Wednesday October 28 2020
Inter’s majestic Moroccan threat

As Inter fail to take their chances in Ukraine, Richard Hall focuses on Hakimi’s influence since arriving in Milan and looks at how he is more than just a ‘bright young thing.'

Achraf Hakimi has taken Serie A by storm since his arrival in the summer. The former Real Madrid full-back has not just settled immediately but has set the bar for what the modern full-back needs to be. He was outstanding in Ukraine, even though Inter failed to beat Shaktar Donetsk but as the honours were shared, the Moroccan can look back on his performance with pride. If Antonio Conte can learn how to unleash him further, he could help Inter become a much more potent team to face.

Had it not been for the brilliance of Shakhtar’s 19-year-old goalkeeper, Anatoliy Trubin, Lautaro Martinez’s inexplicable miss and the unfortunate placement of the post, then Inter could have managed to grab all three points. Conte used this narrative as he praised the performance of his team whilst also referencing the amount of games played. Whilst these points can be taken on board, the second half display was disappointing and the lack of creativity seems to be a new constant meaning that the team are left hoping that Romelu Lukaku can make the difference.

The creativity issue seems to be laid directly at the feet of the trequartista. Whether this be Nicolo Barella, Christian Eriksen or anyone else, it is seen to be these players who are supposed to unlock the defences even if they sit back deep in numbers as Donetsk did on Tuesday night. This is where arguably Conte is missing a trick. Last night Hakimi was seen on the right (especially in the second half) screaming for the ball and yet receiving it far too little. This was a surprise as his effectiveness had been exhibited against Genoa who at the time were doing exactly the same thing and sitting deep. When Hakimi came on, he was not afraid to terrorise the right hand side meaning that the Genoa players had to overload on him to protect themselves. This allowed Barella space and the Inter goal was forthcoming.

To have a full back as one of your most dangerous attacking options is not a new thing, albeit a modern characteristic. Liverpool showed how Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander Arnold could cause chaos for opposition defences last season. Since Hakimi arrived in Milan and took to the field against Fiorentina, his quality was obvious. He created an assist in that game and then scored and created one more against Benevento. His displays against Lazio and Milan were strong and the influence in the game against Genoa has been discussed.

Against Shaktar, he again showed why he is so highly thought of. Even in the opening minutes he could be seen committing himself high up the pitch but when the move broke down he recovered like and Olympic sprinter. His defensive duties are not ignored and he won all his aerial battles and those on the ground last night. His passing accuracy has never dipped below 83% (against Milan) but mostly is 90% or above. The 21-year-old is very quickly becoming one of the most important players in the squad.

Inter will continue to come up against teams that sit back and defend with six or more. This is the result of the fear that Lukaku and Martinez put in defences and when this happens, they will need to break them down. Admittedly, Hakimi cannot do this on his own and the left sided full back will also need to be able to stretch the other flank but there is no doubt that his electric pace and sublime confidence to both supply dangerous balls in and threaten goal, is a monumental asset. The space this will create for the midfield will allow them to find the opposition more often and let us not forget that even in today’s games crosses from wide areas are still a threat.

There has been much said and written about the way Conte and Inter are performing at present and it certainly seems to divide opinion. Hakimi is certainly a light that shines through the incoming clouds however and Inter can be glad they have him. It may sound strange to say, put your hopes in a 21-year-old full back but he is much more than that. So far, he is an example to the rest of the team as he is making the most of his enormous talent.





Have your say...
@Inter Fan

"As a fan you wouldn’t want to lose one of your best players, but your club would do it in a heart beat. "

Again, they already rejected offer at a high price.. I don't consider him as one of our best players either, he lacks def qualities. But I don't think Hakimi is better as Theo is greatly better going forward, prob top 5 in the world atm.
on the 31st October, 2020 at 7:28am
@Inter Fan

" Pretty sure FFP is being enforced again this season, your finances are still poor and you would prob be banned from CL if you even made it."

Lol, this is interesting, why on earth would we be that? We didn't spend our budget, we sold players to make an profit, except for paqueta, we lowered wages vastly and loaned player instead of buying. Not sure you really keep up with FFP...Inter on the other hand, YOU have spent tons.
on the 31st October, 2020 at 7:26am
The only reason he’d go to inter is because he apparently loves Italy and the city of Milan. However he is ours and the only way we will lose him is if we have more financial issues or the club doesn’t make CL. But I think we would push him to go outside of Italy. Saying that, I’m sure a call from conte would probably be pretty hard to say no to. There are rumors here in Italy that Madrid may have an unofficial buy back agreement in a year to help our finances out!
on the 31st October, 2020 at 2:28am
@viktor - 50m is a lot for a fb, we didn’t even spend that on hakimi who’s better. As a fan you wouldn’t want to lose one of your best players, but your club would do it in a heart beat. Pretty sure FFP is being enforced again this season, your finances are still poor and you would prob be banned from CL if you even made it. And why join inter? Just like eriksen (although guessing he regrets it now lol) and hakimi, these players could go anywhere in the world and chose inter 4 the project.
on the 31st October, 2020 at 12:36am

"Without Covid, Inter might have the fund, 30-40 million seems fair"

First of all, they would never seem him for that amount, +50m and we already said no to that

