This has been a very unusual summer for AC Milan and you’d be hard-pressed to find a fan who would say it’s gone how they’d have hoped.
After narrowly beating Inter to the Serie A title last season, you want to see your team strengthen in key areas and look ready to defend the title and go further in the Champions League than the group stages.
Milan had their summer transfer window put on hold by the RedBird Capital Group takeover and the huge delays that caused to the renewal of Paolo Maldini and Frederic Massara’s contracts. Deals for the directors to stay were only agreed at the 11th hour and that meant certain deals just did not progress in time.
The only major player to have departed this summer is Franck Kessie and that was known about for many months. The two players linked the most to address key areas were Lille duo Sven Botman and Renato Sanches.
The former grew tired of waiting for Milan to come up with the money to pay Lille and he ended up joining Newcastle United’s defence instead. Sanches is waiting to see if Paris Saint-Germain make an approach for him and Milan are effectively doing the same.
AC Milan transfers: Signings and sales
There is a lot less to say when it comes to the Rossoneri’s transfer business for all of the aforementioned reasons.
Kessie is the major outgoing, followed by Samu Castillejo who has joined Gennaro Gattuso’s Valencia and Alessio Romagnoli who has joined Lazio on a free transfer.
They have made the deals for Junior Messias and Alessandro Florenzi permanent which will have pleased Stefano Pioli a lot as they are very solid performers that did a great job last season when needed.
Divock Origi has joined for free from Liverpool which is important for adding depth up front. Olivier Giroud cannot do it all alone and it will be intriguing to see if Origi can dislodge the Frenchman in the starting lineup.
Club Brugge midfielder Charles De Ketelaere is about to sign and he will bring some youthful exuberance to the attacking midfield. He is positionally flexible and Milan have been after him for around a calendar year now. The fee is likely to be around €36 million.
Given he is only 21 years old, he has played 133 competitive games, scoring 29 times and getting 21 assists. It is hard to imagine the Belgian not being a hit at the San Siro and he addresses a need for more creative options in the squad.
The next job is to sign a centre-back to replace Alessio Romagnoli as a depth option. PSG’s Abdou Diallo is linked, as is Tottenham Hotspur’s Japhet Tanganga.
A central midfielder is still being chased with Sanches the club’s favourite option. Whether they get him or someone else, they’re going to be doing some business pretty late in the window which Pioli may not have expected.
AC Milan season expectations
Having won the league last season and not lost a host of key players, the expectation and aim for the Rossoneri simply has to be to defend the title.
That being said, Inter and Juventus look like stronger squads on paper right now and it will take some late deals to change that. De Ketelaere should be a great signing but they need depth at the back and a bit more in midfield too.
Deals will certainly materialise in this final month of the window but Pioli would have wanted to have more time with his new players and there could be a more pronounced transition period. That being said, it is still the same core ingredients that won Serie A last season and they will be right up there again.
Pioli will have more players in attack to try and keep happy throughout the season which is something he didn’t really have to deal with last season but given the injury troubles they had, he’ll be very glad of the extra options.
Top four will almost certainly happen, a second Scudetto in two years may be too big an ask.