Keita Baldé will provide Inter with long overdue tactical flexibility


According to the latest reports from La Gazzetta dello Sport and RMC Sport, Inter are on the verge of finalising a deal to sign Monaco forward Keita Baldé. Indeed, the two clubs have reached an agreement which will see the Senegalese international join the Nerazzurri on an initial loan worth €5 million, while they will have an option to make the move permanent next summer for a further €34 million. The former Lazio star will become La Beneamata’s seventh signing of a hectic transfer campaign, which has also saw the likes of Stefan de Vrij, Radja Nainggolan and Lautaro Martínez switch to the San Siro outfit.

Despite enduring an inconsistent season in the principality under the tutelage of Leonardo Jardim, there is no doubt that the Girona-born Barcelona youth team product still has a lot to offer going forward. In many respects, a move to Inter makes sense for all parties. Coach Luciano Spalletti has made no secret of the fact that he would like his squad to be more flexible from a tactical point of view. The 23-year-old has already played in a variety of roles within several different systems throughout his career so far, having worked under both Stefano Pioli and Simone Inzaghi during his spell with the Biancocelesti.

Pioli, who is now contracted to Fiorentina of course, tended to deploy him as an inverted winger on the left-hand side of an attacking midfield triumvirate in his preferred 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 formation. He is also familiar with the concept of playing as one of two central strikers, having done so within the framework of Inzaghi’s 3-5-2 and Jardim’s 4-4-2 over the course of the past two seasons. Though he is far more comfortable elsewhere on the pitch, he displayed an excellent attitude when asked to spearhead Les Monégasques’ attack at the tip of a 4-2-3-1 when Radamel Falcao was missing through injury.

As mentioned previously, Spalletti’s hands were tied last season. Such was his squad’s lack of depth in the attacking third of the pitch, he had no other option but to hope and pray that neither Antonio Candreva nor Ivan Perišić sustained a serious injury. That would have put him in real trouble, considering the players he did have at his disposal were suited to a standard 4-2-3-1 set-up and nothing much else. However, the arrival of players such as de Vrij, Nainggolan, Kwadwo Asamoah and Matteo Politano means that he can alter the shape of the team as and when required.

In all probability, Spalletti will look to give his side a degree of continuity in the early stages of the campaign and will stick with his tried and tested 4-2-3-1. As t time progresses and he makes better use of the squad, it is likely we will see him experiment with the 3-5-2 (3-4-1-2) system he has in mind, which could serve to bring out the best in Keita Baldé. While it may still be early days, there is every chance that his flexibility will be crucial come the business end of the season.

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