Sunday June 17 2018
Inter's Nainggolan dream

Radja Nainggolan had arguably his career best seasons under Luciano Spalletti and can recapture that form at Inter, argues Richard Hall.

The reaction when Radja Nainggolan was left out of Belgium’s World Cup squad is a sure indicator of the player’s ability. The shock was evident, as the powerful midfielder has been a key component of Roma’s success this season. It is true that he is not perfect and certain aspects off his off-field pastimes may raise an eyebrow, but that is why joining Inter under a Coach that knows him looks like an excellent move. For the Nerazzurri too, the transfer could offer a cheaper option to Rafinha which would suit their current financial climate.

The Belgian midfielder is reportedly heading to Milan as long as the final transfer fee can be settled on. Personal terms are said to have been agreed, with the only sticking point being whether the Giallorossi will accept the €25m, plus a player from Inter’s talented Primavera squad.

This week a potential obstacle emerged, as UEFA’s ruling on Inter’s Financial Fair Play situation potentially threatened to upset the deal. The Nerazzurri had agreed that they would continue to balance the books and make sure that sales of other assets would offset any purchase.

The other worry would be the reduction of their Champions League squad size, from 25 to 22 players. It has been confirmed however, that Nainggolan would be included on the UEFA list and be eligible for the competition as long as Inter make a sale of equal value (individually or collectively). With Joao Mario, Gabriel Barbosa, Yuto Nagatomo, Eder, Jonathan Biabiany and the fact that Valencia has purchased Geoffrey Kondogbia, this seems possible.

Another upside of this is that the Belgian will be cheaper than purchasing Rafinha, who has been excellent for the Nerazzurri in the second half of the season. The €40m tag had seemingly been off-putting, despite the club wanting to make his move permanent.

Spalletti instead will reunite with a player who he coached at Roma to great effect. In the Eternal City, the former Roma boss used an interchangeable 3-4-2-1/4-2-3-1 with Nainggolan sitting behind Edin Dzeko in a hybrid No 10 role.

He moved the Belgian from the left-hand side and asked him to sit in behind the striker, with his main task being to supply the wide men and the Bosnian front man. This worked to an unprecedented level, as he became the anthesis of the modern-day midfielder. He was well rounded, athletic, strong, had good technique and an eye for goal. His ball recovery and his domination of central areas will be a huge asset to Inter and Mauro Icardi will certainly get supply.

Inter have for some time now often seen the play break down in the midfield areas and the passing has been too slow, allowing the opposition to regroup. This is why Rafinha has invigorated Spalletti’s side after the January arrival, as he could create something out of nothing, but Nainggolan arguably offers the same, if not more.

The fact that upon receiving the ball he doesn’t panic and has the vision and composure to make the right decision, will give the Nerazzurri a different aspect to their game and his enjoyment of shooting from distance will help take some of the burden off Mauro Icardi. Last season he managed six goals and 11 assists, but the year before he scored 12 times and assisted seven. When you consider all of his other qualities and the responsibility he takes, this is not a bad return.

If Inter can get this signing over the line then Spalletti will have a player he can trust, knows how to handle and who is fresh from the lack of a World Cup.

The price may have to be raised somewhat, but the recent reports show that it is within the Nerazzurri’s reach. Should the Belgian swap Rome for Milan this summer then Inter will go into next season looking much stronger than in previous years, especially with their other signings so far.

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Have your say...
Francesco Pjanic had his release clause activated. He wanted to leave. Nothing Roma can do to stop it. Roma sold a player who's 30 for $24 million euros.
on the 23rd June, 2018 at 12:04am
Probably a good deal for both clubs. Inter want to make a name for themselves again and Radja will help them do that. No doubt Roma's best player - he wins games single-handedly. Roma need to sell their best until they have positive cash-flow. They're moving an experienced player to make way for new names.
on the 21st June, 2018 at 11:57pm
It's a great deal for Roma. Pastore,Santon and Zaniolo in for 20m+4m bonuses, and Nainggolan out for 24m.
on the 21st June, 2018 at 6:46pm
Roma showing good business sense again. $24 million plus Nicolo Zaniolo, a promising under 19 player.
on the 21st June, 2018 at 6:44pm
This is so typical Roma, sell their best players to their nearest rivals. I don't understand why Roma fans do not protest more because since I can remember this transfer policy of selling our top players to the likes of juve, milan, inter has always been. Would Juve have ever sold Buffon or del piero to roma? Never but roma will sell pjanic, and the list goes on. Also if they are not selling to rivals they sell for cheap. Salah to Liverpool be a prime example. Roma boards are a disgrace!
on the 21st June, 2018 at 1:33am
Only include Zaniolo if have buy back clause.
on the 18th June, 2018 at 7:28pm
INTER are couple of years too late with this deal, but still makes sense. Now Radja is a complete midfielder that can further enhance INTER, but let`s not forget that INTER lost Cancelo and Rafinha. Monchi knows that he wants to get rid of high wage + old smoking player, and Zaniolo is reported to be the best young talent among the Primavera Champions of INTER. The only question regarding the buy-back clause: for how many years will it be valid for INTER? You can`t assess a young player in 1year
on the 18th June, 2018 at 7:58am
on the 18th June, 2018 at 3:16am
If he is able to keep Inter in Cl for next 2 year then it'd be a good deal for Inter
on the 17th June, 2018 at 3:37pm
roma could have sold him last summer to chelsea for 50 million euros now they are taking 35 plus a youth player i thought roma didn't need to sell any of its players. I have reservations about this for both inter and roma firstly in current climate how is their a affordable replacement out their for radja in a inflated market. secondly why sell to inter if they are both competing for a top 4 finish it seems to be a bad deal for both parties at least from my perspective.
on the 17th June, 2018 at 3:29pm
I didn’t think that Nianggolan turned up for some of Roma big games last season. I agree he is still a good player and maybe will improve Inter 11,but I think if he was that important for Roma he wouldn’t be going and with Belgium he would of gone to Russia.
on the 17th June, 2018 at 10:44am
on the 17th June, 2018 at 10:24am
Any smart aporting director would know not to sell Nainggolan, at least not to your league competitors. Monchi hope you don't disappoint us. Forza Roma!
on the 17th June, 2018 at 8:00am
He probably has 2 years in him. Inter going for hand-me-downs as always.
on the 17th June, 2018 at 3:55am
Although in principal I think a signing of Nainggolan's quality can only strengthen Inter's midfield to have to potentially lose nicolo zaniolo on full ownership to Roma will hurt Inter for years to come! Is it worth it for a few years of Nainggolan? I don't think so and Inter will regret this deal in years to come.
on the 17th June, 2018 at 2:28am

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