Why Hakimi is the perfect signing for Inter and Conte
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Romelu Lukaku explicitly screamed at Inter teammate Victor Moses late on in their 2-1 win over Parma. The victory, made possible by late goals from Stefan de Vrij and Alessandro Bastoni, kept Inter in the title race, albeit with an eight-point gap to make up between themselves and league leaders Juventus.
The big post-match story came from Lukaku, though, as he sought to wrap up the three points in second half injury time and bag his 20th league goal of the season, but Moses failed to pick out the Belgian in space six yard from goal, prompting the striker's reaction. The right wing-back role has been something of a problematic position for Inter this season, with head coach Antonio Conte using no fewer than five players to carry out the necessary duties.
Moses is well versed in Conte's demands from their time together at Chelsea, yet with the starting spot currently between the Nigerian and Antonio Candreva, it's no wonder the vocal Italian is eager to add a new, world class face to the squad. Step forward, then, Achraf Hakimi. After a two-year stint with Borussia Dortmund, the Moroccan youngster was hot property across Europe as he excelled for the Bundesliga runners' up.
There was hefty interest in his services, too. On loan from Real Madrid, many had tipped Hakimi to challenge Dani Carvajal for the starting right-back spot at the Bernabeu, before eventually usurping the Spaniard in Madrid. Manchester City, Chelsea and even Bayern Munich had been credited with an interest in the youngster, yet it's Inter who appear to have won the race to secure the attacking full-back.
A WhoScored rating of 7.32 was enough to make the Bundesliga team of the season and while Hakimi only featured from the bench in Borussia Dortmund's 4-0 final day defeat to Hoffenheim, he will be a miss for the German side. Their loss, though, is very much Inter's gain.
In Conte's setup, there is ample pressure on the wing-backs to provide attacking support down the flanks. The Italian's options aren't exactly world beaters, but Hakimi has established himself as one of the best in his role in Europe during his stint in Germany. You only have to take a quick glance at his attacking stats to appreciate the need to land a wing-back of his calibre. View pictures in App save up to 80% data.
Five goals was a commendable return in Germany's top tier this season, but what was all the more impressive was his 10 assists. Only five players bettered that return in the Bundesliga this term, all 10 of which came from open play. With Inter developing a statistically calculated WhoScored strength of 'attacking down the wings', that in itself deemed to be Very Strong, it's important the wing-backs carry this prolific offensive threat to ensure Conte's system works.
Candreva may have seven assists to his name, yet the Italian still has his doubters and at 33 years of age, will need moving on sooner rather than later. Moses has two assists following his January arrival, a fairly modest return given he has made six league outings in an Inter shirt, yet you don't pass up the chance to sign a player of Hakimi's ilk particularly on the back of such a superb individual campaign for Borussia Dortmund.
39% of Borussia Dortmund's attacks came down their right flank, so Hakimi is aware of the pressure that comes with playing in such a system that means there is a huge burden on the wing-backs to perform to the best of their ability but given his goal contribution in a Schwarzgelben outfit that attacked on a whim, he should slot in seamlessly in Milan. Indeed, it's a mouthwatering thought at the prospect of seeing Hakimi work his wonders in a Conte system.
The 50-year-old has routinely used a three-man defence in his managerial career, so is well versed in the coaching demands that coming with playing in such a setup, so he has the means to aid Hakimi's development. The youngster still has areas to his game that need improving, notably his defensive work, but statistically calculated WhoScored strengths of 'key passes' and 'dribbling' will add an upgraded dimension to the Inter attack.
With a willingness to get the touchline and cut back for teammates, the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez - provided he is still at the club beyond the summer window - will benefit tremendously. Inter may yet land the Scudetto, but with an eight-point gap to make up; preparing for next season to make a sustained assault in of paramount importance. The looming arrival of Hakimi is exactly the statement signing required and he is a player who will thrive under the watchful eye of Conte.