Second of all, why on earth would he go to Inter??
on the 30th October, 2020 at 10:09am
Is Biraghi world class? probably not, but he provides variety and the exact type of player Inter currently don't have. He's also faster than any current Inter left back. To have a good squad you need more than world class players on every position. Both Young and Perisic are the same type of players and none of them are naturally left-footed. Conte doesn't seem to really trust Kolarov at LWB even though he'd be miles better there than Young and Perisic. Failing to get Alonso/Emerson was fatal.
on the 30th October, 2020 at 5:04am
@inter Biraghi's "not that good" gave us 6 assists in 18 apps last season. This season he had already produced 3 for Fiorentina. He also averaged 1.5 crosses per game, the most in the squad. By comparison Young averaged 0.4 despite playing only 5 less games. Inter are currently severely lacking in dangerous balls from wide, which were provided consistently by Biraghi and Candreva last season. Their attack pattern is monotone relying too much on individual brilliance and lacking option from wide.
on the 30th October, 2020 at 5:00am
@conte inter - agreed stronger italy reflects better on all of us! Milan have come a long way over the last few seasons, but still lots of work to go. Need new owners like Suning who can stabilise the company, Singer just wants to build us up to sell to the highest bidder. We need to get stronger in the commercial side like you guys did. I feel like we are kind of where you were at with thohir and when pioli was in charge.
on the 29th October, 2020 at 10:26pm
@viktor - yes one dribble (which has been a nightmare on my fb feed ever since) but i was more referring to the way the ball constantly went to him or through him, completely threw theo's own game who no longer got in the right positions. Hopefully theo was watching and learning!! No doubt he has the potential to do the same one day.
on the 29th October, 2020 at 10:23pm
@anonymous - biraghi was a decent player but not that good, he did what any of inters full backs do, make runs and score. Young doesnt contribute? He scored something like 5 goals in 20 games last season and a handful of assists. He even missed a fair few too. Hakimi alone is showing how much better we are with the constant chances. Also inter have yet to play with a full squad this season, hard to say they have gotten weaker when we haven't seen the squad all together.
on the 29th October, 2020 at 10:20pm
Biraghi might not be fancy but he was a creative source for Inter along with Candreva last season. Perisic doesn't have the creativity to operate so wide, his crossing ability is mediocre. Young is solid but doesn't provide much going forward.
Candreva would've offered a different choice with his dangerous crosses and accurate long balls too. If he was still on the side Hakimi could've been pushed to the left.
It's quite telling that despite buying Hakimi, this Inter are weaker than last season.
on the 29th October, 2020 at 3:06pm
It's just a shame that Hakimi is the one of only two players with any semblance of flair in the Inter squad (the other being Alexis). Eriksen doesn't work because no one other than HAkimi made runs, Barella.. I'm not sure why Conte is so insistent on making him a creative force. He should be making runs, not passes. Sensi is always injured and Brozo, while great at dictating from deep, doesn't have that final killer pass.

Letting Biraghi go and not signing proper replacement was a HUGE mistake.
on the 29th October, 2020 at 3:01pm
@MilanFan, I once told a milan fan in this site about whom inter fans want next after getting hakimi. Theo is my choice. Imagine Hakimi on the right & Theo on the left in 3-5-2. Theo's defensive ability is nowhere near as good as his attacking ability. Hence, playing in conte's 3-5-2 would unleash more of his potential, less defensive responsibility.
Without Covid, Inter might have the fund, 30-40 million seems fair

Broz should learn more of hakimi's movement & provide his trademark long-passes
on the 29th October, 2020 at 1:45pm
@Milan Fan

"I remember in the derby when hakimi embarrassed Theo. "

He dribbled nicely past him ONE time...
on the 29th October, 2020 at 10:51am
Hakimi is so elegant and effortless in his running style, he takes care of the entire right flank on his own. What a player. If Inter could find something similar for the left, albeit likely to be slightly inferior that would be a huge upgrade on what they currently have.
on the 29th October, 2020 at 9:52am
@milan fan appreciate the comments! But Inter signed Hakimi because he is already a top 5 wing back in world football, he shouldnt be compared with theo, who is proving everyone wrong with his awesome performances! Thanks for the well wishes in CL, i think the better inter performs, the more it benefits italy and serie a teams in general! You guys are certainly playing a lot better, keep head up, reminds me of inter 3-4 seasons ago when we started getting better!
on the 29th October, 2020 at 1:29am
As good as Theo is, I think Hakimi walks in as best full/wing back in the league. And he’s still so young!! Would be surprised if inter can hold onto him for long. I remember in the derby when hakimi embarrassed Theo. Imagine both of them on the same team!! We would never have had the money to do this deal but this is exactly the signing Milan needs!!! Bad luck inter, performances in Europe not reflecting results, hopefully you smash real!!
on the 28th October, 2020 at 10:43pm
He is an incredible player. I wish Inter and him well.
on the 28th October, 2020 at 10:25pm
The Shakhtar match, I can't recall how many times I've seen Inter players initiating runs behind the high defensive line Shakhtar adopted, but all these runs were given very little service from the ball holder, namely Brozo, Vidal and Bastoni..they just wouldn't send the ball. I'd love to know why..
on the 28th October, 2020 at 4:38pm

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