Inter Milan sign €40m full-back Achraf Hakimi

Inter Milan have signed Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid on a five-year deal.

Born in Madrid to Moroccan parents, Achraf joined Real Madrid’s youth team in 2006. In 2017, Achraf was moved to the main squad as a backup to Dani Carvajal and Nacho. He made his first-team debut in 17-18 La Liga season, starting in a 2–0 home win over RCD Espanyol.

Hakimi was not part of CL final against Liverpool but lifted the Champions League with Madrid back in 2017-18.  In the summer transfer window of 2018, Borussia Dortmund signed Hakimi on a two-year loan deal due to a lack of first-team opportunities at Bernabeu.

He scored his first career and Bundesliga goal in a 7–0 win for Dortmund over Nürnberg. Hakimi gave three assists in a single match for the first time in his career against Atlético Madrid, in his  Champions League debut in a Dortmund jersey. He has contributed 12 goals and 17 assists over those two Bundesliga campaigns.

But Real Madrid chose not to keep Hakimi mostly due to the fact that the right-back position is sealed by Dani Carvajal according to Zidane and Dortmund were priced out of his signing due to lack of funds during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

What does he bring to Inter Milan?

He can play as a left-back and winger alongside his conventional right-back role. His versatility will be important for Antonio Conte‘s side next season, who likes to switch formations based on the opponents.

The former Dortmund man has excellent acceleration, allowing him to be extremely dangerous operating in the attacking third.

Hakimi set a Bundesliga speed record when he was clocked at 36.5 km/h in a match against Union Berlin.

Achraf Hakimi tends to get past his opponents by working with his teammates and using clever movements off the ball.

The wing-back can link well with the right side winger as seen with the likes of Jadon Sancho at Dortmund with quick short passes and swift counters.

According to Sports Nova, he makes just over 65 passes per game and completes 84% of them. Hakimi does moderately well in his defensive role with the ability to read the opponent’s move in advance. He often intercepts key passes and initiates a counter-attack with Brandt, Thorgan Hazard and Jadon Sancho. This is shown through his average of 3.9 interceptions every game, with almost half of them in the opponent’s side.

The attacking full-back is brave in possession, technically brilliant and is a constant threat whether he sticks to the flank or cuts inside. His defensive capabilities can now be developed under Conte in San Siro, something which he was missing out in Favre’s Dortmund side.

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Is Achraf Hakimi going to be a success at Inter Milan?