There is still some 40 days left in the summer transfer window. A first look will show that Milan have outspent all of Serie A and most other teams across Europe, so far, but how many of the team needs have been addressed?
Milan finished the 2020-2021 season in a good position but getting ‘back home’ to the Champions League brought with it a more urgent need to be a protagonist, as Maldini himself put it. Milan finds itself in the lowest pot 4 for the upcoming Champions League season with many areas of the pitch to improve. Most expert analysis on how well Milan can navigate the European Competition and the domestic one will depend wholly on how the team looks come September 1st when the window is closed. It should be interesting though and if you are betting visit free bet sites such as free-bets.uk.com and get your Milan bets on early.
There have been six signing and confirmations so far costing close to €60 million. Fikayo Tomori was all but confirmed earlier in the year and Milan’s €28 million buy option with Chelsea while very attractive took out a good chunk of any budget Milan would have this summer. The team also moved very swiftly to replace Donnarumma with Maignan and used another sizeable portion of the available cash. Further to that a laudable negotiating act converted Tonali’s loan to a permanent deal.
The team had to shift to filling other weak spots. A veteran alternative to Ibra was sought and Giroud arrived on the cheap. All the while expectations were that he would be a free transfer but he offers plenty of winning experience. The never ending full back saga was somewhat addressed by Ballo-Toure. The Senegalese/French player is a relative unknown although he has played for Monaco and Lille. Nevertheless he looks to be a good back up to Theo. Brahim Diaz was a Milan player last season, technically on a dry loan but it was an open secret that the team will attempt to keep him longer. A friendly Real Madrid, now led again by Ancelotti, allowed the player to stay for a further two years and this time with an official option to buy. Diaz’s presence falls clearly in the urgent need category as Calhanoglu’s departure had left Milan with a big hole in the creative department.
The team has other weaknesses. For one the aforementioned Diaz is not enough. Another player is needed. Whether it be Nikola Vlasic, Marcel Sabitzer, Hakim Ziyech or any other this team can not afford to go without another quality player in the trequartista position. This brings us up to the right wing spot. Saelemaekers and Castillejo can not be the duo next season. Whether it be Berardi, a player like Ziyech shifting to the right or a name not yet mentioned an upgrade on the right is a must.
Other signings are in the works as well and might be surprising, or not. A young third string forward like Kaio Jorge for example. A Dalot return to help Calabria as another example. Bakayoko – if not the home grown Pobega – as yet another returnee to name another. As with every mercato new and often unrealistic rumours will pop up every day. All bets taken as to how the team will evolve as the summer moves forward.
Olivier Giroud has signed a 2 years deal and joined Milan.
The 34 years old veteran French international fresh off a Champions League win with Chelsea (though he did not play in the final itself) and Euro 2020 with France arrives for €1 million with add-ons that could reach another €1 million. His Chelsea contract had expired at the end of the 2020-2021 season and he was set to join on a free transfer but the London team triggered a unilateral extension so it cost Milan a fee to get Giroud. Earlier in the summer it was thought that any fee would only apply to a move within the English Premier League but that turned out to be false.
Giroud joins a Milan team lacking depth at the forward position with the only recognized attacker being Ibra – Rebic and Leao are clearly more suited to the left wing position. Giroud scored 11 times in 31 appearances last season and 10 in 25 the season before. It is thought that his salary is around €3.5 to €4 million per season. The player has picked the number 9 shirt.
The latest Brazilian to be linked with Milan is Kaio Jorge. The center forward is a product of the Santos youth teams and has represented Brazil at the youth level. This included winning the 2019 U-17 World Cup scoring 5 goals in the tournament and one in the final victory over Mexico.
In a rush for comparisons some names like Gabriel Barbosa and Roberto Firmino have been mentioned. What is more certain is that Kaio has the pace and the skills of a good central goal scorer and show good shooting ability, all with a good right foot. Scouts have also noted his good work rate in recovering the ball.
His contract expires at the end of 2021 but it is perhaps telling that Milan, not exactly awash with transfer cash, is willing to pay now to fend off rumoured interests. The number being mentioned is around €10 million.
