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Written by Arjit

Ok Fellow Milanisti ! Let’s Discuss Milan ! Let’s Talk Some Red & Black !

Rossoneri’s Summer Mercato 2020/21 — Player Sales

The term ‘mercato madness’ holds a special meaning in the Italian football landscape. Anyone who follows Serie A will be quite familiar with the term. It’s most commonly associated with all the excitement and frenzy that surrounds the transfer market window. It’s almost celebrated as a huge carnival or festival in Italy. The ‘mercato madness’ brings a certain level of anticipation amongst fans, regardless of their club affiliations. The ‘mercato’ has great influence on modern football. It can be a real lifesaver, with clubs having to content with ridiculously hectic calendars in the modern game. In the midst of all the craziness, the ‘mercato’ offers a welcome opportunity to take a breather and recuperate. Not to mention the financial benefits, with clubs generating important revenue via transfer dealings each year.

POLICY SHIFT

An undervalued element of ‘mercato’ has to do with selling players. In the past, Milan has massively struggled in this particular department. This has largely stemmed from instability and mismanagement at the club in recent years. The club has made some awful decisions on the market, overpaying for average players. Due to unwarranted mega salaries those players were on, it became almost impossible to offload them. The club recorded capital losses in the process. One major reason for the club’s poor financial health in recent times. Although, things have started to change. The new owners Elliott Management have made it an absolute priority to address this issue. Ivan Gazidis, ex Arsenal chief, has been entrusted with the enormous task of leading Milan in a new direction. Gazidis has been blunt in his message, the club must reduce costs and increase revenue. Hence, a shift in transfer policy. The club will focus on acquiring young players with future potential who can develop at the club. This will ensure low cost of acquisition, whilst the club can sell them at a later date for profit if they wish to do so. It’s a popular model in Europe, with Monaco, RB Leipzig, Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund just a few notable examples. Now Milan seem to be headed in that direction as well. As part of the new transfer policy, the club has to do a better job of selling players at the right time for the right price.

SMART EXIT TACTIC

The ‘summer mercato’ was a promising start in that sense. Led by the duo of Maldini and Massara, the club was able to sell several fringe players for good money. Milan raised €44m from the sales of Suso and Paqueta. Biglia and Bonaventura were allowed to leave at the end of their contracts. Milan must comply with Financial Fair Play. The club must act in a smart manner and find creative ways of raising cash whilst remaining competitive on the field. Under current circumstances, Milan did a marvelous job of doing just that. Finally, a decent ‘mercato’ showing from the Rossoneri in terms of sales.

Without much further ado, let’s review Milan’s ‘outgoing summer mercato’.

DEPARTURES

Jack Bonaventura
Transfer Rating — 8 / 10
Transfer Fee Received — End Of Contract

The most difficult departure to swallow for the fans. Jack said goodbye to Milan after spending more than half a decade at the club. During this time, Jack was the perfect embodiment of loyalty and professionalism. The Italy international remained loyal to the club even during difficult times, earning him the respect and admiration of the Rossoneri faithful. He could also be regarded as the club’s most consistent performer in the last few years. He had an expiring contract which wasn’t renewed. It was an informed choice on the part of Milan management. The injuries had clearly started to affect his performances, with his best years clearly were behind him. He could’ve made a viable squad player, but it just wasn’t worth it at his current wages and he probably wanted a more prominent role. He signed with Fiorentina in the summer, and we sincerely wish him great success with his new adventure in Florence.

Lucas Biglia
Transfer Rating — 10 / 10
Transfer Fee Received — End Of Contract

The best outcome for all parties involved, to be brutally honest. Biglia was purchased from Lazio back in 2017 under the dreadful Chinese ownership. He was considered an important acquisition after a successful season with Lazio. He was expected to be the lynchpin in Milan’s midfield. As we know, things didn’t turn out that way. He had a torrid time at the club constantly battling injuries and inconsistency. This prompted Maldini to buy Bennacer last summer. Once the Algerian replaced him as a starter in midfield, there was no way back for Biglia. He eventually left this summer upon the expiry of his current deal. A sensible decision from the club, considering the Argentine didn’t really seem to have much left in his tank to contribute towards the Rossoneri’s cause.

The Rossoneri Bid Farewell To Both Jack & Biglia Over The Summer As Part Of The Club’s Youth Revolution
Alessandro Plizzari & Tommaso Pobega
Transfer Rating — 9 / 10
Transfer Fee Received — Loan Deals

The pair have been loaned out to Reggina and Spezia respectively. Plizzari has been with the Rossoneri for a long time. Unfortunately for him, there’s Gigio ahead of him as the undisputed starter. With Tatarusanu arriving as a backup, it made sense to loan Plizzari for regular playing time. The same goes for Pobega. With the club signing Tonali and keeping Krunic, sending Pobega to newly promoted Spezia was the best option. He will gain crucial Serie A experience which will help his development. Both of them rational moves which will hopefully turn out well for Milan’s young guns.

Diego Laxalt
Transfer Rating — 7 / 10
Transfer Fee received — Loan Deal

The Uruguayan departed for Celtic during the last days of the window. He wasn’t getting much game time at Milan and has mostly been a peripheral figure since arriving from Genoa. He’s a decent bench option at best. Milan did well to find him a new club after bringing in Dalot who can play on the left side. Although, it would’ve been better to sell him outright and recover some cash. The reports say Celtic might be interested in making the move permanent when the season ends. It would be the perfect solution for all since he’s never really come to the fore in Milan colors.

