Inter reinforce midfield with Frattesi and Samardzic: What does this mean for Mkhitaryan?

Inter have added Davide Frattesi and Lazar Samardzic to their midfield and given who is already at the club, there are concerns that Henrikh Mkhitaryan is being phased out by the Nerazzurri.


Inter will have a midfield with a new look in the 2023/24 campaign and the new arrivals could pose a risk to the future of Armenian veteran Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The Nerazzurri have signed Davide Frattesi from Sassuolo and Lazar Samardzic should arrive from Udinese in a matter of days, further limiting Mkhitaryan’s opportunities in the starting line-up.

Mkhitaryan is contracted to Inter until June 2024 and will turn 35 years old next year, but he might not be expected to leave as freely as Edin Dzeko did for Fenerbahce this summer.

Throughout the 2022/23 season, the former Armenia international displayed his experience and quality in big games, and after slowly earning a place in the starting line-up, coach Simone Inzaghi found it hard to omit him.

How important was Mkhitaryan for Inter in 2022/23?

Henrikh Mkhitaryan celebrates an Inter goal in the Champions League. (@Inter)

Mkhitaryan made 49 competitive appearances for Inter after joining from AS Roma on a free transfer in the summer of 2022, with 13 of them coming in the 2022/23 Champions League.

He found the back of the net just five times, but nearly all of them were of great importance such as the winner in a 4-3 victory against Fiorentina in Serie A, the goal to regain the lead in their eventual 3-1 win against Udinese, and his goal in the first leg against AC Milan in the Champions League semi-finals.

When Marcelo Brozovic was injured, this forced Inzaghi to put Hakan Calhanoglu in the regista role, while Mkhitaryan operated as a left central midfielder in the 3-5-2 formation. The Armenian adapted to the role very well and developed a great understanding with left wing-back Federico Dimarco.

How could the Inter midfield shape up in 2023/24?

Inter’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan attempts an overhead kick as Romelu Lukaku watches on. [@Inter_en]

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Calhanoglu and Nicolo Barella would be expected to start in midfield during most matches next season while Frattesi should play alongside them.

In addition to the new arrivals, Albanian youngster Kristjan Asllani is expected to gain more playing time after Brozovic signed for Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr and Roberto Gagliardini joining Monza on a free transfer opens another place in the squad.

This leaves Mkhitaryan to battle it out with Samardzic for playing time. If last season is anything to by, Inzaghi will need to rotate his squad for three competitions, which should give all of those midfielders a chance to prove themselves. Despite his age, the Armenian has shown that he is still fit enough to make an impact.


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