Achraf Hakimi is on the verge of joining Inter Milan from Real Madrid, multiple sources have confirmed to ESPN, after emerging as one of the most exciting young talents in European football during a two-year loan at Borussia Dortmund.
The transfer, which both clubs expect to announce shortly, is worth around €40 million plus add-ons and will see the full-back sign a five-year contract.
Hakimi, 21, had two years left on his deal at the Bernabeu. Sources close to the player told ESPN he was unwilling to return to Madrid this summer to be a squad player at this stage of his career and has been promised a starting spot at San Siro.
The player and his representatives accept that Dani Carvajal will remain coach Zinedine Zidane’s first-choice right-back in the short and medium term, given his quality and status in the dressing room.
At Real Madrid — both at senior level and among Zidane’s coaching staff — there is admiration for what Hakimi has done at Dortmund, but doubts remain about how he would perform in a different tactical set-up.
In the Bundesliga he has often featured as a wing-back ahead of a back three, a system Zidane rarely uses, with one club source having called into questioning his defensive work rate compared to Carvajal. At Inter, Hakimi could continue to thrive as a wing back given coach Antonio Conte’s preference for a 3-5-2 formation.
The fine print on the deal is still being worked on, including the possibility of Real Madrid having the right to match any offer that Inter receive for Hakimi, and the club are not ruling out a future return for the Morocco international.
Hakimi made his La Liga debut in October 2017 during Zidane’s first spell in charge of Madrid, having impressed for the club at youth level. He made good progress that season — making nine league appearances and scoring twice, as well as featuring in the Champions League — before joining Dortmund in July 2018.
Since then he has made 54 Bundesliga appearances for the German side, scoring seven goals. Hakimi is most comfortable as an attacking right back but can also play on the left, as well as in more advanced positions.
He had been courted by a number of big clubs in recent months, including Dortmund themselves, Bayern Munich and two Premier League sides. Inter are third in Serie A behind Juventus and Lazio, comfortably in the Champions League places.