10th July 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
AC Milan is certainly making a statement of intent about their intentions for next season with their impressive transfer dealings so far this summer.
Having already completed six terrific signings of players who are all ready to come in and make an immediate impact, manager Vincenzo Montella is justifiably setting his sights on returning the Rossoneri to the Champions League.
"I'm full of enthusiasm. The team is growing and becoming complete with new players arriving all from different leagues so I think our aim is to qualify for the Champions League," said Montella.
"We are going to have to fight with teams like Roma, Inter, Lazio, Atalanta and Napoli and it's going to be hard work, but I expect my side to show the same spirit from last year and I can see a lot of enthusiasm among the fans. Our objectives are realistic."
Signing Franck Kessie, Hakan Calhonoglu, Andre Silva, Fabio Borini, Ricardo Rodriguez and Mateo Musacchio will unquestionably give them a fine chance to achieve their stated aim and bring in some much needed quality all over the park. But it's expected Milan will keep adding to their ranks in the summer, as general manager Marco Fassone fully intends to build a truly formidable squad for the upcoming season.
Exciting young Atalanta defender, Andrea Conti, also joined last week, on a 5-year deal. While, the likes of Lazio midfield enforcer Lucas Biglia, Real Madrid's James Rodriguez, Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny and PSG's Grzegorz Krychowiak are all reportedly interesting the Milanese giants.
Another massive story of late for the club has been the Gianluigi Donnarumma saga, which saw the gifted 18-year-old goalkeeper turn down a contract extension, and consequently cop huge abuse from fans who saw him as ungrateful and greedy. However, reports are now suggesting he'll stay with Milan and sign a new deal that will earn him €6 million a season. A deal that will incredibly see him become the third highest paid keeper in world football.
While it's clear his agent, Mino Raiola, has complicated things, Fassone is confident Donnarumma will finally sign in the coming days, saying: "I had always said that the doors to Milan would be reopened if Gigio ever reconsidered. There has been some reconsideration and I have the feeling that we are very close to an agreement with the player and his family, although I do not want to get involved in any more compromises.
"I think that the part of the deal regarding the player and family is close, the other is more complicated. It is a large package deal involving salary, benefits, clauses, a commission, possible clauses on future sales of the player. I think a decision, which will be down to the player, will arrive in one or two days.
With their summer transfer spend already exceeding €100 million without factoring in the Conti deal that will cost in the region of €25 million, Milan will need to shift their attention to selling players too. To get the ball rolling, Juraj Kucka has left to Trabzonspor for a suspected fee of around €6 million, while Andrea Bertolacci, who was signed for €20 million two years ago, looks set to leave to one of Fiorentina, Atalanta or former club Genoa for just €10 million.
Furthermore, it would appear Mattia De Sciglio, Carlos Bacca, Gianluca Lapadula and Leonel Vangioni will all be on the way out, deals that should raise some valuable funds too. Many more departures will surely be completed, so there's no reason why the club can't recoup somewhere in the region of €60-90 million to help offset their radical spending.
With all this in mind, AC Milan are unquestionably heading in the right direction towards getting themselves back on the right track under the new Chinese ownership. The next crucial step will be integrating all of these new signings into the squad, a task Montella will relish but will still find challenging, as it's never easy to grant every player their wish of playing in their desired position. Montella is an astute tactician, however, so the Milan fans should have faith in his methods and be confident he'll get this team playing as an entertaining yet cohesive unit.
Only time will tell, in fact, how this transformation of one of European football's fallen giants will eventuate, but on the surface, at least, things are looking very optimistic for the Rossoneri.
More football articles at Licence to Roam
A Busy 2017 Transfer Window for AC Milan
10th July 2017. By Edward Stratmann.