Well, a mega-deal between AC Milan and Juventus is appearing to be coming close to fruition. Multiple sources are saying that the two Serie A giants are nearing a deal that would send Leonardo Bonucci back to Turin, with Mattia Caldara and Gonzolo Higuain going back to Milan, with loan moves and prices in the tens of millions of euros being discussed.
Higuain is being rumored to be off to Milan on a loan deal with a requirement to buy, and with a €15 million loan fee being discussed. Bonucci’s deal to return to Juventus apparently hinges on Caldara going in the other direction.
Gazzetta dello Sport are reporting Milan and Juve are pretty much in agreement for Bonucci and Caldara swap deal. As for Higuain, Milan have found the formula to acquire him: loan with obligation to buy. Chelsea have never made an offer (yet) for Higuain. pic.twitter.com/nNDT2MB5sT— TheMilanBible (@TheMilanBible) July 27, 2018
Both deals are also reportedly subject to some other complications. Chelsea are thought to be interested in both Higuan and Caldara, and representatives from Chelsea are reportedly going to meet with Juventus over the weekend.
It’s also been reported that any move by Milan for Higuain may involve Milan finding buyers for Nikola Kalinic, Carlos Bacca, and André Silva. Kalinic has consistently been linked with a move to either Sevilla or Atlético Madrid. Bacca is thought to be interested in staying in Spain with Villarreal, but if Villarreal can’t meet Milan’s valuation for the Colombian, it’s thought that Valencia might swoop in for a transfer. Silva’s been linked with a move away from the San Siro as well, as the Portuguese striker has been rumored to link up with his former manager Nuno Espírito Santo at Wolverhampton in England, the preferred place for Jorge Mendes clients and Portuguese internationals these days.
It’s not surprising to see most of these strikers linked with moves away from Milan, as none of them worked out as anyone would have hoped after their moves to the San Siro. Bacca spent last year on loan at Villarreal, and his departure from the club is almost a given: so much so that the official Milan Twitter account failed to acknowledge him as a Milan player when he was with the Colombia national team at the 2018 World Cup.
Kalinic’s move away from Milan has also been reported as almost certain to happen. Silva’s departure has been rumored as well, although it looked like he wasn’t going anywhere under the previous owners who were either unable or willing to spend the money to replace him.
Replacing Bonucci with an up-and-coming defender such as Mattia Caldara would be a good deal for Milan. Caldara has spent the past two seasons on loan at Atalanta, helping the club reach the Europa League as well as scoring 10 goals in the past two seasons, a very respectable number for a central defender. He’s also only 24 years old, meaning that he is just starting to reach his prime as a player, while Bonucci, at 31 years old, is in the twilight of his career.
Bonucci wants to go back to Juventus, Juventus wants him back, and it looks like Milan is willing to send him back, as long as there is a deal in place to replace him in the lineup. The deal for Higuain is reportedly separate, but it’s hard to see either one of these deals taking place without the other one as well.
A move like this would have a very big impact on the face of Serie A. Juventus would be getting Bonucci back, but also losing a top goal-scoring striker. Milan would (finally) be getting an established Serie A striker, but will have to pay a considerable cost to land him. At 30 years old, Higuain is also entering the twilight of his career, but the former Real Madrid and Napoli striker is still one of the top strikers in the world.
Higuain scored an incredible 36 goals in 34 appearances for Napoli in the 2015-16 season under current Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, so the lure of Premier League cash and glory might be too much for both Juventus and the striker to turn down, but Milan would still be an ideal location for Higuain to land if he’s considering leaving Turin.
Will these deals happen? Will they make Milan better?
Any more for Higuain needs to work out well for the investment to pay off. He’s not getting any younger and Milan would need to reach the Champions League to justify paying the sort of price, €60 million overall, that is rumored to be needed to land him. He’d potentially be a good mentor for Patrick Cutrone, the striking heir apparent at Milan, to learn from. He’s scored a lot of goals for a lot of top teams in world football, so while he’ll be expensive, he’s sure to deliver the goods.
Swapping Bonucci for Caldara is an absolute no-brainer from a footballing perspective. Bonucci is older and Caldara has a bright future ahead of him, but Milan will still miss Bonucci’s leadership and experience. However, if Bonucci doesn’t want to be at Milan, then he should be allowed to leave, and getting a player such as Caldara would be a great piece of business for new Milan General Manager Leonardo.
Do you think these potential deals will help or hurt Milan? Let us know in the comments.