Well, Locatelli for Italy played in the exact position that Eriksen played for Inter last season. Gosens would be an excellent signing, one which we desperately need if we lose Hakimi on the other wing. Calhanoglu is too inconsistent to be a great signing for me.
Cost wise, after the loan and with the potential sale of Hakimi, I don't think cash flows are the main problem. Inter want to reduce running costs (mainly wages) and reduce losses as a business (by earning some plusvalenza). So the main thing to look at to compare Calhanoglu vs say Locatelli is their total annual costs.
If Locatelli costs 30m fee = 6m annual amortisation costs. Locatelli currently earns €1.5m gross. Assuming we double his wages, his total cost will be €9m pa. That gives a perspective on how expensive the "free" transfer of Calhanoglu really is at €9.25m pa gross. And that is before the agent fee, which is usually high in case of free transfers.
That said, I guess I can trust Marotta on this. He usually gets these things right. My biggest worry about signing someone like Calhanoglu at such high 9.25m wages is that it might mean we plan to sell another star player after Hakimi to achieve our 15-20% cost reduction target.
As others pointed out, Locatelli is not that good comparison. The asking price is 40m€. And he's close to Juve. His salary wouldn't be 3m€ gross, which is about 1.5m€ net. I'd say it's more close to 3m€ net which is then close to 6m€ gross.
So the annual cost of Locatelli would be 8m€ amortization + 6m€ gross salary => 14m€. Even if the salary number would be a bit lower, not much, maybe million less (2.5m€ net salary), it'd be still 13m€.
And as said, that would need cash. And EVEN IF we could have all that, at this point of the summer, nothing of that is certain. We don't have the Hakimi money. Juve is after Locatelli, hard. Foreign clubs will be after him after the Euros. The competition is fierce. But Calhanoglu decision had to be made now. Not in July, not in August. But now, because we couldn't bank on him waiting for us as a free agent.
Timing is super important in the calciomercato. It plays a huge part in many deals. We were thrown into a very difficult situation when our starting player, possibly a key player for next season, got basically taken away from us. We had to act quick.
I agree Calhanoglu's salary is too high, it won't be easy negotiating salaries, negotiating salary cuts
when we give such salary to a new player. But I also think we are covered in the Eriksen front and that way had the "freedom" to do this deal. It's a small reduction in salary costs compared to Eriksen.