Ricardo Rodriguez
Transfer Rating — 8 / 10
Transfer Fee Received — €3m

The Swiss international was signed from Wolfsburg back in 2017. He came with high expectations as a set piece specialist. He was considered one of the best left backs in the Bundesliga for many seasons. Sadly, things didn’t turn out exactly well for him with the Rossoneri. Although he was a regular under Gattuso, his performances weren’t convincing. He looked extremely sloppy in possession and slow in making recovery runs. He rarely delivered good crosses and wasn’t much of an attacking threat. With the emergence of Theo, it was inevitable that Rodriguez would be shipped off. Maldini did well to find a buyer in Torino. Milan recorded a minor capital loss, but also saved big on his salary. A decent deal seeing as he didn’t quite fit in Pioli’s long term plans.

Andre Silva
Transfer Rating — 7 / 10
Transfer Fee Received — €9m

Milan paid a hefty €38m for the Portuguese striker back in 2017. A product of the famous Porto academy, he had attracted the attention of almost all top clubs in Europe following a productive breakout season. Milan secured his services by overcoming some intense competition. The media declared it as a massive coup at the time. It looked like Milan had finally signed the perfect player to wear the prestigious ‘number 9’ jersey. However, it didn’t materialize at all. He had slow start, but also scored some important goals. He fared much better in the Europa League, scoring an impressive hattrick against Austria Wien. But he just couldn’t replicate that form in the league. His loan move with Sevilla didn’t work out either. However, he did find his goalscoring touch at Frankfurt the following year. He eventually moved to the Bundesliga this summer for a surprising fee. It’s been reported that it has something to do with Rebic joining Milan on a permanent deal as well. A capital loss of €5m, but a reasonable deal since Milan got Rebic in return after the Croatian’s successful loan spell.

Lucas Paqueta
Transfer Rating — 8 / 10
Transfer Fee Received — €20m ( 15% Future Resale )

A masterstroke by Maldini and Massara. Milan paid around €40m to secure his signature from Flamengo back in January 2019. He started in a brilliant manner, wooing the crowd with his flair and Samba skills. He looked pretty comfortable in making the leap from Brasileiro to Serie A. As the fans were ready to declare him the next Kaká, Paqueta suddenly fell off the cliff. The performances started to drop by the end of the season. The arrival of Pioli made things worse as he didn’t fit in the manager’s system. Pioli preferred Hakan in the ‘number 10 role’, relegating Paqueta to the bench. A massive investment down the drain, it seemed. Not the case. Lyon showed interest in him during the last days of the window. After some negotiations, Maldini found an agreement with the French club for €20m. Milan will also receive 15% on a future resale. Paqueta’s residual value on the books was around the €20m mark, so the club did avoid a loss. A superb deal on Milan’s part.

Suso
Transfer Rating — 9 / 10
Transfer Fee Received — €24m

Suso joined Milan from Liverpool back in 2015 for a fee believed to be less than €1m. The Spaniard was often Milan’s most creative player during the last few seasons. The team relied heavily on him to create and score goals on a consistent basis. However, he didn’t deliver on that. He wasn’t a very productive player at all, phasing in and out of games. His goals and assists tally were nowhere near the level needed from a star player. Furthermore, he was just a one trick pony. He would start from the right wing, cut inside onto his left foot and either take a shot or launch a hopeful cross. His right foot was almost non existent. He severely lacked speed to beat his marker and lacked tactical adaptability to play in a different system. Sevilla loaned him in January with an obligation to make the move permanent in case of Champions League qualification. The clause was triggered in the summer, much to the relief of Milan fans and management. He didn’t fit Pioli’s vision and his absence hasn’t affected the team at all. Milan are fast and dynamic now, something Suso didn’t excel in. The club made a nice profit of around €23m, while the Spaniard needed a change of scenery as well. A genuine win-win scenario for everyone.

Milan Made Some Important Sales Over The Summer As Paqueta & Suso Departed For Lyon & Sevilla Respectively
Pepe Reina
Transfer Rating — 9 / 10
Transfer Fee Received — Free Transfer

The veteran goalkeeper was let go to join Lazio in the summer. He was a backup to Gigio and didn’t play many games. It didn’t make sense to keep him on ridiculous wages. The club will save €6m gross in wages. Milan did bring in Tatarusanu to play second fiddle to Gigio. He’s experienced at the top level and will provide solid cover. Overall, nothing but a shrewd piece of business from the Milan management.

Alen Halilovic & Gustavo Gomez
Transfer Rating — 10 / 10
Transfer Fee Received — €7m

Most Milan fans had even forgotten that the pair were still part of the club. Maldini and Massara were finally able to offload them this summer. Gomez was sold for around €7m while Halilovic was let go for free. A huge sigh of relief for all parties concerned in all honesty. 

CONCLUDING REMARKs
Overall Transfer Rating — 8 / 10
Total Transfer Fee Received — €63m

Milan’s recent history clearly shows the club’s major failings when it comes to selling. It’s been the club’s Achilles heel during the last decade. A classic case of ‘underselling assets’. In this case, selling players below their actual valuation on the market. This has affected the club’s capacity to spend as well. Not anymore it seems. The club has fared much better in this regard under Elliott Management. Gazidis has made it abundantly clear on several occasions that Milan must adopt a more sustainable model of recruitment. One major part of it involves ‘smart selling’, an algorithm to determine the player’s fair market valuation. We’ve already started to see this policy take shape in this ‘summer mercato’. There was a mass exodus of players who weren’t part of the project anymore. The sale of Suso generated a massive capital gain. Silva and Paqueta left before their valuations could depreciate further, hence losses were avoided. By not renewing Jack and Biglia, Milan saved around €6m in wages. A critical step towards budget cuts. All in all, an important window for the club in terms of sales. Milan offloaded several players deemed outside the sporting project, raising money via sales proceeds and savings on player salaries. Perhaps a blueprint for future transfer windows as well.

Rating: 0.5 out of 5.

One comment on “Milan’s Summer Departures

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