Few would have expected Robin Gosens to don the Nerazzurri of Milano rather than Bergamo a week ago, but the January transfer window sprung a welcome surprise for Inter (and thankfully spared us from the joy of a drawn-out transfer saga). With Gosens all but officially an Inter player, AtalantaPassione was kind enough to lend us his lengthy knowledge of the German from his five seasons at the Gewiss Stadium. He runs the superb website AtalantaPassione on all things La Dea and you can follow him on Twitter here.
Q: What’s the take on this move from Atalanta’s perspective? Do you think La Dea got a fair price? Why sell now?
A: Atalanta has built up nice depth this year to support Gosens on the wing, and ever since Gosens suffered his injury in October, both Joakim Maehle and Giuseppe Pezzella have filled in well. So given that Atalanta has seemingly found capable replacements, I can understand management’s decision to make the inevitable move to cash in on a player whose future earning power is probably outside of Atalanta’s budget. Nonetheless, it is still surprising to see the move come this winter market, much more so to a direct rival in the top 4 race. As fair or unfair as it is to Jeremie Boga – his 20-25M euro price tag will now always be my benchmark on the rating if a transfer feels under or overvalued. If Gosens indeed is going to Inter for only 25M, on the Boga scale this personally feels low to me. However, Atalanta may be wanting to cash in at his perceived highest value, not wanting to take the risk that he’s worth less this summer if his injury continues to linger on. There’s probably some injury risk played into this price, but it feels like Atalanta could have gotten more for him if they took the gamble and waited to sell him in the summer.
Q: What impact does Gosens leave in Bergamo? What will you remember him for the most?
A: Besides the obvious class and skill he possesses, I think he’ll be most known for two things. First, he’s another unearthed gem from Atalanta’s seemingly bottomless scouting dossier and will continue to be linked with the likes of Franck Kessie, Cristian Romero, Timothy Castagne, etc. who saw their value skyrocket playing in Bergamo. Second, he is synonymous with the wingback to wingback connection. Everyone who watches an Atalanta match will quickly notice how frequently the wingbacks are duking it out to create chances for themselves. No one embodies that more than Gosens, and it probably led to his best goal in black and blue – in which he iced Atalanta’s victory at Anfield in the last Champion’s League campaign (probably my favorite goal from him).
Q: What are Gosens’ biggest strengths? How would you use the German if you were Simone Inzaghi?
A: His finishing and positional awareness for a wingback is off the charts, and there may not be anyone in Europe who can compete with him on that front. But pretty much everyone knows that already! I don’t think he gets enough credit for his defensive work. While he’s not an elite defender, he is very adept at his role defensively, as well as an asset on aerial duels during the run of play and set pieces. Given that Inzaghi already employs a 3-5-2 formation, Gosens can naturally slot in on the left. He won’t hug the touch as much as Perisic to provide offensive width, but I can see him becoming a lethal target in the box still. I just wouldn’t expect as much offensive to flow through him on as assault forward.
Q: Are there any areas Gosens needs to improve in? Will he be a good fit at the San Siro?
A: Gosens is always looking to score when the opportunity arises, but at times he can be selfish inside the box. He’ll almost get tunnel vision and tries to will a ball into the back of the net, instead of passing off to a teammate that may be in a better position to shoot. But that just goes to show his win at all costs mentality that will fit right in with the project that Inter has going right now. It’s a shame to see him leave for a direct rival, but at least he’ll continue to shine in Serie A until his beloved Shalke is able to climb back into the Bundesliga!