At what point should a club cut its losses with a player? After a bad season? After two? After a bust-up with the manager? Does it matter if the player cost a lot of money? If he’s young? If he has a lot of potential? These are the questions that Inter officials will be asking throughout the next few months concerning Geoffrey Kondogbia.
Since Kondogbia’s arrival last summer, fans have been waiting to see the performances that made Inter decide to give over €30m to Monaco in order snatch him from AC Milan’s clutches. There have been times where the Frenchman has shown the power, drive, and tenacity that could allow him to become a star. When he is on his game the 23 year old can sit deep and break up opposition plays, then make lung-bursting runs forward to get the ball to the feet of the attackers.
The problem is those aforementioned traits has rarely been displayed in his time with the Nerazzurri. Too often Kondogbia has looked lost in possession, unsure of what pass to make and either slowing down the play or getting dispossessed; or lost in his positioning, unsure of when to make runs forward and when to sit back and protect the backline. There were hopes that De Boer’s 4231 would allow him to flourish, but his 28 minute cameo against Bologna quickly dashed most of those thoughts. After being dispossessed which lead to Inter conceding a goal, the manager pulled him off in the first half for Gnoukouri and proceeded to bash him in the press conference (we can only imagine what FdB said to him privately). He hasn’t made an appearance since.
There are two major paths Kondogbia’s Inter story can go from here. One option is that public humiliation can serve as a transforming moment for him, the event that causes him to knuckle down in training, learn what De Boer wants from him, and become the player that so many hoped he could be. The other option is that withdrawal causes him to withdraw from the rest of the team and he just floats through the training sessions waiting for an opportunity to jump ship, an opportunity which could come in January.
Reports suggest that Liverpool is willing to take Geoffrey Kondogbia in the winter transfer market. Jurgen Klopp has apparently expressed interest in the midfielder and the English club has floated the idea of taking Kondogbia on a loan for the remainder of the season. Interestingly enough the reports also state that Inter is not looking to simply let him go on loan but would be willing to make a sale.
I don’t know what to say about this. I do know if the club sells Kondogbia in January it will be at a loss, there’s no way Inter would be able to recoup the money spent on him. Part of me still hopes that he can find his form under this new system, but the signs aren’t promising. Kondogbia has a little over two months to get his act together, otherwise Piero Ausilio and the others will have to answer those questions that started this article and another promising young player could walk out of Appiano Gentile for the last time.