Sunday June 28 2020
Kharja: 'Inter tracking Hakimi for years'

Inter’s swoop for Achraf Hakimi seemed to come out of nowhere, but Houssine Kharja reveals this has been in the works for at least two years. ‘Antonio Conte’s system is perfect for him.’

A deal was done with Real Madrid for €40m plus €5m in bonuses, after his loan spell with Borussia Dortmund expired, and he’s expected in Italy for a medical over the next 48 hours.

The Nerazzurri kept the entire negotiation process secret from even the most in-the-know reporters, with Hakimi apparently giving them his word six weeks ago.

However, former Inter and Morocco player Kharja gave some insight into how far back this goes.

“(Inter director Piero) Ausilio has been tracking him for a long time. When he was at Real Madrid and not really playing two-and-a-half years ago, Ausilio asked me several times about him,” revealed Kharja.

“He’s wonderful and in all my years playing for Morocco, I’ve never seen a talent like his. He is very intelligent and will know how to adapt to Italian football. It might be a struggle initially when it comes to defending, so he will need a little help with that. After all, Maicon had trouble at first and then went on to win the Treble.

“Hakimi isn’t afraid of anything, just like me. He’s played in Madrid and Dortmund, he won the Champions League. The San Siro crowd can only fire him up.”

It’s reported Hakimi turned down more money from Manchester City and Bayern Munich, as he believes Conte’s Inter is a more suitable project for his style of football.

“Conte’s system is perfect for him,” agrees Kharja.

The 21-year-old right-back will play on the right side of midfield in Conte’s 3-4-1-2 formation next season.

Hakimi scored nine goals with 10 assists in 45 competitive games for Borussia Dortmund this term.

Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £9.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: