Wednesday August 1 2018
Milan learned their lesson

After spending more than they could afford last summer, Milan are taking a more cautious - and potentially more efficient - approach to the transfer market this year, writes Vilizar Yakimov.

It is very likely that the 2017-18 campaign will go down as one of the worst in Milan’s recent history. Despite finishing sixth and securing an Europa League spot, the Rossoneri spent almost €200m on the mercato, lost their owners and have been forced to start from ground zero once again this term.

Bringing in expensive acquisitions is not an option and ironically this might be Milan’s biggest advantage this summer. The transfer fees paid for Andre Silva and Nikola Kalinic last year, clearly show the Rossoneri’s tendency to overpay for average or unproven players.

Leonardo’s arrival at the expense of Massimiliano Mirabelli and Marco Fassone, already seems to have brought in some sense in Milan’s reckless management, as unlike his predecessors, the Brazilian knows that the Rossoneri can not afford to overstretch themselves on the transfer market this year.

Getting back to Adriano Galliani’s approach in the latest years of his management, Milan are currently bringing in mainly free agents which, considering their financial state, is their only option. Pepe Reina and Ivan Strinic have the quality and the experience to become valuable squad members, while the arrival of Alen Halilovic is a big question mark, as the former Barcelona wonderkid hasn’t managed to live up to the potential that everyone has been seeing in him so far.

Unfortunately for Milan, they had to spent around €20m on Kalinic, as part of the deal for the Croat’s initial loan, a fee that was basically paid by the permanent sales of Gianluca Lapadula and M’Baye Niang. Offloading players like the ex-Fiorentina striker and Carlos Bacca will be crucial for the clubs’ financial stability, so this will be one of the biggest challenges for Leonardo until the end of the mercato.

Much will depend on Leonardo’s ability to sell some of Milan’s unneeded players, but arguably the most important moment of Milan’s mercato will be the outcome of the saga around the swap of Mattia Caldara and Leonardo Bonucci, as well as Gonzalo Higuain’s reported arrival to the San Siro.

According to multiple sources the deal is in its final stage, as Bonucci and Caldara have agreed to be swapped and the only obstacle is Higuain’s salary demands. However, it seems that it is just a matter of time for the differences between the parties to be sorted out and deal to be completed. Bringing in one of Italy’s brightest talents in Caldara as well as Higuain, who is still one of the deadliest goalscorers in Europe in the expense of €18m plus Bonucci, would be a major coup and a no brainer for the Diavolo.

Juventus need to sell Higuain and Milan really need a player of his calibre, so if the clubs can negotiate the right conditions the situation would be beneficial for all parties.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival in Turin will significantly limit Il Pipita’s playing time and Juve really need to get his salary off their books. On the other hand, it is true that Milan would have to pay another €34m next term to purchase the former Napoli star permanently, but even this is not that expensive for a player, who would arguably be the Rossoneri’s best acquisition in recent years.

As things stand, if the deal goes through, Milan would have a world class forward in Higuain, as well as a plephora of Italian talent, as Gigio Donnarumma, Patrick Cutrone, Davide Calabria, Alessio Romagnoli, Andrea Conti and Caldara all have the potential to be the spine of the future Nazionale, while the likes of Frank Kessie, Hakan Calhanoglu, Suso and Giacomo Bonaventura already have significant experience and quality.

While there is still plenty of time before the end of the transfer window and Milan’s finances should be the club’s primary concern, it is already evident that the Rossoneri and Leonardo are going in a completely different direction compared to the reckless spending last year.

Mirabelli’s and Fassone’s inability to find the right players at the right price and balance the books, has cost Milan dearly, but under Elliot’s more cautious and sensible approach lead by Leonardo, the Rossoneri can improve their team and fix some of the mess left by the former directors without spending too much.

Bringing in Higuain and Caldara would be a huge step forward for Milan, but regardless of the outcome of the deal, the early signs of Elliot’s cautious approach, lead by Leonardo, the Rossoneri can improve and fix some of the mess left by the former directors without spending too much.

This means that the revival of the great Milan would probably take longer than everyone had been hoping for, but the important thing is that the Rossoneri seem to have learned their lesson. Without extremely expensive new arrivals, offloading some of ageing players and a core of young talents, Milan can finally look forward to the new season without the burden of unrealistic expectations.

Have your say...
Gents please ignore my kiddo - he's a cuddly 12 year old but a bit duddly in his brain. He cannot process complex ideas other than being a fanboy and repeating "Worship Juve"

I for one look forward to a more competitive Serie A, and teams that can change the last 10 year cycle of Spanish teams.
on the 1st August, 2018 at 7:02pm
Dear BOSS...

Winning 8 scudetti in a row is quite an achievement! But... losing two CL finals in three years is an even bigger achievement! Well done Juve!

Juventus are the LOSERS... of Europe!
on the 1st August, 2018 at 7:01pm
Outside of whether they lose Bonucci, land Caldara & Higuain. 2 glaring needs in my eyes...1. I would sell the Swiss Rodriques. Overrated and honestly, is he really a better option than Antonelli? The answer is no so go with the Italiano and sell Rodrigues. Secondly, i would bring in back-up for Conti. That is the only way to mitigate risk with the youngster.
on the 1st August, 2018 at 6:27pm
Hey BOSS, just curious. Are you like 12 or something lol?
on the 1st August, 2018 at 6:15pm
It's funny to see all the haters comment here. It's a good move for Milan and addresses some needs they have. It'll be a good move for Juve if, and only if they win the CL.
on the 1st August, 2018 at 5:55pm
Hey BOSS...

Winning 8 scudetti in a row is quite an achievement... losing two CL finals in three years is an even bigger achievement!! Well done Juve!

Juve are the Losers of Europe!
on the 1st August, 2018 at 5:46pm
the biggest failure for me is milan inability to stick with a group of players for more than a season it is beyond frustrating to see milan not getting the best out of the players at the club.

It doesn't help that milan have failed to buy a decent creative midfield or creative wide players in over a decade, maybe you could consider that a excuse for the long string of failing strikers.

now milan needs to sell kalinic and bacca asap along with a host of unused players.
on the 1st August, 2018 at 5:32pm
the only thing they’ve learned is that they are just simply...losers. They’ve tried everything. Coaches, money, transfers, managers, different owners. At some point you just have to stop blaming others and take a long hard look in the mirror. Milan and their fans need to look into the mirror and just accept they are losers and are now a mid table team.

But don’t worry, your supporters still get to have a top signing at the club, when ronaldo comes to town and pulverises them ;)

Worship Juve!
on the 1st August, 2018 at 5:14pm
Lol now you lot are all raving about Leonardo? Wasn’t this clown a failure as a manager?

Milan fans were all on board with their signings last year and now that the ship is sinking they all want to jump like rats. You all supported that garbage transfer campaign now stick to your colours don’t blame that fassone geeza.

Leonardo will look good here even though he sucks because it can’t get any worse. You could put me in charge and I’d do a better job.
on the 1st August, 2018 at 5:10pm
Get Conte and we finally have a chance to secure top 4
on the 1st August, 2018 at 4:45pm
Bonucci may add to juves champions League push but he's not as great as we all thought and he's 31. No matter how many people make fun of higuain for missing chances and being fat, he was vital for Juventus the past two seasons. Hes a world class striker who will bring so much to Milan and if he can get 20 goals get into champions League and go far in europa then it's a huge success. Massive deal for milan. Add a winger and a midfielder and they can make a real push. Coming from a serie a fan.
on the 1st August, 2018 at 3:58pm
This deal is incredible for milan. Let's face it bonucci was bad last season and it just showed how much barzaghli and chiellini covered up for him. You're getting arguably the biggest prospect in caldara who had a way better season than bonucci next to romagnoli. The future of Italy. Milans biggest problem was goal scoring and missed opportunities, how many balls suso would put in with nobody to get it. Higuain will have a field day with balls from suso and calhanoglu.
on the 1st August, 2018 at 3:55pm
Is there any news on Bernard?
on the 1st August, 2018 at 3:15pm
I hope the reports of Higuain holding up the deal for more money are not true. It will just show that he greedy for much more than just food.
on the 1st August, 2018 at 2:53pm
Plerophoria means information. The writer wanted to say plethora = many
on the 1st August, 2018 at 2:42pm
I am not sure why so many people complain about Fassone and Mirabelli. 200m maybe is a lot for Milan, but not a lot in a transfer market - PSG spent 222m in one player, Barcelona spent almost 150m in Coutinho, and the examples can go on...
Of course they made mistakes (I would say Kalinic was a Montella's mistake also) but they brought Bonucci, Hakan, Rodriguez, Conti (a shame he is injured, but he was one of the best CB's in Serie A). In theory, a lot of people could do better, but in practice?
on the 1st August, 2018 at 2:39pm
Milan will shine again!
It will take couple years to clean up the mess left by Chinese and company. With Conte coming in and smart management will be on top of European football
Forza Milan!!!
on the 1st August, 2018 at 1:41pm
What interests me the most in this deal is how long Caldara's contract is going to be. If it's 3 years then i know why Beppe made the deal, Juventus will take him back in two years for the same price or for free the summer after. This young Milan team will be used like eery other young promissing team, sell one or two of them every summer to keep the finances up until the revenue rises enough so they don't have to. Qualiffiyng for the CL will put them on the map and the vultures will start circl
on the 1st August, 2018 at 1:08pm
Boy do I wish we had Leonardo in charge to spend that 200M a year ago. Silva, Kalinic were an utter waste of 60M. Biglia with a year left on contract for 20M was awful negotiating and Conti who knows with his injury. Kessie, Hakan and Rodriguez were the only good signings, as was Bonucci seeing as hes allowing us to get Higuain and Caldara. Borini was another total waste as much as I like him. Leonardo seems very competent in the market and I trust him to get money for some of our awful deadwood
on the 1st August, 2018 at 1:02pm
@viktor. And I suppose your appearances for who? Real Madrid? Milan? Man Utd? made you an expert did they? Remember Marco Van Basten by any chance? How about Casiraghi? Both careers ended by knee injury. Conti suffered the same injury consecutively and he's lost 1 year of his career. It stands to reason that his ACL will never be the same again. Even if he plays, he wont be the same guy Milan signed.
on the 1st August, 2018 at 12:47pm
@Conspiracy Aint a Theory

Conti´s career is over? Are you nuts. Just cause you tear the ligament doesn't meanr your career is over. Dude, never played football have you?
on the 1st August, 2018 at 11:54am
The previous mercato that was spear headed by Fassone and Mirabelli showed some signs of incompetency as they used a huge sum of money on average players without having a standout forward, something which cost Milan through out the season. I only hope Dollaruma would concentrate this season and continue his growth as Reina is good enough to replace him.
on the 1st August, 2018 at 11:30am
I would say it remains doubtful that going back to the 'Galliani method' can be construed as a step forward for the club. Do Milan really need to make so many changes to their membership this summer? Bonnucci leaving again, Higuain coming in... The incessant transfer carousel that takes place with football clubs every season is becoming so wearying to follow. It is difficult to summon any enthusiasm about the team or its players when the membership is always changing.
on the 1st August, 2018 at 9:48am
Still very early days. whether you like him or not, Leonardo is probably the best acquisition the club has made in the last few years and has already made moves. If Milan can get the Higuain/Bonucci/Caldara deal sorted out and maybe bring in another midfielder/winger and clear some of the deadwood I would be pretty happy with that.
on the 1st August, 2018 at 9:32am
Promising signs indeed from a financial and governance stability perspective...i just hope that the Caldara deal can be finalised, it will send a good signal for the future of the Milan team, provided they can retain the youngsters they started with last season. An intelligent playmaker to assist the midfielders would be a welcomed addition (to assist Bona/Suso/Calhano with some creativity). Forza Milan...
on the 1st August, 2018 at 9:26am
Milan needs only striker who can score 18-20 goals per session. Keep Cutrone and rest of striker must go Kalinic and Silva are both failed project. We have talent youth in the back and experience midfielder. remain the coach as well.
on the 1st August, 2018 at 8:44am
Whilst Milan are wise to be more cautious this year, but they still need to remember that improvements need to be made if they are to achieve anything. I dont care about Higuain, he might do well I don't know, but unless they get FAST wingers to add much needed pace, the attack still won't have any support. Higuain is older, fatter and more expensive than what we need. We need the next Mbappe or Depay. Even bring Deulofeu back, please!! And replace Conti, his career is over, lets face it.
on the 1st August, 2018 at 8:14am
This would be a really good deal for Milan and more importantly Serie A as we need both Milan clubs to be strong in order to have a more balanced league and build on the worldwide attention Serie A will be getting post the Ronaldo transfer.

While I am an Interista, I really do hope these deals happen.
on the 1st August, 2018 at 8:09am

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