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Inter sign Kondogbia after usurping Milan at the last minute

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The Monaco midfielder looked set to join the Rossoneri after a crazy day of dealings in Southern France, but one final push from Piero Ausilio and Marco Fassone snatched the Frenchman's signature out from under their noses

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OK, OK. There is a heck of a long way still to go in this transfer window, of course, and it wouldn't be any sort of surprise to see Erick Thohir and co. carry out some unspeakably awful business between now and September. That is perfectly true. But right here, right now, it's time for a bit of optimism. And a lot of laughter.

So, just in case you somehow haven't already heard, here's the news: Inter have agreed a deal to sign French midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia from Monaco, for a fee somewhere between €35m and €40m (a lot of different figures have been reported). The club agreed a deal with their counterparts from the principality on Saturday morning after originally submitting an offer of around €30m, with the player having put pen to paper on a five-year contract. His medical took place successfully in Milan on Monday afternoon, which means he is now officially Inter's third-most expensive signing ever, behind Christian Vieri and Hernan Crespo respectively. His wages are reported to be in excess of €4m per season (although again, reports differ wildly) - which would make him the highest paid player currently at the club - and there are also a series of performance-related bonuses on top of that. In short, we are spending one heck of a lot of money on this player.

So far it all sounds pretty straightforward - but in fact securing this deal was anything but. This is where it gets amusing. Up until Friday night, it was Milan who were set to sign Kondogbia, having offered almost exactly the same financial package as Inter - but in advance of them. When Adriano Galliani and his colleagues finished dinner with the player and his family on Thursday night, everything except Kondogbia's personal agreement was in place for them, but a quite extraordinary day of toing and froing between us and them then threw everything up in the air again. At one point on Friday evening, Team Ausilio and Team Galliani were actually having dinner on separate tables in the same restaurant - trying to negotiate a deal for the same player! It was, as the saying goes, a case of two bald men fighting over a Kondogbia.

Something like that, anyway.

In the end, two things appear to have tipped the balance in Inter's favour - Ausilio and Fassone's successful meeting with the player's representatives in Monaco on Saturday morning (at which point it seems we raised our offer again), and a direct phone call made by Roberto Mancini to the player himself on Friday. Kondogbia is said to have been more convinced by Inter's 'project' than Milan's, which is what was driving both parties at the aforementioned meeting earlier today. Either that or we just chucked more money at him.

Regardless of what genuinely sealed the deal though, the dust has now settled on what the Gazzetta dello Sport dubbed a "KondoDerby" and it's the Nerazzurri who have triumphed, just when it had looked like they were going to lose out.

Please now take a moment to laugh.

Of course, once you get past the hilarity of us successfully hijacking one of Milan's transfers, this deal provides thousands more questions than it does answers. Where on earth has this money come from? Is it the most useful way of spending that money? What does this mean for our pursuit of Gianelli Imbula? What does this mean for the future of Mateo Kovacic...? And, er, is Kondogbia really worth anything like €35m? For instance, he only made four senior appearances for France and only scored four goals in 64 appearances for Monaco. Have we been complicit in our own mugging here? Don't we still have an entire team to construct?

Right now, who knows. Given how many times this story alone twisted and turned before its happy conclusion, it's impossible to really believe anything with conviction anymore. Everything is a blur. What we do now know for sure though is that Geoffrey Kondogbia is now an Inter Milan player. For better or for worse, our transfer window is well and truly under way.

And we gave Milan's backsides a real kicking in the process.