To many Milan fans, missing out on both Jackson Martinez and Geoffrey Kondogbia came as a blow. After seasons of pinching pennies, it seemed that Silvio Berlusconi would finally live up to his word and spend money this transfer window to build a squad competitive enough to challenge for the Scudetto. Milan was on the brink of signing both of these players before the deals quickly broke down, with Atletico Madrid signing Martinez and Inter signing Kondogbia (that one stung). Both Martinez and Kondogbia are great players. Martinez has a great eye for goal and a unique ability to create space for himself. Kondogbia has outstanding dribbling technique, played a key role in bringing A.S Monaco to the quarterfinals of the Champions League, and is just 22 years old. Yet despite these attributes, because of the high price tags attached to these players, it’s better these players won’t be wearing Rossonero come September.
Athletico Madrid paid 25 million euros for Jackson Martinez – a player who is 28 years old and will be 29 in October (which may or may not be fact, according to your facility with fractions). 25 million euros is a substantial amount for a player who is about to turn 29 and has never played in one of the top 5 leagues in the world. For about the same price of Martinez’s transfer fee, Zlatan Ibrahimovic could return to Milan or, say, Edinson Cavani could join. Martinez’s stats are drawn from his play in the Premeira Liga in Portugal, which many would argue lacks the quality of Spain’s La Liga, the EPL, or the Serie A. Thus, not only is Martinez aging, but he lacks experience at the highest level of competition. Even though Porto had success in the Champions League this year, when they came across one of Europe’s top teams, Bayern Munich, they were thrashed, 6-1. The scoreline points to a disparity between one of the best teams in the Premiera Liga and one of the best teams in the Bundesliga. It should also be noted that Martinez fares considerably worse when playing with Colombia. His contribution to los Cafeteros - or rather, lack thereof - reflects upon potential contributions for his club.
Unlike Martinez, Kondogbia will likely thrive in any league, because he has time to adapt to new surroundings and grow as a player. Kondogbia, however, cost Inter a whopping 40 million euros. Instead of spending 40 million euros on an untested 22-year old, Milan could use that money to strengthen their back line and sign defenders a like Mats Hummels or even Sergio Ramos. True, Milan’s midfield does need improvement, but right now, its back line is in most immediate need of reinforcements. Oh, and then Kondogbia joined Inter while he was courting Milan. The nerve! You just can’t do that, man.
At the end of the day Jackson Martinez and Geoffrey Kondogbia would have cost Milan 75 million euros. That’s a hefty investment with marginal return. Every cloud has a silver lining, and it looks like missing out on these transfer targets really was a blessing in disguise.