Inter Milan have pulled off a transfer surprise by signing former French international Yann M'Vila on loan from Rubin Kazan. The 24-year-old had joined the Russian club in January last year, and despite a miserable couple of seasons he's been snapped up by the nerazzurri.
M'Vila was once rated as one of France's top prospects, though his development stalled amid a string of off-field controversies, including being banned from the national team after an unauthorised night out with the U-21 team. At Rubin Kazan things failed to get much better, and he failed to deliver on their £9.6 million investment.
That makes Inter's decision to sign the Frenchman a little puzzling. As it is they're pretty well-stocked in midfield, with promising youngsters like Mateo Kovačić and Saphir Taïder doing battle with the more experienced heads of Fredy Guarín, Hernanes and Zdravko Kuzmanović over a starting spot. With Cardiff City's Gary Medel also strongly linked with a move to the nerazzurri, they're running the risk of stifling the development of their talented players for a limited short-term gain.
Inter should be wary of making the same mistake they have often in the past, in offloading some of their top talents like Giulio Donati and Philippe Coutinho and replacing them with older, more limited players. It has been an unwillingness to gamble on youth that has seen them field average teams and produce average results ever since José Mourinho left in 2010.
Should M'Vila find the form that saw him break into the France set-up at just 20, then he'll be a good pickup. But if he doesn't, and his signing comes at the detriment of younger, more talented players, then it will be yet another bad transfer move.