Inter have announced the purchase of Radja Nainggolan from Roma on Tuesday. The Nerazzurri have paid €24M in cash and included the fullback Davide Santon and the prospect Davide Zaniolo in the deal, for a package worth €38M in total. The 30-year-old has signed a four-year contract.
Nainggolan joined La Lupa from Cagliari in January of 2014 and quickly became one of the most complete midfielders around, dramatically improving the offensive contribution that appeared to be his weakness in his younger years. He is coming off a solid, but not spectacular, season, where he scored six times and racked up eleven assists in 42 matches and not always looked at ease in Eusebio Di Francesco’s schemes.
At Inter, he will reunite with coach Luciano Spalletti: he had his best year with him at the helm at Giallorossi in 2016/2017, where he was primarily used as attacking midfielder, a role in which he was free to roam and contributed greatly in the team’s high pressing. He tallied 14 scores and seven assists in 53 games that season. Unless the Beneamata make some other moves, he is set to take Rafinha’s spot in the starting lineup. He can also be used also in the holding position and he is tailor-made for a three-man midfield, should the coach decide to go in that direction.
Nainggolan leaves Roma after three and a half seasons, where he collected 203 appearances and 33 goals. Always a fan favourite, he is also known for rubbing people the wrong way, as evidenced by his way too frequent exclusions from the Belgian national team both under Marc Wilmots and Roberto Martinez. He was slapped with a €200k fine by the club for a drunken post on Instagram on New Year’s Day and his behaviour off the pitch is not always impeccable.
Monchi and the rest of the brass decided it was time to move on even though the midfielder would have preferred to stay, as he said in his most recent interviews. He was heavily linked to Chelsea, Manchester United and Inter last summer. As for the Giallorossi, in the wake of this departure, Lorenzo Pellegini is set to take on a larger role, they have already signed Bryan Cristante from Atalanta and the talented youngster Ante Coric and they will bring in Javier Pastore from PSG.
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