The Milan Derby over Sandro Tonali is over. Milan have secured their man, but quite simply Inter let them have him. It has been some time since a transfer target that both clubs wanted has caused so much debate, many of the Nerazzurri persuasion are vexed, as they see short-termism, while the Rossoneri think they have just signed Andrea Pirlo reborn. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in between. Perhaps the circumstances surrounding the deal could see both Milan sides still in very good positions.
It is understandable for fans of the Nerazzurri to be angry over this matter. Missing one of Italy’s brightest midfielders to your city rivals hurts, there is no getting away from that. Teaming Tonali up with Nicolò Barella and Stefano Sensi does sound tantalising, yet Inter pulled out of this deal. At the time of writing, the Beneamata turned their backs on the 35m Euro deal they had in place with Brescia that had been negotiated back in April.
It’s reported this was so Antonio Conte could focus on other targets like Arturo Vidal and N’Golo Kante. This allowed Milan to swoop in and agree a loan deal worth 10m Euro up front with a 20m Euro obligation to buy at the end of the campaign. This was less that Inter’s bid, but Massimo Cellino still managed to negotiate a 10-15 per cent cut of future sales.
So why did Inter let this happen? As much as the fans want to think that everything that happens at the club should be for the long-term future, they also have to understand that Antonio Conte is here for a reason. He wants to win now; this is about his career, him making a mark and potentially him moving on. He did not care what the Juventus fans thought about him coming to Inter and he possibly cares little about Inter winning the Scudetto in 10 years’ time. He does however, care about next season.
Whilst we are talking about the ‘new Pirlo’ this perhaps needed mentioning. Just as nobody knows if Tonali will turn out be one of the best in the game (so far it looks like he will), it is even less known whether another long-haired man will be a successful coach at Juventus. It is very probable that the charismatic Pirlo will get a tune out of Juventus, but for the rest of Serie A and Inter in particular, this is a massive opportunity to end their domination.
Conte’s project is gathering pace, this Inter team have purpose and are not far away from winning silverware. Conte needs players he can trust, whether Vidal or Kante, and he feels that their acquisition would be more beneficial so that Inter can win now. Would fans trade a Scudetto for Tonali? Conte is certainly gambling and he believes that resources should be spent on immediate success.
If that is Inter’s gamble, then so be it, Conte will be judged no doubt if it fails. Milan can also feel happy with their push for Tonali. The Rossoneri have got a player for the future, a player for now, who fits the project perfectly. Milan’s rebuild is at a different stage to Inter’s, they also needed this success in the market as a sign that under Elliott Management they also are taking shape.
Irrespective of Inter backing out of this deal, this is a coup for the Diavolo, and it has kept one of Italy’s brightest talents from going abroad. Paolo Maldini will be rightly happy with himself as he sits back in his chair tonight with his favourite red wine, these signings are exactly what Milan should be focusing on.
Perhaps not a popular take on the situation is that Milan as a city win in the Derby Della Tonali. The Rossoneri have a new bright young thing that can help them start to dream about getting back where a club with their history belong. Inter strategically decided to move away from Tonali to redirect funds to help an outright assault on Juventus next season. This may not have been palatable to some, but if they win the Scudetto, perhaps come back and edit the comments section below.
As the old saying goes, for Italian football to be successful, you need a strong Juventus and two strong Milan clubs, so we are getting there.
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