look of a team with a highly-functioning midfield unit where each player has had a clear understanding of their role and all the characteristics needed to fulfill it.
More even than last season, Inter look like a team built to instantiate Inzaghi’s vision of football.
And at the heart of it has been former AC Milan and Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Calhanoglu.
Inter Midfield In A “New Era” – Hakan Calhanoglu Leading The Way
Calhanoglu joined Inter in the summer of 2021.
The Turkish international was a signing of opportunity.
After Christian Eriksen’s health issues meant that he was no longer able to play for Inter, the club’s hand was forced – they had to find a replacement.
And Calhanoglu was the player they settled on. The player’s contract with city rivals AC Milan was expiring, and the Rossoneri were unable to agree an extension.
Therefore, Inter managed to snap Calhanoglu up on a free transfer.
The 29-year-old had already been beginning his transition deeper on the pitch at Milan.
But it’s been under Inzaghi that Calhanoglu has truly found his best role. The Turk has gone from a box-to-box midfielder to a true regista, dictating the play from deep.
And more than Eriksen or even Marcelo Brozovic, Calhanoglu seems like a player who sees the game the same way as Inzaghi.
Calhanoglu has brought a newfound directness to Inter’s midfield.
And flanking him have been Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Nicolo Barella.
Former Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund veteran Mkhitaryan joined Inter on a free transfer from Roma last summer. And the Armenian has proven to be just what Inter need.