As leagues around the world try to come to terms with the Coronavirus pandemic a return date is always on the agenda. These possible dates are and will need to keep being revised as new information arrives. Public health and measures to protect it dictate the future of the suspended seasons and to some extent football itself.
Milan have meetings planned with other Serie A teams and the league to see if overseas based players can return to Italy or can at least start to prepare more rigorously for football. For example Athletic Bilbao in Spain had brief plans to return to individual training this week but had to abandon it. Many others talk of early May return to training for a late May football but that seems optimistic. There are plans to restart the English lower tiers in early June but that may be impossible too. All these plans are for behind closed doors games so in no way football is going back to normal in the near future.
FIFA has proposed to extend contracts that would normally end on June 30th every year until the 2019-2020 seasons are concluded in each country. This would also affect the transfer window dates and depending on how far into the future seasons do end football’s growth and the growth of eSports in 2020 and beyond too.
Football teams big and small depend on revenue from transfers. Many who are already reeling due to suspension of games will have only one remaining lifeline, revenue from transfers. But how will transfers look and will it possibly be a very brief window instead of the usual late June to early September dates? Will players become cheaper or not? No one knows for sure but interestingly transfer rumours are continuing at a pace that may surprise some.
Arguably Milan’s case is more precarious than most. In the midst of a yet another rebuild with whispers that the wage bill will need to be drastically lower there is lots to do. The latest seems to be concentrated on Sandro Tonali arriving from Brescia and Milan sacrificing any or all of Gabbia, Pobega and Plizzari to get the sometimes combative but highly rated young central midfielder. Paqueta has been rumoured to leave after a disappointing recent time. Money from his exit may be needed. Gaetano Castrovilli is a mentioned indirect replacement. Ibra may leave after being unimpressed by the state of the team before the lockdown. If he does go a forward is needed and perhaps more if Rebic and Leao’s future lies elsewhere too. Arkadiusz Milik is one recently mentioned possibility. Milan need to look for a right back too with both Conti and Calabria seemingly lost causes. Donnarumma has one more year on his contract and his case needs to be cleared up before he heads into the final season of his four year deal.
Expiring contracts may be the easiest thing to manage at Milan this summer. Bonaventura and Biglia are almost certainly not returning next season.
Of course all this depends on even more than the Coronavirus pandemic. It is still not known if Ralf Rangnick is arriving and if he does how many roles he is taking up and therefore if Maldini – and Pioli – are heading for the exit in the near future.