From Signori to Coutinho: Five Young Players That Inter Regretted Selling

Luckily for Inter fans, this summer has been far less cruel than its predecessor, when their financial difficulties forced them to relinquish the services of Achraf Hakimi and Romelu Lukaku. Even better, the latter has made his triumphant return to the Appiano Gentile, while Simone Inzaghi has (thus far) maintained the core of his squad while bolstering his ranks with solid new arrivals.

Nonetheless, the football gods are still demanding a sacrifice, and it will come in the form of talented Primavera product Cesare Casadei who’s on the verge of signing for Chelsea. So will the Nerazzurri end up biting their fingers yet again?

Let’s recall five young players that Inter sold before eventually regretting the decision once they cemented themselves as top stars while plying their trade elsewhere.

5 – Giuseppe Signori

When 16-year-old Giuseppe Signori left the Beneamata’s youth sector to join Leffe, few paid heed to his exit. Surely he wasn’t the first youngster to hit the road in search for a niche at a smaller club.

However, the center forward had no intention to embark on a journeyman career. At the age of 24, he earned a switch to Lazio, and swiftly cemented himself as one of the most terrifying bombers in the country, winning the Copaconnoniere award on three different occasions during his time in the Italian capital.

Signori also went on to enjoy another memorable spell at Bologna. Until this day, he remains in the Top 10 list of the best all-time scorers in Serie A with 188 goals to his name.

4 – Leonardo Bonucci

According to his stats, Leonardo Bonucci won a Scudetto as an Inter player. Awkwardly for the current Juventus captain, this is the title that was awarded to the Nerazzurri following the Calciopoli scandal.

Nonetheless, the defender spent the majority of his Inter spell on loan with other clubs, before being sold to Genoa in 2009. The Grifone sent him to Bari, and this is when he got his major breakthrough under the guidance of the now-maligned Gian Piero Ventura.

Perhaps Il Biscione could have brought him back to the Giuseppe Meazza in 2010, but instead, they opted to sign his Bari “twin” Andrea Ranocchia, allowing Juventus to snatch Leo’s services.

If they could back in time, Inter would surely reverse their decision.

3 – Nicolò Zaniolo

Despite his relatively young age, Nicolò Zaniolo has already changed accommodations on several occasions. His youth career included stints at Genoa, Fiorentina, Entella before joining Inter in 2017.

The Nerazzurri had a real jewel at their disposal, but instead, they used the talented Italian as a bargaining chip in an exchange deal for Radja Nainggolan in 2018.

Unfortunately for Inter, the experienced Belgian had a torrid time at Milano, while Zaniolo immediately consolidated himself as a pillar for Roma who put their trust in his vast talent.

2 – Philippe Coutinho

In 2008, Inter managed to beat the competition to sign a Brazilian wonderkid named Philippe Coutinho. At the age of 16, the teenager surely wasn’t going to feature for their first team straight away.

Sadly for the attacking midfielder, his introduction to the senior squad concurred with the beginning of a long period of decline for the club following the famous treble-winning campaign in 2010.

While the young man still showcased flashes of talent, Inter preferred to put their trust in more experienced names in their fruitful attempts to restore their status among the elite.

In 2013, the Beneamata were pleased to sell Coutinho when Liverpool offered them 13 million euros.

Five years later, the Reds sold him to Barcelona for a whooping 135 millions!

1 – Andrea Pirlo

After making a name for himself as one of the best rising talents in his generation, Inter swooped for Andrea Pirlo’s services in 1998.

The young Italian was considered a trequartista at the time, and so the Nerazzurri deployed him as such. However, the youngster never quite fulfilled his potential at the club.

But it all changed for the Maestro when Inter sent him on loan to his original base. Andrea’s brief return to Brescia only lasted for six months, but it was enough the change the entire course of his career.

The Rondinelle’s then-manager Carlo Mazzone had a vision. He decided to deploy the young man as a deep-lying playmaker, and this is when Pirlo became the PIRLO.

Yet, Inter failed to pounce on the situation, instead, they sold the starlet to their crosstown rivals Milan, allowing him to cement himself as a Rossoneri legend before ending his Serie A run with another four successful years at Juventus, much to the dismay of the Nerazzurri supporters.

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