Summer 2019, the Second Half
As the 2019 summer transfer window enters into August and its second half Milan’s management is answering some questions and leaving some perplexed too. The team is being built but slowly and not necessarily cheaply. The acceptance of Europa League exclusion has certainly opened to the door to some spending but how much can be spent and how much risk can be taken for this and future seasons remains a big question.
As of early August the supposed imminent Andre Silva to Monaco transfer has collapsed. It is presumed that his medical at the principality revealed something but nothing is known publicly. Will his (super) agent find a solution for him. He certainly looks to have no future at Milan but the so called solution is apparently tied to lowering his price. Can Milan afford to sell for less? And will Jorge Mendes will eventually help or hurt Milan?
Speaking of Mendes, another of his clients is now a Milan player. Rafael Leao, formerly of Lille has signed on for around €30 million. The young Portuguese forward left Sporting Lisbon in their terrible summer of 2018 and impressed in France. The versatile forward has now given Milan someone to play with Piatek up front. A risk as he is only 20 and the gamble carries memories of Andre Silva’s own arrival at Milan two summers ago. Leao has the tools to be a different player but time will tell if he can have a long term future at Milan.
The other supposed imminent transfer to Milan is now in a prolonged limbo. Angel Correa was close to Milan for somewhere between €35 and €50 million. The €50 million is widely thought of too expensive but will Atletico accept less. The player seems to have agreed to join Milan and provide an attacking option but his current team may not care and want the maximum. Fans will be more optimistic about Milan if he provides Giampaolo a hard working option. At a low enough price to lower the risk!
With only two healthy and ready central defenders in Romagnoli and Musacchio – and one injured in Caldara – a search for a fourth defender has been in effect since the season ended. Mattia Gabbia, the youth product, is thought to not be ready and such players have rarely made the senior team so the management unearthed a Brazilian. Leo Duarte has arrived in Milan – with Serginho’s endorsement – for around €10 million and has already completed his medical. The 23 year old Flamengo player could be made official soon but then again Milan fans can’t be sure what comes out of anything. For example, Algerian midfielder Ismael Bennacer completed his medical and left for vacation before any official announcement.
In other preseason news Theo Hernandez injured his ankle less than 45 into his Milan debut and will miss at least a few weeks. Perhaps only a few weeks. If his status is cleared may be Milan can go ahead and finally sell one of Rodriguez, Laxalt or Strinic. The latter has struggled in the preseason in part due to his long term absence due to his heart problem.
Maldini and co have a month to build the team at a reasonable cost. Fans are left with little choice to take a wait and see attitude and hope that by season’s start Milan have taken enough steps for a top four finish.