Let’s look back to the summer of 2015 for a moment. In early July, Inter officially unveiled their newest signing from AS Monaco, a young French midfielder named Geoffrey Kondogbia, and just so happened to beat out hated city rivals AC Milan for his signature. While the €30+ million price tag seemed steep to most Interisti, Kondogbia came with a reputation as one of the most promising midfielders in the world. There were certainly concerns about his readiness to play for a club of Inter’s size and in a league as tactical as Serie A, but Kondogbia’s sheer potential seemed to outweigh the negatives, and the deal was met with much optimism.
Fast forward to Fall 2016. After a fairly disappointing 2015/16 season under Roberto Mancini, Kondogbia featured in three of Inter’s first five matches under Frank de Boer.
Then he played Bologna...
After looking completely helpless in midfield, and making a crucial mistake that led to Bologna’s first goal, Kondogbia was emasculated by de Boer, and subbed-off after just 28 minutes. He would make just one more appearance under the Dutch manager.
At the time of Stefano Pioli’s arrival, Kondogbia’s future was very much in doubt. Many believed Inter would cut their losses in January and sell the player for pennies on the dollar. Then, the unthinkable happened. Pioli selected Kondogbia for his first Starting XI — in the Milan Derby. While Kondogbia’s performance was far from perfect, his hard work and tenacity earned Pioli’s trust.
Under Stefano Pioli, Kondogbia has played in 11 of Inter’s 14 matches in all competitions, and seems to have found the form that led so many to believe in his potential in the first place. He’s still battling with Marcelo Brozovic and Roberto Gagliardini for minutes in the midfield, but Kondogbia is currently an important player for Inter. When the two play together, his partnership with Gagliardini has been a joy to watch. Due to Brozovic’s injury, the young midfielders should see plenty of time together in the coming weeks, and may solidify themselves as Pioli’s go-to pivot.
Kondogbia’s confidence is also growing. His tremendous no-look pass highlighted what was an outstanding performance against Empoli on Sunday. Although Kondogbia was unable to change the result in the 1-0 loss to Juventus, his substitution at the start of the second half, and positive performance against the very best competition Italy has to offer, shows how far the Frenchman has come.
Kondogbia is a player in form, and at just 23-years-old, he is one that Inter fans are excited about again. It still remains to be seen if Kondogbia ever justifies the €30 million price tag, but the Frenchman’s recent performances are encouraging. At the very least, Kondogbia is starting to change the minds of so many who, just a few months ago, were willing to see the player leave in January. Geoffrey Kondogbia is finally making his mark, and that is good news for Inter Milan.