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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 Signings

The best part of the ‘mercato’ for the club supporters, signing new players. It brings renewed excitement and enthusiasm amongst the fanbase. Every club around Europe remains attentive to the ‘mercato opportunities’ in the current football climate. The clubs prepare beforehand, identifying targets and establishing contacts with the players’ agents. Purely looking from the players’ perspective, the ‘mercato’ provides a chance for a fresh start. The ‘mercato’ has a key role to play in modern football. With fixture congestion becoming the new norm in Europe, clubs often find their squads stretched to the bare bones. The ‘mercato’ offers the chance to reflect and reinforce. It has evolved over the years and become almost a ‘science’ in modern football. It’s true what they say, the ‘mercato’ can make or break a season.

RECRUITMENT MODEL

Milan has historically been a juggernaut of Italian football. In addition, the club has an impressive pedigree on the European stage, with 7 Champions League titles. The fans have seen some of the greatest players pull on the iconic red and black stripes. The Rossoneri have always recruited the best and broken several transfer records along the way. However, the club has endured a difficult last decade and hasn’t won any major honors since the last Scudetto back in 2011. The club has often made poor decisions in the ‘mercato’, often overspending in terms of transfer fees and player salaries. Under Elliott management, the club has undergone a 360° shift in transfer policy. Ivan Gazidis has publicly declared that the club can’t afford massive investments due to FFP restrictions. Milan has since adopted a sustainable recruitment model focused around young players who can further develop into future superstars. A specialized scouting team has been setup headed by Geoffrey Moncada, the man responsible for discovering talents such as Mbappe, Fabinho and Bernardo Silva amongst others. The aim is to reduce costs whilst improving the quality of the team. The endgame is quite clear, improve financial and sporting results, and achieve total self sustainability.

CREATIVE SCOUT MISSION

The plan has worked well so far. The dynamic duo of Maldini and Massara have done an admirable job identifying quality young players who fit Pioli’s current project. This has been evident by the successful signings of Ismael Bennacer and Theo Hernandez. The squad was further bolstered in recent ‘summer mercato’ with the arrivals of young talents like Jens Petter Hauge and Sandro Tonali. Pioli has undoubtedly worked wonders with the young pool of players during his time at Milan, and he’ll now be expected to repeat the same trick again with the club’s latest arrivals.

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

ARRIVALS

Pierre Kalulu
Transfer Rating 6 / 10
Transfer Fee Paid Free Transfer

The Lyon youth academy graduate was the Rossoneri’s first acquisition in the summer. The right back had an expiring contract with the Ligue 1 side and Milan pounced on the opportunity to add a talented youngster to their ranks. The France U20 international captained Lyon in UEFA Youth League and attracted the interest of numerous European clubs with his impressive performances. The reports in the French media say that Lyon fought tooth and nail to convince the Frenchman to extend his contract. In the end, he decided to join Milan after the charm offensive from none other than Paolo Maldini himself. The fact that Lyon were disappointed to lose Kalulu shows that the Rossoneri have made a significant transfer coup. Although he’s not quite ready for a starting role at the club, Kalulu perfectly embodies Milan’s current sporting project under the new ownership of Elliott Management.

Ciprian Tatarusanu
Transfer Rating 6 / 10
Transfer Fee Paid €500k

The Romanian international was another summer signing from Lyon. With Pepe Reina leaving on a free, Milan acted swiftly to sign a replacement. A sensible deal taking into account that Tatarusanu has signed on a cheaper contract compared to Reina. The club has saved money yet signed an able deputy to Gigio. The Romanian possesses a wealth of experience from his previous stint with Fiorentina. It’s a low cost deal and a solid depth option.

