A week after agreeing a £36m deal to sign Real Madrid’s Achraf Hakimi on a five-year deal, Inter are favourites in the race to capture another highly-rated young defender: new free agent Malang Sarr, having departed boyhood club Nice after 15 years with the Ligue 1 side.
According to recent reports, the Serie A side are frontrunners for the France under-21 international’s signature – mainly due to the first-team football they can provide him.
The 21-year-old has long been linked with big moves across Europe.
He is among the rumoured targets Bundesliga side RB Leipzig are planning to approach, as they brace themselves for the sale of his compatriot Dayot Upamecano this summer.
Sarr made 20 appearances, including 16 Ligue 1 starts, before the campaign was suspended and ultimately ended in France as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Although he was honest about his eagerness for a new challenge, he sent a message to Nice supporters as the club announced he was departing for pastures new.
Hakimi signing proves Inter are building for future
Hakimi, who spent two years on-loan at Borussia Dortmund, was sold on the project that Antonio Conte and his coaching staff are building in Milan.
As quoted by his agent Alejandro Camano, he said: “Conte was always in contact with Hakimi – he talked to him about the club’s future project, so we decided to move to Inter.
“I believe that when a coach like Conte calls you and strongly insists on contacting you, this is evidence that he wants you to become an important piece in his project.”
BVB were keen to retain the Morocco international on a permanent deal themselves, though the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt their finances.
21-year-old Alessandro Bastoni has excelled in central defence this season, which highlights that Inter are building their squad with a promising long-term future in mind.
Milan Skriniar has been heavily linked with a Premier League move in recent seasons, with Manchester City said to be among those monitoring his progress.
Questions over Diego Godin’s form and suitability at the heart of Inter’s backline have been raised since his surprise switch from Atletico Madrid on a free last summer.
Dutch international Stefan de Vrij, who turned 28 in February, is enjoying his peak years – yet equally attracting interest from abroad too.
Sarr represents a shrewd acquisition for whoever is fortunate enough to sign him, although it’s refereshing to see Inter rivalling other top clubs for youngsters like this.