Calhanoglu’s departure on a free transfer has left a big hole in Milan’s lineup. The Turkish international under performed more often than not but he left as a free agent that meant Milan missed on any possible income to be used on a replacement.
As demonstrated regularly this summer the team is unable to spend much because of UEFA regulations and the still mounting debt. Brahim Diaz’s possible loan extension from Real Madrid is still not formalized and even if it is Milan does need players for the attacking phase.
Nikola Vlasic is a name mentioned a few times and he is now said to be closer to Milan. He would cost upwards of €25 million, an amount Milan likely can’t afford. It is said his current team, CSKA Moscow, are willing to agree to an initial loan that would turn into an obligation for next summer.
On his first experience outside of Croatia he now international had a hard 2017-208 year at Everton where he was sometimes played out of his favoured central position. He was subsequently loaned to the Russian team and then bought outright for €15 million. He has done much better since. The player is able to start his movement from the left (or sometimes right) and attack centrally. His good movement from deeper positions are also well documented. Most of all he is seen as a very good in the number 10 role of a 4-2-3-1.
As the summer 2021 transfer window moves along slowly and as is the norm many names are linked to Milan. One area which the team needs to address is the fullback position. In particular the back up left back position as a deputy to Theo Hernandez. Diogo Dalot who spent last season on loan at Milan could play both right and left back but looks to be unattainable as Manchester United are asking for north of €15 million. A new name mentioned is Fodé Ballo-Touré. Rumours suggest he could arrive for around €6 million and it could be a one year loan to start. The player has recently opted to play for Senegal internationally but has previously represented France at the U-21 and U-16 levels.
Austrian player Marcel Sabitzer is set to leave RB Leipzig as his contract expires next year. The German team has reportedly left it up to the 27-year-old midfielder to decide where he wants to continue playing this year, setting a friendly price for his transfer, not bigger than a jackpot you can win at the best Thai live casino. Reportedly, there are several major teams interested in signing him, including Arsenal and Real Madrid, but the frontrunner seems to be Milan. Nothing is set in stone, though, as the player made it clear that he would prefer a club that will play in next year’s Champions League.
An impressive career
Sabitzer made his senior debut with Admira Wacker’s second team in 2010, then moved on to Rapid Wien in 2013. His time with the team was brief – a little longer than a season – before he moved on to his current team, RB Leipzig. There, he started his time with a season-long loan with Red Bull Salzburg. Upon returning to Leipzig, the player truly became an asset, a reliable goalscorer. One of his career highlights happened last year when he scored twice against Tottenham Hotspur, helping Leipzig achieve an aggregate victory of 4-0 and secure a place in the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time in the team’s history.
Among others, Sabitzer was named the Austrian Footballer of the Year in 2017, he scored the Bundesliga Goal of the Month this February, and was selected into the UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season last year.
There are a number of teams competing for the player as we speak, partly because of the reportedly “friendly” price tag attached to him: Bild.de claims that the player is allowed to leave Leipzig for as little as €17 million. Among the teams that would love to see him join their ranks, we find Italian sides Milan and Roma along with Premier League side Arsenal that is also considered likely to have a shot at signing him. Even more so, because Sabitzer has, in the past, expressed interest in playing with a Premier League side.
Speaking to SportBILD last year, Sabitzer said he’d be open to moving to England in the future, albeit at the time he was very content with playing in Leipzig. “It’s not my motivation to move there and build a money bin. I like playing for RB”, he said. But at the same time, he admitted that the atmosphere in England was inspiring for him. “The way the fans read the game and cheer shows that they understand football,” said Sabitzer. “A tackle is sometimes cheered, as is a diagonal ball. I like watching the Premier League, and I can imagine that it’s fun to play there.”
Milan made a quick move to sign a goalkeeper in Lille’s Mike Maignan, he to replace Donnarumma ofcourse. The Italy #1 has departed for the riches of PSG. Having committed a further €28 million to make Tomori’s loan permanent the transfer budget is now limited.
Laxalt has brought in a relatively measly €3.5 million by moving to Dynamo Moscow therefore more sales need to occur. Players like Castillejo are on the market and other possible sales like Romagnoli and Leao are not ruled out.
