When Real Madrid fans learned that Achraf Hakimi would be sold to Inter Milan for just 40 million euros in the summer 2020 transfer window, they were heartbroken. Even the Madridistas who understood and respected that the right back wanted a full-time starting job were hurt by the move. Real were selling an academy product for half of his potential market value at a time when the club would not be making any signings and desperately needed some added attacking juice.
Hakimi had just completed a successful two-year loan at Borussia Dortmund where he developed into one of the most exciting, explosive, and versatile creative wide players in world football. And he continued his meteoric rise as a right wing back in Antonio Conte’s notorious 3-5-2 system, helping Inter Milan win the Scudetto to break Juventus‘ hegemony over Italian football.
Real Madrid held a “right of first refusal” clause over Hakimi. They would not have expected the opportunity to use it as early as 2021, but financial troubles to Inter’s parent company put Hakimi right back on the market.
Unfortunately, Los Blancos could not capitalize. Hakimi’s price tag had risen, though it was undervalued to begin with in that first pandemic summer. PSG bid 60-70 million euros and got their man, making an upgrade on their only remaining weakness in the squad. And Real Madrid could do nothing to match it, with eyes set on saving every cent for PSG’s own superstar, Kylian Mbappe.
PSG likely view Achraf Hakimi as unsellable
Despite being a star for three big clubs now and never Real Madrid, Hakimi apparently still dreams of shining at the Santiago Bernabeu. At least, that is according to his former manager at Inter, Antonio Conte.
The problem is that the ship has probably sailed for Hakimi. PSG have him under contract now, and they are notoriously difficult to deal with in transfer negotiations. How many times have they sold a valuable player? Neymar, Marco Verratti, and most recently Mbappe have all tried to leave Paris. And they have all failed. Even Adrien Rabiot, who is hardly a star player, could not get his way.
Hakimi is a rare weapon. He can play as a right back, right wing back, right winger, left winger, or even left back. We saw evidence of his quality at all of these positions in the Bundesliga and Champions League while with Dortmund. Therefore, he is of even more value to PSG than the initial 60-70 million euros they paid.
If Hakimi’s ultimate goal was to shine as a star at the Bernabeu in the first place, why go to Inter in 2020? I find it hard to believe selling Hakimi for such a modest price was a priority for Real Madrid, especially considering their biggest signing in the past two summer windows has been Eduardo Camavinga for even less than that price.
Will Real Madrid’s president want to bring Achraf Hakimi back?
Hakimi understandably wanted to be an every-match starter for a notable club, and he had great success at Inter for one season. And now he is with the most loaded team in recent memory, paid by the bottomless pockets of the Emir himself.
Yet he may never get the chance to be the guy at Real Madrid. PSG will ask for so much money that Real will have no way of getting him. There is still an open spot at right back to succeed Dani Carvajal, but with the way Carvajal is still playing, who knows when exactly Real would try to pursue a truly world-class player at the position?
Finally, there is the Florentino Perez factor. The president of Real Madrid does not stand in the way of players wanting to leave the club. Once they do, how many times has he asked for a reunion? He did not even try to reunite with Cristiano Ronaldo this past summer, despite hints Ronaldo dropped in the press, Ronaldo’s remaining quality, and Real’s goal-scoring needs. Thus, Perez might not want to circle back to Hakimi, seeing the chapter as closed, especially since it was Hakimi who wanted to leave instead of going for a chance.
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Never say never in football. But in Hakimi’s case, he could well and truly be in a situation where PSG is his home for as long as the Qatari sportswashing project imposes itself on club football. As we have seen time after time, they do not let their stars go easily. They may even completely block Real Madrid off their list, given the acrimony that exists after the farcical Mbappe transfer negotiations of the 2021 summer window.