With the obvious exception of Inter’s global fanbase, very few people outside the Italian football sphere paid much attention when the club announced the signing of Yann Karamoh towards the end of last summer’s transfer window. Most were probably more concerned by how the likes of Milan Škriniar and Matías Vecino – both of whom arrived for significant fees of over €20 million – would perform in a Nerazzurri shirt. A two-year loan deal from Caen (with obligation to buy for €5.5 million) was never likely to capture the imagination of football’s money-obsessed onlookers.
In fairness, the 20-year-old was never likely to make much of an impact during his first season in Milan. From the odd glimpses Beneamata supporters were given in the early stages, his rawness was there for all to see. It was not until Luciano Spalletti gave him his first Serie A start against Bologna that everyone realised why sporting director Piero Ausilio and then technical coordinator Walter Sabatini had been so keen to secure his services a few months earlier. The French U-21 international scored a sublime winning goal to give his side a crucial three points in their quest to secure UEFA Champions League football.
Tactically, there is no doubt that he still has a lot to learn. That is only natural for a player of his age. However, there is an argument to be made that he is a better option than the vastly experienced Antonio Candreva as we head into the new season. The former Lazio man’s performances over the course of the past 12 months have only served to earn him widespread ridicule. It was, on so many occasions throughout the last campaign, impossible to tell whether his shots were meant to be crosses and vice versa.
Though there is increased competition for places in the attacking third of the pitch following the arrivals of Matteo Politano and Lautaro Martínez, Karamoh has done his chances no harm whatsoever in pre-season. He has, in fact, been one of the team’s livelier players in the friendly matches played so far. Indeed, looking ahead to the coming campaign, he is a very good solution for Spalletti to have coming off the bench in European matches. He has pace to burn, and that alone can be enough to create genuine panic, even among the world’s elite defensive rearguards.
Whether Karamoh can secure a regular starting berth under Spalletti remains up for debate, but he should definitely be given more regular opportunities to impress, especially with Inter playing three games a week until Christmas. His direct style of play and willingness to take the ball and run at defenders should not be undervalued. Physically, he has improved a great deal since joining and this will surely improve his chances of being called upon more consistently. You never know, he may well prove to be the secret weapon that surprises some well-established UEFA Champions League names.
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