Inter Milan have outdone themselves in the free transfer market with deals for Porto’s Mehdi Taremi and Napoli’s Piotr Zielinski.
This is highlighted in today’s print edition of Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, via FCInterNews.
Inter’s propensity for free transfer signings is not a well-kept secret.
And so far the Nerazzurri have had a strong record of genuinely strengthening their team by signing players at the end of their contracts, rather than just scrounging for opportunities.
Nerazzurri CEO Beppe Marotta’s reputation for these kinds of deals stretched back well before his time at the club.
The veteran executive famously signed players like Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba, Kingsley Coman, Sami Khedira, and Dani Alves whilst he was at the helm of Juventus. All without transfer fees.
But Marotta has taken this tendency to a new level at Inter.
Three years ago, Inter swooped in to sign midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu from city rivals AC Milan as it became clear that his contract extension talks with the Rossoneri were stalling.
Calhanoglu has gone on to become a key cog in Inter’s team. The Turk is widely regarded as one of Serie A’s outstanding midfield, and the engine of the team’s title pursuit.
Then, the Nerazzurri made two big free transfer signings in the summer of 2022.
First there was goalkeeper Andre Onana. The Cameroonian arrived at the end of his contract with Ajax.
Onana played a key role in Inter reaching last season’s Champions League final. And then departed to Manchester United for a massive fee.
Meanwhile, veteran midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan arrived from Roma on a free transfer that same summer.
Like Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan is now an indispensable part of the most dominant midfield in Serie A.
Inter Score “Double Transfer Coup” With Mehdi Taremi & Piotr Zielinski
Last summer, it was Marcus Thuram who arrived at Inter as a big name without a transfer fee.
So far, that transfer has certainly worked out for both parties. Thuram is in the form of his life, whilst the Nerazzurri are benefiting from his quality and decisive influence on a weekly basis.
But Inter and Marotta are not done with Thuram. Not by a long shot.
The Nerazzurri are already laying the groundwork for next summer transfer window by securing two very significant free transfer signings.
This is the result of constant vigilance for big opportunities on the market by Marotta and the club’s other directors.
Porto’s Taremi was already a target last summer before the Nerazzurri balked at Porto’s asking price for the Iranian international.
But Inter never stopped following Taremi’s situation. Well aware of the prospect of a free transfer deal, and ready to move.
Meanwhile, Zielinski’s situation is one that emerged throughout the current season.
Contract talks between the Pole and Napoli dragged on during the fall. And once it became apparent that he could be available this summer, Inter moved.
The Nerazzurri are working to secure the pair in a similar manner to how they signed Onana.
In the case of signings like Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, and Thuram, Inter only made the decisive moves during the summer, close to the expiration of the players’ contracts.
On the other hand, with Taremi and Zielinski, like Onana, the Nerazzurri are working well in advance.
Onana had sealed his move from Ajax months before Inter made it official. Then once his contract with the Dutch giants formally expired, the Nerazzurri were quick to officially unveil him.
Inter will respect the duo’s obligations to their current clubs. But the reality is that, from July 1st onwards, they are effectively already Nerazzurri players.