Sime Vrsaljko may have been known to some football fanatics prior to Russia 2018, but come the final vs France, he was a household name all around the world. A brilliant two year stint at Sassuolo saw him become a key man under Eusebio Di Francesco as he assisted the team in qualifying for the Europa League for the first time in the club's history. After earning himself a transfer to Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid, the Croatian fullback played an integral role both domestically in Spain and Continentally in Europe, scoring himself a Uefa Europa League Champions medal in process.
Fast forward to today, August 2018, Sime is an Inter player. Filling a void that has left the Inter faithful hopeless and in poor spirits since the departure of treble winning right back Maicon. Since the magic of the treble, many players have attempted to stake their claim as the Brazilian's successor, some of which have performed valiantly, but simply lacked the talent, while others never possessed the slightest skill set and characteristics required to pull on the Nerrazzuri shirt. From Jonathan to Mbaye, Schelotto to Campagnaro and of course the long serving Yuto Nagatomo, Inter has seen a consistent streak of mediocrity occupy the right back position. Danilo D'ambrosio was brought in from Torino in 2014 with some hope on the horizon that he could replicate a fraction of 'Il Capitano' Javier Zanetti's flash & form, but 120 first team appearances later, both fans & management still have their reservations and it looks as though he is destined for a rotational role in his coming years at the club.
Finally, with Inter back in Europe's premier club competition, the club is able to use its bargaining power and leverage to complete deals more efficiently and on their terms. Take last season's case of Joao Cancelo, the man who was thought to be the fix to the right back problem. After a brilliant campaign, Inter were unable to redeem the obligatory 40m Euro clause to bring Joao over to Milan from Valencia for good. This was just one of many deals in the last few years that has seen Inter as a club get bullied in the transfer market. But with Champions League football on the horizon and a fresh crop of players already brought in this mercato, Atletico Madrid were more or less cornered into accepting this deal on Inter's terms. A 6.5m Euro loan offer with an option at redemption for 17.5m Euro would see Inter solve their most serious issue for a very manageable fee.
The signing of Vrsaljko signals the start of a new era both on & off the pitch for Inter. Along with a host of other new signings and a board/ownership willing to fund the club where necessary, Inter fans have more than enough reasons to be excited for the upcoming campaign.
Benvenuto Sime Vrsaljko,