When Simone Inzaghi released his first-ever preseason squad as Inter manager, there was one notable absentee alongside the Nerazzurri’s long list of internationals: Zinho Vanheusden. The 21-year-old defender is scheduled to return from two and a half years at Standard Liege this summer but doesn’t appear to be setting up shop in Milan for very long. According to Sky Sport Italia, Inter will loan Vanheusden out to either Spezia, Genoa, or Bologna for the 2021/22 season, though he’ll remain in the Nerazzurri’s long term plans.
Vanheusden was purchased by Standard Liege for €11 million to raise funds back in the summer of 2019 but both clubs had an agreement that Inter would buy him back in 2021. According to Gazzetta dello Sport Inter sent €16 million back to Belgium in return for Vanheusden’s services. The center-back will soon be on the move again, however, as Inzaghi excluded him from the preseason roster. On the other hand both Lucien Agoume and Federico Dimarco made the list after spending the 2020/21 campaign on loan, so we may be seeing more of them this coming season.
Vanheusden’s time at Standard was marred by two major knee injures. He was sidelined for 124 days in 2019 with knee surgery before a cruciate ligament rupture (the second time he suffered that injury) ruled him out for 176 days across 2020 and 2021. While undoubtedly a talented player, three major knee injuries by age 21 is a cause for concern. When not injured Vanheusden was a frequent contributor for Liege and made 76 appearances (61 starts) across all competitions. He added a Belgian Cup to the Primavera Scudetto and Coppa Italia he won in the Inter youth system.
A loan move to a Serie A side will see Vanheusden follow in the footsteps of Alessandro Bastoni, though his development is understandably a few years delayed thanks to his injury history. Consistent playing time in Italy’s top-flight will give Inter an extensive look at Vanheusden and when/if he’ll be ready for the Nerazzurri first-team.