Brahim Diaz
Transfer Rating 7 / 10
Transfer Fee Paid Loan Deal

The Spanish wizard has arrived on a season long loan from Madrid due to lack of opportunities at the Bernabéu. Diaz is a versatile forward who plays across the frontline and he’s comfortable with either foot. He will add flair, dynamism and unpredictability to Milan’s attack. It’s a great deal since the clubs have agreed to discuss his permanent signing once the current season comes to a close. A low risk high reward kind of deal.

Diego Dalot
Transfer Rating 6 / 10
Transfer Fee Paid Loan Deal

The Portuguese right back has signed on loan for the season due to limited playing time since Wan-Bissaka’s emergence at Old Trafford. The ex-Porto man will offer cover for Calabria on the right side of defense. The fact that he can play at left back will come in handy as the Rossoneri don’t currently have a backup for Hernandez. Dalot has Europa league experience as well from his United and Porto days. Milan will sit down with Manchester United at the end of the campaign to discuss his permanent signing, provided he manages to impress during his time in Italy. A solid deal by the club.

Jens Petter Hauge
Transfer Rating 7 / 10
Transfer Fee Paid €5m

A special ‘summer surprise’. The young Norwegian forward was almost an unknown quantity to the Milan fanbase. Then Milan met FK Bodø/Glimt in the Europa league group stage match. Hauge produced a fantastic display on the night, registering a goal and an assist. He caught the eye of Maldini and Massara, who were present in the stands for the game. Suddenly, the reports started to emerge in the Italian media that Milan were negotiating a deal with the Norwegian club for Hauge. Apparently, he had made a big impression on the Milan management. Few days later, Hauge was officially a Milan player. In the aftermath of the signing, it was revealed the decision to sign Hauge wasn’t an impulse one. In fact, Milan had been tracking him for a while, with head scout Moncada a keen admirer. His signing has also been endorsed by the teenage sensation Haaland, a fellow compatriot and friend of Hauge. Milan won the race for his signature ahead of Leipzig and Man United. Based on the cost of operation and early impression, it’s a bargain deal for the club.

Sandro Tonali
Transfer Rating 8 / 10
Transfer Fee Paid €10m Loan + €15m Option & €10m Bonuses

A special ‘summer present’. A dream transfer for any Rossoneri supporter. Tonali is the ‘poster boy’ of Italian football. He’s earned numerous plaudits for his performances on the back a breakthrough season with his boyhood club Brescia. After an impressive first season in Serie A, the young prodigy confirmed his status amongst Europe’s best talents. All top clubs in Europe had been following his progress including the likes of Barcelona, Inter and Juventus. In fact, Tonali had been close to joining rivals Inter before Conte vetoed the move in favor of the veteran Vidal. Inter’s loss was Milan’s gain as Maldini made a decisive assault and managed to wrap up the deal in a quickfire time. Tonali has confessed many times that he’s a boyhood Milan supporter and idolizes club legend Gennaro Gattuso. Although, his playing style and appearance have drawn comparisons from Andrea Pirlo, another Rossoneri icon. Tonali will add creativity and composure to the Rossoneri’s midfield. The fans are already drooling at the prospect of Tonali, Bennacer and Kessie playing together in Milan’s engine room. It’s safe to say Maldini and Massara seized the glorious opportunity out of the blue and came up with a real masterstroke.

Simon Kjaer & Alexis Saelemaekers
Transfer Rating 8 / 10
Transfer Fee Paid €7m

Kjaer initially arrived on loan from Atalanta in January. The Dane has since formed a solid defensive partnership with Romagnoli. The centre back has added experience and leadership at the back. He has been one of the best defenders in Serie A, especially since the post lockdown period. In light of his performances, Milan paid €3.5m to sign him on a permanent deal from his parent club Sevilla. Considering his impact on the team, a bargain deal.

