Italian clubs are often the butt of the joke with regards to spending money, but their frugal spending often leads to some of the biggest bargains a club can find.
Gone are the days of Serie A being the most lavish league in world football. Instead, the Premier League runs riot with spending that makes London rent prices look affordable.
The money trapped in certain pockets at the very elite level of football means it’s becoming harder and harder for clubs to attract the most exciting players, with Premier League sides more often than not jumping the queue for the best talents by flexing their financial strength.
Spending big no longer guarantees success, however. And while those English sides continue to spend themselves into a big, yellow, Sky Sports News transfer-ridden coma, clubs like Inter are scouring the market and extracting maximum value.
The free transfer is an art form. Sometimes it makes too much sense to snap up a talented footballer for nothing, and that’s because there’s sometimes a catch.
However, do your due diligence and you can make a lot of financial bullies look incredibly silly when they’re trying to sign your free transfer for millions of pounds just a year later.
Scoring goals is perhaps the sexiest job in football, if not the most difficult, meaning strikers always come at a premium.
Inter had to fork out a premium to sign Romelu Lukaku from Manchester United in 2019, and while it proved worthwhile, they’ve been much more frugal in the time since and learned that they can actually achieve similar numbers in front of goal for much less money.
Since selling Lukaku to Chelsea for £100million in 2022, the Nerazzurri have secured the likes of Edin Dzeko, Alexis Sanchez and even Marcus Thuram all for next to nothing. They’re about to add to that, though, by signing Mehdi Taremi for free, with his contract up at Porto in the summer.
A 31-year-old with 25 league goals since the beginning of last season and Champions League knockout pedigree? That sounds nigh-on priceless, and yet here are Inter securing him on a free transfer.
That’s the kind of deal that would make Manchester United and Chelsea’s mouths water to no end, while they splash the cash on flops. And while there might be doubts over if Taremi can consistently recover his deadly best form at the top level, when signing for free, the risk-reward is simply too good to resist.
If Taremi can show his best stuff in Serie A – which we’re backing the Iranian to do – then clubs will be queuing up once again for an Inter commodity.
With 86 goals and 53 assists in just 171 games for Porto since joining the Portuguese side in 2020 – including goals against Juventus and Chelsea in the Champions League – Taremi represents a quietly world-class striker at a breathtakingly low price.
While Europe’s richest sides are busy gloating about their full wallets and continuing to stagnate, Inter are finding lethal weapons, replenishing their stock and either winning trophies once more, flipping them for a profit or both.
Should the deal be completed, Taremi would head to Milan for the 2024-25 campaign and could potentially form an unstoppable strike partnership with Thuram.
That is potentially a shed load of goals – at zero cost in transfer fees.
Taremi’s name might not be the most attractive or well-known within European football, but he’s certainly a man who can find the back of the net.
He’s ready to make the rest of Europe eat their words when he turns up in the big time with Inter.
By Mitch Wilks