Francesco Acerbi has been accused of allegedly racially abusing Napoli defender Juan Jesus during Inter’s match against the reigning Scudetto-holders. 

On Friday, March 22, both Francesco Acerbi and Juan Jesus spoke to the Federal Prosecutor’s Office via videoconference. Acerbi has continued to deny any racist remarks, while Jesus has maintained that the Italian did indeed use discriminatory terms towards him during the match between the two teams on Sunday, March 17.

Following the videoconferences in front of the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, an investigation is set to take place over the weekend to determine what occurred, with a final decision and potential sentence coming next week. Until then, SkySport Italy has reported that Inter will not make a statement or decision until the Office has released its verdict. 

Italian outlet, La Gazzetta dello Sport, has reported that if Francesco Acerbi is found to be guilty of racial discrimination, a contract termination is increasingly likely- as well as a hefty fine. The 36-year-old has one year remaining on his current contract with Inter, but considering the circumstances and the situation, the club would be required to act swiftly and make the correct decision. 

This has brought up talk of a replacement in the summer. Gazzetta has stated that Inter’s “dream” would be former Napoli and now Bayern Munich defender Kim Min-Jae, as Inter Sporting Director, Piero Ausilio has followed the South Korean international since his days playing for Fenerbahçe in the Turkish Süper Lig. Other targets include Roma’s Chris Smalling, whose contract expires in 2025, and West Ham and Greece defender, Konstantinos Mavropanos. 

Looking ahead at Inter’s first match following the March international break, the Nerazzurri could have a crisis in defence. While Francesco Acerbi’s future is uncertain, Stefan de Vrij has returned from international duty with the Netherlands with a slight muscle injury. Inter currently awaits reports from the Netherlands camp to determine the severity of the injury. With both of Simone Inzaghi’s central centrebacks potentially out, the manager will have to get creative. 

According to Gazzetta, Alessandro Bastoni is the first choice to play in the centre of the back three, with Carlos Augusto slotting into Bastoni’s usual spot on the left, as he has done several times this season. Yann Bisseck is also a candidate to play the middle role, as the 23-year-old has shown he is capable during training. 

In order to make up numbers, presumably on the bench, it is likely that Simone Inzaghi will look to the Primavera squad- who are also first in the under-19 standings this season. Giacomo Stabile (18) has often been called up to the first team this season and even got minutes (and a goal) with the senior squad during pre-season in the summer. Furthermore, Francesco Stante (19) has been a staple in Cristian Chivu’s side.