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Checking in with Inter’s Exports/Part 2: Sales

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This is part two of a two-segment series on players that have left the gates of the San Siro since the 2019/20 season. In this episode, we look at notable players Inter has sold and see how they’ve been replaced.

Earlier this week we looked at Inter’s loanees and what’s become of them. It ranged from deadwood on a loan merry-go-round waiting to find a permanent home to promising youngsters that just need a little more playing time to turn their potential into something tangible. Now we look at players who have completely cut ties with the Nerazzurri in the past two seasons and how leaving the San Siro affected their careers.

The Sales

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Gabriel Barbosa

Though Gabigol last donned an Inter jersey in January 2017, Inter didn’t get him off the books entirely until three years later, and that’s enough for the Brazilian to qualify for this list. Despite costing Inter €27/$32 million in the summer of 2016, Gabigol made only ten appearances for Inter, good enough for €147, 540 a minute. He scored one goal for the Nerazzurri before departing on loans to Benefica, Santos FC, and Flamengo. It was at the latter where he’s been most successful and after a season-long loan, the Brazilian club made his transfer permanent for €16 million in January 2020. He’s been one of the Rubro-Negro’s best players, scoring 55 and assisting 17 in 81 games. Gabigol has won two Brazilian Serie A’s, one Copa Libertadores, one Recopa Sudamerica, and one Brazilian Supercup. He’s by far the most successful on this list, and at 24 is already one of the best players in South America. Even so, the form of LuLa has wiped away any regrets (if they even existed) over Gabigol’s departure.

Genoa CFC v UC Sampdoria - Serie A Photo by Loris Roselli/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Antonio Candreva

A much more recent departure is that of Antonio Candreva. The 34-year-old moved on loan to Sampdoria last summer, though the Blucerchiati will pay Inter €2 million to make the move permanent this June. Candreva made 40 appearances for Inter last season but the arrivals of Achraf Hakimi and Mateo Darmian made the ex-Lazio player redundant. Sampdoria, however, was happy to make a place for Candreva and took him on loan with obligation to buy. The investment has been worth it, with Candreva notching five goals and four assists in 25 appearances. He’s started all but seven of the Genoa side’s Serie A games, usually as the right midfielder in Claudio Ranieri’s 4-4-2. With a contract running until 2024, Sampdoria clearly see his technical skill remaining an asset even as Candreva nears retirement.

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Diego Godin

Candreva wasn’t the only veteran to depart the Appiano over the summer. Diego Godin, who had only arrived a year prior as a free agent from Atletico Madrid, made the move south to Cagliari. The Uruguyan made 36 appearances in his sole season for Inter, including starts in all of the Nerazzurri’s Europa League games. But his high salary meant Godin’s stay in Milan was shortlived, even if it meant Inter was a little short on centerback depth. The 35-year-old has a lock on a starting role at Cagliari, will all of his 19 appearances coming as starts. He hasn’t been in great form however, with Cagliari boasting the 6th worst defense in the league (48 goals conceded in 28 games). Godin has looked a step off and made quite a few more errors than expected from a player of his quality and experience. That, plus Milan Skriniar’s incredible form, makes the decision to cut Godin loose over the summer look like the correct one in hindsight.

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Mauro Icardi

While the cases of Candreva and Godin are rather clear-cut, Mauro Icardi is anything but. The Argentine, who Inter bought for €12/$14 million in 2013 from Sampdoria, scored 124 goals and assisted 28 in 219 appearances for the Nerazzurri. Tensions detoriated towards the end of his time at Inter, however, and he left on loan to PSG for the 2019/20 season. The French club has since exercised its €47/$55 million option to buy. Icardi hasn’t been able to rediscover his best form, though, and he’s scored 27 and asisted 10 in 53 appearances. Moise Kean has even managed to rise above him in the pecking order this season and Icardi has scored just five in 15 games. The 28-year-old could already be on the way out of France and is reportedly a potential transfer target for AS Roma this summer.

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Yann Karamoh

Some players seem destined for a simple plusvalenza rather than actually making a name for themself at their parent club, and Yann Karamoh fits the bill. The Frenchman was bought in 2017 for €6/$7 million from SM Caen in Ligue 1. The attacker made 17 appearances in his sole season at Inter, scoring just once. Karamoh then departed on loans to Bordeaux and Parma for the next two seasons. It is the latter where the 22-year-old finds himself today after the Crociati bought him for €7.5/$9 million last summer. He’s yet to find any consistency, however, and despite being a lethal threat on the counter attack on his day, Karamoh has been limited to 2 goals and 2 assists in 23 appearances this season. With Parma looking likely relegation candidates, Karamoh could be on the move yet again this summer.

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Matteo Politano

Another attacker that didn’t quite pan out in Milan is Matteo Politano. Inter paid Sassuolo €19/$23 million for his services, but the Italian contributed a mere 6 goals and 6 assists in 63 appearances across the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons. In January of 2020 Politano departed on a season and a half loan with a €17/$20 purchase obligation. His first season in Naples, however, left much to be desired and Politano tallied only two goals and two assists in 20 games. This season the Italian has been able to at least partly rediscover his Sassuolo form, scoring 11 and assisting 5 in 39 showings. Politano has found his greatest success as a right winger under Gennaro Gattuso, a position that doesn’t exist in Antonio Conte’s set-up. Moving on from Inter was the right call for both player and club, while Politano could even put himself back in the conversation for the Italian national team if his current form lasts.

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Borja Valero

il Sindaco departed Inter as a free agent last summer to rejoin Fiorentina, the club where he spent five seasons before a €6/$7 million move to Milan in 2017. While La Viola’s season has been nothing short of disaterous, the return of their beloved midfielder has been a bright spot in Florence. The Spaniard has made 18 appearances this season (3 starts) and is currently at 231 all time appearances for Fiorentina. Valero could take up a coaching or administrative role at La Viola when his contract expires this summer and seems likely to remain in the calcio world even after his playing days are up.


Zinho Vanheusden

Last up is Standard Leige’s 21-year-old centerback Zinho Vanhuesden. Despite not making any first-team appearances for the Nerazzurri, Vanhuesden was valued at €10/$12 million by the Belgian club, who bought him in the summer of 2019 after a season-long loan. He’s made 72 showings for Liege, but suffered a cruciate ligament rupture in November and hasn’t played since. That’s the second time he’s suffered the same injury; the first was in 2017 with Inter. The centerback has a bright future ahead of him nonetheless, and could be a potential option at Inter if he can continue his development when fully fit. While we may not see him at the San Siro for a while, keep an eye on Vanhuesden for the future.

Would you want any of these players on the current Inter roster? Which sales were the smartest? Let us know in the comments below.

Forza Inter!