In recent years we saw the value of center backs sky rocket on the market. The old adage that you should only spend significantly on goal scorer was turned over its head with the prices paid for David Luiz, John Stones and finally when Virgil Van Dijk’s transfer set the record for highest fee paid for a player at his position.
It has now become an expectation that above average center backs will go for very significant prices since they are now viewed as must haves for clubs that want to win. This same phenomenon is expected to now also start applying to a position that is even more scarce on the market, especially for Serie A clubs, with fullbacks/wingbacks becoming the “IT” position- everyone wants them but few have them.
The rule of supply and demand certainly also applies to football transfers. If there are very few quality players at a certain position and have multiple teams bidding on them, their price will increase faster than Salah flies down the pitch. The domino effect of this is that even lesser players will start going for fees that will surprise the average fan- I was thinking about all these factors when we first heard Inter are strongly pursuing Danilo.
The nerazzurri have had a revolving door at the right back position. They would have liked to keep Cancelo last summer, but their Financial Fair Play restrictions made it next to impossible so they brought Sime Vrsaljko back to Serie A on a loan with option to buy deal but the former Sassuolo defender struggled after suffering an injury during Croatia’s impressive run in the World Cup.
To their credit, Inter acted quickly to fill the void during the January window by acquiring Cedric Soares in January (on you guessed it, a loan with option to buy deal) but the Portuguese international failed to impress leaving Danilo D’Ambrosio as Spalletti’s more reliable option at right back. Inter are already looking to the future and have identified Danilo as their top target.
The Brazilian failed to establish himself at Manchester City and is now looking for a new opportunity. But there’s an issue- his enormous wages. The scarcity at the right back position helped Danilo land a contract with annual wages of around 5 million euro net of taxes including substantial bonuses. To put things in perspective, that is more than Skriniar received on his recent extension and about what Inter’s top earners make.
Are Inter desperate enough to fill the void at the right back position that they’ll come close to offering Danilo his current wages to entice him to come? While Danilo does have serious defensive liabilities, you would probably get the most out of his offensive abilities by using him as a right wing back on a defense that features three stud center backs- something Inter will have once they announce the signing of Diego Godin. In addition, when Inter scan the market, they’ll see that there aren’t enough options to fill the needs of all the teams in the market for a right back- including many of their rivals in Serie A.
It wasn’t long ago that Napoli had one of the best wingback duos in Serie A in Hysaj and Ghoulam. While the Albanian right back’s struggles can be partly justified by the fact Sarri left (the two were together at Empoli before reuniting at Napoli), he went from being arguably the most complete player at his position in Serie A to a total liability. Ghoulam on the other hand has never been the same player since his second knee injury.
To replace Hysaj, Napoli are looking for a player to compliment Malcuit who has shown to be quite adept offensively. The partenopei’s first target is Tottenham’s Kieran Trippier, who would certainly be an intriguing option for Ancelotti- it remains to be seen if Napoli can convince him to leave the Premier League (where he’s also being pursued by Manchester United) and if they can meet Tottenham’s price. In addition to Napoli, bot Roma and Lazio could use upgrades at both wing back positions while Milan could consider looking to improve from Ricardo Rodriguez.
Considering how competitive the wing back market has become in recent years, it’s not surprisingly to have seen Juventus invest so much at the position. The bianconeri gave a substantial raise to Alex Sandro despite his fairly significant drop in performance in the past two season and then invested 40 million euro in Joao Cancelo. Juventus didn’t stop there since they also acquired De Sciglio last summer and decided to bring Spinazzola back to Turin.
Trying to bridge the gap with the bianconeri at the wing back position will be a priority for Serie A clubs this summer- considering the lack of quality options, one thing is for sure- it will be very expensive to try and make it happen.