The best (worst?) indication that transfers will be difficult is the inability or unwillingness to pay the previous agreed fees to make Tonali’s loan permanent. Brescia had agreed to send Tonali to Milan for an initial €10 million loan, a further €15 million was due this June followed by up to €10 million in add-ons. Milan has been trying to negotiate down that 15 and 10. It won’t be easy and a player, possibly Giacomo Olzer, might need to be included to reduce the fee.
Calhanoglu, the second summer 2021 Bosman, left Milan and crossed the city to sign with Inter for a bit more than Milan were willing to offer. He needs to be replaced and the long rumoured Rodrigo De Paul is likely expensive and is now very close to Atletico Madrid.
As is normal plenty of names have been mentioned in relation to Milan. These include Domenico Berardi, James Rodriguez and many others. All would be expensive and if arriving are likely to come on loans. The same loan formula will apply to Brahim Diaz. The Real Madrid owned player looks likely to stay on another year long loan, possibly with buy option this time.
Some of the other names mentioned include Hakim Ziyech, who would also be expensive, having been bought by Chelsea for €40 million just last year. The attacking player would be a solid exciting addition.
Olivier Giroud could come as a veteran presence to help in the goal scoring department. He is rumoured to be close to a 2 years deal, on a Bosman eventhough his Chelsea contract was extended.
Milan are likely looking at a Theo Hernandez deputy, especially if Dalot returns to Manchester United. Junior Firpo could be that name. He is not getting playing time at Barcelona and would be a solid addition, although he may not get many minutes at Milan either.
Amine Adli would be a low cost attacking midfielder that would fit Milan’s strategy and budget well but with the team playing in the Champions League it would be risky to count on him (with Diaz) to be the creative force of the team.
Milan management have moved swiftly to sign a goalkeeper. A day after the season ended Mike Maignan arrived in Milan to complete his medical and sign his contract and today he has been officially announced as the future Milan goalkeeper. Donnarumma and his agent did not reply or accept Milan last offer worth somewhere between €7 to 8 million per season and Maldini decided not to wait any longer. Maignan has now become a Milan player. He was offered and accepted a relatively long term contract with it being 5 years in length. Milan paid Lille around €13 million for the services of the player, it could rise to €15 million with bonuses. The salary of the player will be a substantial savings compared to Donnarumma’s. The reported numbers are €2.8 rising to €3 million with bonuses.
The French goalkeeper arrives after a very successful season in France where he and Lille won the Ligue 1 championship, beating PSG to first place. After signing his contract he departed Milan to join the French national team preparing for the postponed Euro 2020. For now he will be the second or third string goalkeeper there behind Hugo Lloris and Steve Mandanda.
Milan started without the injured and unfit Ibra and Rebic. Atalanta had Josip Ilicic and Luis Muriel on the bench.
The first few minutes featured little, the game was flowing well but Atalanta enjoyed a small advantage in play without really threatening Donnarumma’s goal. The hosts seemed to grow into the game as Milan were pinned in the zone as the game approached the 20 minute mark. Milan looked the more nervous and incapable of launching attacks.
A rare foray into the Atalanta box and Theo was half impeded, half fell down and a penalty was awarded. Kessie converted with Pierluigi Gollini barely moving in the Atalanta goal. Milan looked to be playing safe and long balls to Leao tactic that may work better if the Portuguese attacker uses his speed more to chase down the balls.
Milan led 1-0 at half time.
Luis Muriel came on for Matteo Pessina for the second as the hosts made an attacking sub. Atalanta controlled the ball and Milan were either unable or just plain unwilling to play attacking football and had reverted to a counter game. In the 57th minute Atalanta’s best chance of the game so far just missed the far post. Duvan Zapata’s low shot was inches away.
In response Meite and Krunic came on Bennacer and Diaz, to the dismay of many fans. Milan’s best chance came closest for Milan so far as he hit the post in the 68th minute.
Possession continued to heavily favour Atalanta. Muriel was Atalanta’s final ball man.
Further changes came as the game continued to remain one sided possession wise,. Mandzukic and Dalot replaced Leao and Saelemaekers.
A second penalty was awarded to Milan for a hand ball and Kessie converted it to confirm a 2-0 win and a return to Champions League football.
Milan made it hard for themselves but the season can be considered success.