Benjamin Pavard and Gianluca Scamacca will meet for Inter Milan and Atalanta this evening after a summer of “sliding doors.”

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

Inter signed Pavard last summer. And Atalanta signed Scamacca.

But things could have been quite different, considering that the latter had also been a target for the Nerazzurri.

And had Scamacca arrived at Inter, then it’s unlikely that Pavard would have as well.

The reason why concerned Inter’s strategy to invest in the transfer market.

Inter’s initial plan was to make a big outlay in signing Romelu Lukaku on a permanent basis from Chelsea with the fee they received for Andre Onana.

But the shock collapse of relations with the Belgian changed all of that.

Moreover, Inter had been aiming to bring in Cesar Azpilicueta on a free transfer from Chelsea to replace Milan Skriniar.

However, the Spaniard made a different decision. He joined Atletico Madrid instead.

Pavard & Scamacca Had “Sliding Doors” Moment With Inter & Atalanta

Inter’s initial strategy was to do something similar to what they were intending with Lukaku and Azpilicueta. They would invest in a striker, and sign a defender at low cost.

And Scamacca was the player who the Nerazzurri identified as a striker target.

Inter were in advanced negotiations with West Ham United for the Italian international.

Meanwhile, Atalanta’s Rafael Toloi was the inexpensive, experienced defender who Inter had considered bringing in after the pursuit of Azpilicueta fell through.

But then Scamacca chose Atalanta over Inter. And Toloi ended up staying at La Dea as well.

So Inter were back to square one. And instead of signing a striker for a big fee, the Nerazzurri made a relatively modest outlay to sign Marko Arnautovic from Bologna.

That left plenty of money in the budget to invest elsewhere.

Initially, Inter were ready to allocate that cash to midfield. Lazar Samardzic was on the verge of joining from Udinese, even completing a medical.

But the deal for Samardzic collapsed in dramatic fashion, and Inter were left scratching their heads as to how they would actually spend the money.

Finally, Inter decided to address one of the outstanding priorities of last summer window: replacing Skriniar in defense.

And the Nerazzurri spared no expense in doing so. With the money they had on hand, they went after the player they had considered the perfect target to replace Skriniar all along.

Inter paid over 30 million to Bayern to sign France international Pavard. That is the player who could be marking Scamacca this evening.

But, had Scamacca arrived a few weeks earlier, that signing likely never would have happened.