Nobody saw this one coming, but quite bizarrely it has happened. In a last-gasp move to free up some more money to sign Adem Ljajic from Roma, Inter have passed the services of Hernanes over to deadly rivals Juventus, on a truly bonkers last day of this summer's calciomercato. The Brazilian has joined the Bianconeri for a fee of €11m, payable over the course of three years, with another €2m set to come Inter's way after the realisation of some easily obtainable bonuses. The deal is reported by some sources to have been initiated by Inter themselves, aware that Juventus were on the hunt for a trequartista (after their pursuit of Julian Draxler amusingly failed), and aware that one final sacrifice would need to be made in order to hand Roberto Mancini another reinforcement on the wings (namely Ljajic, who has signed for us for a potentially similar fee).
It is the first transfer of any kind to take place between Inter and Juve since Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Patrick Vieira went from black and white to black and blue, back in the summer of 2006. Y'know, when Juventus were relegated to Serie B for cheating, and we got their Scudetto. Those match-fixing fools.
Anyway, enough of the tribalism. If you can stomach the fact that we've sort of just bailed Juventus out, by willingly selling them the kind of player they've been chasing without success for the last two months, this deal makes sense for us. When Hernanes was signed from Lazio for €15m, back in January 2014, never in your wildest dreams could you have imagined us managing to sell him on 18 months later for a similar fee. I am personally quite stunned that we have recouped €11m for an injury-prone 30 year-old, who has never justified the exorbitant fee we paid for him. Economically speaking, this is potentially a very wise move indeed.
However technically speaking you can also make sense of it. With the arrivals of Ivan Perisic and Adem Ljajic in the past week, it is now patently clear that Mancini has no intention whatsoever of persisting with the 4-3-1-2 system he has used since returning to Inter. This summer's transfer campaign has suggested heavily that such a formation was only ever a marriage of convenience, until he could bring in the players he wanted and propound the style of play he wanted - a suspicion which has now surely been confirmed by this sale. Given that we now have some wingers in our squad, 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 appear to be the two fairly similar directions we're headed in. (A 4-2-3-1, of course, requires a trequartista of the type we've just sold, but Jovetic, Perisic and Palacio could all play there if that were the case.) There are reasons to have misgivings about such a deal, but to be honest I would have far more of them if I were a Juve fan.
Despite this, I wish Hernanes nothing but success in Gobbi land. He has not lived up to the hype, having initially been billed as the first real coup of the Erick Thohir era, but his meticulousness and professionalism have never been in doubt. Good luck to you. Just please don't do a somersault on us if you score at San Siro.