Marcus Thuram: Inter’s Sharpshooter in Attack

After a season that saw them beat Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia Final, lose to Manchester City in the Champions League Final, and finish in the top four for a sixth straight season, Inter Milan underwent a sizable summer rebuild. André Onana and Marcelo Brozović departed for big-money fees, Edin Džeko and Milan Škriniar left on free transfers, whilst Romelu Lukaku returned from his loan spell.


Whilst Benjamin Pavard has filled in for Škriniar on the right side of defense, his compatriot Marcus Thuram has been able to make Inter fans quickly forget about Džeko and Lukaku with a phenomenal debut campaign at the San Siro. After Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Stefan de Vrij and Onana, Thuram is yet another player who has excelled at Inter after making the move on a free transfer.



Born in Parma, Italy, Thuram is the older brother of Nice midfielder Khéphren Thuram and the son of legendary France defender Lilian Thuram, receiving the name Marcus in honor of Jamaican activist Marcus Garvey. Thuram began his career at Ligue 2 side Sochaux, making his debut on March 20, 2015. Two years later, he made the move to Ligue 1 side Guingamp for an undisclosed fee.


Thuram enjoyed an impressive 2018/19 campaign at Guingamp, racking up 13 goals and 1 assist in 38 appearances across all competitions. In August, he would face off against Gianluigi Buffon, a longtime teammate of his father at Parma and Juventus, with Buffon’s Paris Saint-Germain securing a comeback 3-1 win courtesy of a penalty from Neymar and a late brace from Kylian Mbappé.


Five months later, Thuram would miss a penalty against PSG, with Neymar opening the scoring immediately after. Substitute Yeni Ngbakato kept his cool and slotted home from the spot to equalize in the 81st minute, and Thuram would make amends for his miss in the 93rd minute by beating Alphonse Areola from the spot and securing a 2-1 win against the cup holders. He would grab the equalizer in a 2-2 draw vs. Monaco, with Guingamp prevailing on spot-kicks, but he was unable to conjure up his magic in the Coupe de la Ligue Final as Strasbourg came away with a penalty shootout victory.


Player Analysis: Khéphren Thuram


Guingamp would proceed to finish bottom of the table, and Bundesliga side Borussia Mönchengladbach took advantage by swooping in and completing a €12 million deal for Thuram, signing him on a four-year contract. Thuram took the #10 number of Thorgan Hazard following the Belgian’s move to Borussia Dortmund, and he didn’t take long to justify the transfer fee.


Thuram would open the scoring within 19 minutes of his official debut, leading Gladbach to a 1-0 win against Sandhausen in the DFB-Pokal, whilst he would also score in the following round against Borussia Dortmund. All in all, Thuram took the Bundesliga by storm in his maiden campaign with 10 goals and 8 assists in 31 league appearances as Gladbach finished fourth, qualifying for the UEFA Champions League, before following that up with 8 goals and 7 assists in 29.


After regressing in 2021/22, Thuram resumed normal business with an impressive 2022/23 campaign that saw him score 16 goals and 7 assists in 32 appearances across all competitions. Despite registering just four senior appearances prior to the tournament, Thuram was recalled to the France national team after 17 months and earned a place in Didier Deschamps’ squad for the 2022 World Cup. He played five matches in Qatar, bagging an assist in their 3-1 win against Poland in the Round of 16.


With France losing 2-0 in the 41st minute of the FIFA World Cup Final, Deschamps brought on Thuram and Randal Kolo Muani in place of Ousmane Dembélé and Olivier Giroud. Thuram helped turn the tide in Les Bleus’ favor, setting up Kylian Mbappé’s late equalizer to force extra time, but he was unable to come away with the trophy as Argentina prevailed on penalties. Little did he know, one of the players celebrating on the other side of the pitch would soon be his strike partner at club level.



After an impressive four-year spell in Germany, Thuram parted ways with Gladbach in the summer of 2023 and joined Inter Milan on a five-year contract. He was immediately ushered into the starting line-up, announcing himself in style with a goal and a brace of assists in their 4-0 win against Fiorentina on September 3. One month later, he broke the deadlock at the hour-mark in a 1-0 win against Benfica. In doing so, he became the third Frenchman to score in the UEFA Champions League for Inter alongside Patrick Vieira and Youri Djorkaeff, both of whom won the 1998 World Cup alongside Lilian.


Having grabbed a goal contribution in eight of his first 10 league matches, Thuram has set the world alight in Italy and helped to lay the building blocks for an epic campaign for Inter Milan. The Nerazzurri have become the first team in Serie A history to score in each of their first 31 matchdays as well as the second team to reach 82+ points after their first 31 matches, and Thuram has played an indispensable role in their stellar start.




After previously playing in a 4-2-3-1 formation at Gladbach, Thuram has seamlessly adapted to Simone Inzaghi’s 3-5-2 formation, operating as a second striker and drifting around central areas. A quick, technically gifted, intelligent forward, Thuram’s lethal finishing and adaptability have made him a reliable attacking outlet for Inter.


Capable of taking on defenders, exploiting open space and creating opportunities for his teammates, he is a proactive forward who is skilled at holding up the ball under pressure and keeping opponents on their feet with his unpredictable movement.


There are several parameters that are inculcated in Inzaghi’s 3-5-2 formation: he wants the team to remain compact off the ball, press in a hybrid format in order to win the ball back easily, and create an extra man in midfield. Thuram will be responsible for linking midfield and attack and enabling his strike partner Lautaro Martínez to have the freedom to arrive into the edge of the box and take a shot on goal.


Typical Inter starting line-up


Thuram doesn’t just have an impressive dribbling ability and technical prowess, but a constant awareness of where his teammates are. He is a versatile attacker who has experience playing as a left winger and as a lone striker in Marco Rose’s 4-2-3-1 at Gladbach, and he has put this footballing IQ to good use at Inter, where he can drop deep, shift towards the flank, and overall, stay in different positions to Martínez whilst also remaining on the same wavelength.


Whilst Thuram still has plenty of room for improvement in his finishing ability, as evidenced by his costly miss against Atlético Madrid, he has nevertheless enjoyed a strong debut campaign at the San Siro with 10 goals and 11 assists in 29 Serie A appearances. He has beaten out the competition from Marko Arnautović and Alexis Sánchez and locked down a starting spot in Inzaghi’s attack and led Inter to the precipice of a second league title in four years.


A Defining Meeting: The Irriducibili and Lilian Thuram


At 26 years of age, Marcus Thuram has only won two trophies in his footballing career: the 2016 U-19 Euros and the 2023 Supercoppa Italiana. However, that looks set to change sooner rather than later: with seven matches remaining Inter currently sit 14 points clear in first place, boasting the best attack (75 goals scored) and the best defense (15) in Serie A. Thuram has been pivotal in Inter’s title charge, and he could very well play an essential role in France’s attack this summer as they look to win their first European Championship since 2000.


By: Ogunniyi Abayomi / @Cerebralcardo

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Uwe Kraft / AFP