Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta says the decision to sell full-back Achraf Hakimi to Paris Saint-Germain was “painful”.
The Morocco international signed for the Ligue 1 giants on Tuesday after the Nerazzurri accepted an offer reportedly worth an initial €68million with a further €3m possible through bonuses.
Hakimi shone in Serie A after joining from Real Madrid, contributing seven goals and nine assists last season as Inter were crowned champions for the first time in a decade.
Indeed, in Europe’s top-five leagues last season, only four defenders were directly involved in more goals than Hakimi (16 – seven scored, nine assisted).
Although difficult, Hakimi’s sale was believed to be necessary by Inter, who are attempting to recoup close to €100m in the transfer window while reducing costs, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Further departures are expected, with Joao Mario and Radja Nainggolan the most likely to leave, with Hakan Calhanoglu and Alex Cordaz their only signings to date.
Speaking at a media conference to unveil new head coach Simeone Inzaghi, Marotta confirmed Hakimi’s departure was largely due to the financial situation the club finds itself in following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We begin a season that will be difficult, as usual,” Marotta said.
“We are going through a difficult and in some ways disturbing time after the pandemic, also as a result of the world economy. As a reflection, football is now looking for a sustainable model.
“Surely, Inter want to continue on the same path as last season, looking at the economic and financial aspects. The owners want to build a competitive team, they’ve invested over €700million and football is paying the consequences of what has just happened.
“It’s unthinkable to ask for the same efforts. We made painful choices like the one of selling Hakimi but always trying to give continuity.”
Inzaghi was appointed last month after Antonio Conte left the club by mutual consent.
The former Italy international had departed Lazio a week earlier following five years in charge at the Stadio Olimpico.
Inzaghi won 134, drew 45 and lost 72 of his 251 matches in all competitions while at Lazio, the only club where he has worked during his coaching career so far.
“I spent 22 incredible years at Lazio, I felt well there, I was lucky to win as a footballer and as a coach, but it was time to change,” the 45-year-old said.
“I had received many requests, but it was never the right moment to change. It’s a moment that arrives sooner or later, I didn’t think about it for too long.”
Asked what fans can expect from his side, Inzaghi said: “I want my team to have intensity, stay in the game and react to what can happen.
“I coached [Stefan] de Vrij and I had played with [Aleksandar] Kolarov and [Samir] Handanovic. It’s great to reunite with them, I will have a great relationship with them and the others.
“I like the daily pressure, otherwise I would not have accepted the Inter job. I have a great relationship with the directors, we must be able to handle the difficulties well when we face them.”