Last season’s Serie A winners AC Milan face a big month ahead which could shape the future of the club over the next few seasons. Some will argue that the priority will be to overturn the 2-0 deficit from the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.
But for Paolo Maldini and Frederic Massara, ensuring they are able to play in Europe’s top competition again without needing to beat Manchester City or Real Madrid in a final will be top of the agenda.
Financially, finishing in the top four spots is extremely lucrative, especially for Italian clubs. If the Rossoneri do finish in the top four it’ll be for the third consecutive season. The club can then push on with their plans for the summer.
Future of Rafael Leao
It has been widely reported that Rafael Leao has penned a new five-year deal. with Milan, although it has not been officially confirmed. The highly-rated winger has been attracting interest from clubs such as Liverpool and Chelsea.
Leao’s future has been a hot topic around Europe this season, and Milan will be anxious to formally announce the new deal. The 23-year-old, who missed the Champions League semi-final first leg vs. Inter through an abductor injury, has reportedly penned a new contract worth around €7 million a season with a rumoured release clause worth over €150m.
That has been the main aim of the club when it comes to the transfer market and the fact they may have wrapped it up before the season ends is very important.
Potential new faces to bolster the AC Milan squad
There are numerous positions that Maldini and Massara will be looking to strengthen, one of which will be a backup for Leao. The need for that has been made even more evident after the defeat to Inter.
One name that has come up, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, is Noah Okafor who currently plays for RB Salzburg in Austria. The wingers’ contract expires in 2024 meaning he is expected to be on the move this summer. Okafor has scored seven goals in 21 league matches this season and can also play as a centre-forward.
AC Milan know that they will need another out-and-out centre forward next season to help Olivier Giroud and unload the burden on the French striker.
Summer signing Divock Origi has not reached the heights many had hoped since his free transfer from Liverpool. Joao Pedro from Watford was one name being linked but he has recently signed for Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League.
There is of course the enigma that is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. whilst almost everybody involved with Milan wants him to continue, there are continuous doubts about his physical capability given he is 41 years old and has struggled to regain fitness all season.
Alvaro Morata is a name which keeps cropping up as he would be available from Atletico Madrid, but only for around €25 million. If Milan do not make the top four, that could have a serious impact on whether they can splash that sort of figure on a striker.
A couple more attacking midfielders, be they wide or central, are also on the agenda. Milan would love to buy Brahim Diaz from Real Madrid at the end of his loan spell, whilst they are also very keen on Empoli’s Tommaso Baldanzi as another option in that area of the pitch.