Saelemaekers was initially bought on loan from Anderlecht in January. His impressive performances with the Belgium club convinced Milan to take a chance on the youngster. At the time, the club needed cover at right back. The Belgian’s ability to play across the entire right flank caught the eye of the club scouts. Besides his versatility, Saelemaekers also possesses great dynamism and tactical maturity, something he displayed in abundance during his time with the Belgian giants. Milan paid around €3.5m to purchase him on a permanent basis. Considering the cost and potential, a clever signing.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic & Ante Rebic
Transfer Rating 9 / 10
Transfer Fee Paid €5m

Zlatan returned to Milan in January. The club was in crisis, having suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Atalanta. Maldini decided to call Zlatan and the ‘Lion’ duly obliged. In typical fashion, Zlatan stamped his authority and pulled the club out of deep waters. With Zlatan in the team, Milan are a completely different beast. In fact, the club has only recorded two losses since his return in the red and black colors. Once a struggling team, Zlatan has turned Milan into potential Scudetto contenders. It was inevitable that the club would extend his contract for another year. It made perfect sense for both parties to continue this journey together. A decisive move from the Milan management to lock down Zlatan for another season.

Rebic arrived on loan last summer from Bundesliga, with Andre Silva going in the opposite direction to Eintracht Frankfurt on the same terms. It’s fair to say the Croat had a slow start, often finding himself warming the bench. However, he exploded in the beginning of 2020. By the end of the season, Rebic was the top scorer for the Rossoneri, scoring an impressive 12 goals in all competitions. Astonishingly, all of his goals came in the year of 2020. In the summer, Milan and Frankfurt decided to resume talks for a mutually beneficial deal that made both players’ moves permanent. Andre Silva was sold for €3m and Rebic was purchased outright for €5m, as per the reports from the reliable German source Bild. It’s reported the deal was structured for accounting purposes. Nonetheless, smart piece of business from the Rossoneri seeing as Rebic has become an integral part of Pioli’s tactical setup.

Concluding Remarks
Overall Transfer Rating 7 / 10
Total Transfer Fee Paid €27.5m

Under Elliott, the club has embarked on a different direction. The ‘mercato mantra’ is pretty simple, acquire young talented players with future upside at affordable cost. That’s the new reality for the club. Gazidis has made a very candid declaration, Milan must comply with FFP regulations. The club won’t splash the cash, but instead find creative ways to strengthen on the market. Scouting and data analysis will be key to identify the right kind of profiles for the current project. For this reason, the club has formed a new scouting team led by the expert Geoffrey Moncada. In fact, we’ve already started to see the ‘fruits of labor’. In the ‘summer mercato’, Milan acquired talented young players without going overboard. The club acted in a smart manner on the market and reinforced the team without breaking the bank. Bennacer and Hernandez have already become pillars of the squad, hence providing credibility to the Rossoneri’s ‘youth project’. The trend continued in the recent window with the arrivals of Tonali and Hauge for a combined €15m (€25m more potentially when Tonali joins on permanent basis). The club also managed to loan other talented youngsters like Brahim and Dalot to add depth to the squad. Overall, the recent ‘summer mercato’ was quite frankly a breath of fresh air as far as fans are concerned. Milan had a clear plan and a list of targets heading into the market. Also, the club was ready to seize immediate ‘mercato opportunities’ as evident in the case of Tonali. Maldini and Massara deserve massive credit for conducting smart business within a limited budget. They had to get creative and they did. Some really interesting young players arrived for reasonable transfer fees and salaries. Perhaps a hint of what’s to come in the future ‘mercati’. The Elliott project has finally taken off after few early hiccups, and this certainly promises some exciting times ahead for the Rossoneri faithful.

* Cover Image Taken From sempremilan.com

Rating: 0.5 out of 5.

2 comments on “Milan’s Summer Arrivals

  1. Planet Paul says:

    I follow FC Nantes where Tatarusanu was number one but now he’s just decided to be one of those ‘keepers playing out his career as a number two. I don’t get it! Well, I do… money obviously.

    Just checked and he’s 35 but we’ve seen the likes of Given and Friedel etc peaking at the age.

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