Saturday, August 20, 2022

AC Milan transfer window priorities: a new center-back, Renato Sanches and two signings already done

One month ago AC Milan fans were celebrating winning the Scudetto after an 11-year wait, but many things have changed since then. First of all, the Rossoneri have changed the ownership, with the American private investment firm RedBird Capital signing a preliminary agreement to buy the club. The firm’s founder, Gerry Cardinale, took charge of the club, and he’s putting his imprint on multiple aspects of AC Milan. The official announcement arrived at the beginning of June and the transition to new ownership will take place over the summer, with an expected closing of no later than September 2022. Meanwhile Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara are working to improve the roster, but things are going kind of slow as of now, in part thanks to that transition. 

AC Milan goalkeeper outlook

  • Staying: Mike Maignan, Ciprian Tatarusanu
  • Uncertain future: Antonio Mirante

Last summer was the one that saw a major change between the sticks, with Gianluigi Donnarumma leaving AC Milan at the end of his contract and the club signing former Lille keeper Mike Maignan. He ended up becoming the best goalkeeper of the season in Serie A. He’s set to stay with Ciprian Tatarusanu as his number two. 

Ideal moves: The future of the third goalkeeper, Antonio Mirante, is still undecided. While talks over a new contract are still on, the club still hasn’t taken a final decision about him. If he stays, Alessandro Plizzari who is back from the loan at Lecce will leave again next season. 

AC Milan defense outlook

  • Staying: Fikayo Tomori, Pierre Kalulu, Simon Kjaer, Theo Hernandez, Davide Calabria, Alessandro Florenzi 
  • Leaving: Alessio Romagnoli 
  • Uncertain future: Matteo Gabbia, Fodé Ballo-Touré

Stefano Pioli’s defense was one of the keys to last season’s title with only 31 goals conceded in Serie A. So, there’s not much to do to improve this unit. Former Chelsea defender Tomori is set to stay and he’s also in talks over a new contract while Simon Kjaer will be back after recovering from an ACL injury. AC Milan’s captain Alessio Romagnoli will leave but he’s likely to stay in Italy with both AC Monza and Lazio interested on him. On the outside, Theo Hernandez and Davide Calabria will stay for sure, and the Rossoneri will also buy Alessandro Florenzi permanently from AS Roma after a very positive season. 

Ideal moves: The number one priority for AC Milan is a new center back and Sven Botman was the main name for months until he decided to opt for Newcastle. The Lille defender had been in talks with the Italian club since January but ultimately he decided to not wait anymore and he’s about to sign with Newcastle. AC Milan will now have to take a look at some alternative names. Both Gabbia and Ballo-Touré should stay this summer as well, but if something changes the club will look for their replacements too. 

AC Milan midfield outlook

  • Staying: Sandro Tonali, Brahim Diaz 
  • Leaving: Tiémoué Bakayoko, Franck Kessie
  • Uncertain future: Ismael Bennacer, Rade Krunic, Daniel Maldini 
  • Arriving: Yacine Adli 

There will be some changes in midfield with Kessié, who left the club at the end of his contract, now waiting to officially sign with FC Barcelona. Tonali, after an incredible year, is definitely staying and his agent is already talking with the club to extend his deal. Bakayoko will also leave and will be back at Chelsea, at least until they figure out what they want to do with him next, while the future of Bennacer is still to be decided since he hasn’t signed a contract renewal yet and his contract expires in 2024. Brahim Diaz still has one year of loan from Real Madrid left and he’s expected to stay if nothing changes. Both Krunic and Maldini might leave the club in the summer. 

Ideal moves: AC Milan already signed Yacine Adli from Bordeaux last summer and he will be part of the roster next season after he was loaned to his former club last year. Renato Sanches is still the main target for the midfield but Paris Saint-Germain are also interested in signing him despite the fact he already agreed on personal terms with the Italian club. Things should become more clear in the coming days. La Gazzetta dello Sport are also reporting that Milan have shown interest in Sassuolo‘s attacking midfielder Traore Jr and he might become a target for the summer. 

AC Milan attack outlook

  • Staying: Rafael Leao, Olivier Giroud 
  • Leaving: Samu Castillejo, Marko Lazetic
  • Uncertain future: Alexis Saelemaekers, Ante Rebic, Junior Messias, Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  • Arriving: Divock Origi  

Stefano Pioli will definitely count on Leao for the 2022/23 season. The Portuguese striker was one of the best players in the league last year and Milan are now ready to improve his salary and extend his contract. Giroud, who scored some crucial goals on the way to the team’s Scudetto win, including a crucial brace against Inter Milan, is set to stay at the club and will be part of the roster. Castillejo is on the transfer list, while the young talent Marko Lazetic should leave on loan. The big question is around the future of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who had a contract expiring this June and underwent surgery that will force him out for the next seven or eight months. Talks between club representatives and him are underway and he’s likely to decide his future in the coming weeks. The Rossoneri already signed free agent Divock Origi, who is set to sign a long term deal with AC Milan in the last week of June. 

Ideal moves: Meanwhile AC Milan are working around some names such as Brugge’s Charles De Ketelaere who is also drawing interest from some Premier League clubs such as Leeds United and Brugge’s winger Noa Lang who can also play in different roles on the attacking line. Sporting director Ricky Massara held also some talks with AS Roma’s Tiago Pinto and ask information about the situation of Nicolo Zaniolo, who is also a target for Juventus, but as of now he seems to be too difficult to make happen this summer. AC Milan in the past showed interest in Sassuolo’s striker Gianluca Scamacca but his price is too high this summer (around €40 or 50 million) and PSG are in talks to sign the Italian talent.

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