Although the summer transfer window officially opens at the beginning of July, football clubs can start working on deals early and acquire players long before they actually join up with their new team.
Inter have been one of those teams in 2018 that started purchasing players before it officially opened on Sunday as they prepare for their first Champions League campaign since 2011-12.
Coach Luciano Spalletti implemented his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation in the 2017-18 campaign but speculation in the Italian media has suggested that he could use a back three for the upcoming season.
Arguably the biggest acquisition Inter have made so far is the purchase of Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan, who was coached by Spalletti at Roma. The Nerazzurri paid €24 million for the 30-year-old while left-back Davide Santon and youth team midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo went in the opposite direction.
Despite the desire of Brazilian midfielder Rafinha wanting to stay with Inter after an impressive loan spell in the second half of the 2017-18 season, the Biscione have had difficulties completing the deal so Nainggolan was bought instead.
The Belgian is already familiar with Spalletti’s methods so he should not have any issues adapting to whichever system the tactician plans to use, and despite his age, he could still be an influential figure as an attacking midfielder instead of the box-to-box role he was renowned for.
Two defenders have been signed on free transfers from rival Serie A clubs with Dutch centre-back Stefan De Vrij joining from Lazio and the versatile Ghanaian Kwadwo Asamoah arriving from Juventus.
Ironically De Vrij conceded a penalty against the Nerazzurri in his last match for the Biancocelesti, which Lazio lost 3-2, but now he will add more quality to the Inter backline which already has Slovakian starlet Milan Skriniar and Brazilian veteran Miranda.
While the Dutchman should be expected to tighten up the centre of defence, Asamoah will provide extra quality in the wide positions. The full-back roles have been problematic for the Biscione in recent years but the 29-year-old won numerous domestic honours in six seasons with Juve so he can bring valuable experience and a winning mentality to the current Inter squad.
Argentinians have played a prominent part of Inter’s history and 20-year-old striker Lautaro Martinez is the latest to arrive after he was signed from Racing Club for €22.7m. His transfer was made official on Wednesday, he has already been capped once for his country, and he is likely to play a support role alongside his compatriot Mauro Icardi in attack.
For all the foreigners that have been purchased by the Nerazzurri, there has been an Italian that has been acquired as well to help improve the team offensively. Versatile winger Matteo Politano has joined from Sassuolo for a loan fee of €5m with an option to be bought outright for another €20m in June 2019.
To recuperate that loan fee though, the Biscione sold Danish striker Jens Odgaard to the Neroverdi for €5m. The 19-year-old made a significant impact with their youth team, scoring seven goals in 18 Campionato Primavera games and six in as many UEFA Youth League matches.
It has been important for Inter to buy and sell shrewdly this summer and due to Financial Fair Play requirements set by UEFA, the Nerazzurri had to raise €45m before June 30 and they comfortably did that by earning €51.5m.
Sporting director Piero Ausilio and Chief of Football Operations Officier Giovanni Gardini managed to do this by selling youth team graduates and earning money from players signing for other clubs on a permanent basis.
Inter have been successful at Primavera level and a few starlets have been sold albeit with buyback clauses in some deals. Centre-back Davide Bettella and central midfielder Marco Carraro were acquired by Atalanta for €11m while goalkeeper Ionut Radu and right-back Federico Valietti were sold to Genoa for €13m.
Midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia has joined Spanish club Valencia permanently for €25m after helping Los Che qualify for the Champions League while Jeison Murillo remains on loan but with an obligation to be bought outright.
With the Italian transfer window closing on August 17, Serie A clubs will have little less time to complete signatures for players but Inter do not look worried by deadline change.
After years of spending absurd amounts of money on players, it seems that the Nerazzurri are buying what they need as well as recuperating cash wherever possible.