Now that the AC Milan squad has returned, what needs to be finalised in the transfer market?
Bennacer has accepted Milan’s offer of €1.5m per year + bonuses. He will take his medical and sign his contract with Milan after the African Cup Of Nations, according to @NicoSchira. pic.twitter.com/DehKvM0KKv— TheMilanBible (@TheMilanBible) July 12, 2019
1. Complete the Bennacer Signing
Over the past few weeks, there has been conflicting reports as to the delay on the contract agreement with Ismael Bennacer. The Algeria international is currently playing in the Africa Cup of Nations and looks to engaged in the tournament throughout the next week. There are rumours that Bennacer demanded more money but this is just one of many rumours circling. The delay may simply be the player choosing to focus on his national duties and asking Milan to wait until the AfCON has ended. Signing Bennacer is a key upgrade for Milan as the team currently lacks a deep lying playmaker that Marco Giampaolo needs for his 4-3-1-2.
Ozan Kabak is set to join either Milan (more likely) or Schalke, according to Bild. It's very improbable that he joins Bayern Munich pic.twitter.com/gJvuWsUKkO— Milan Eye (@MilanEye) June 27, 2019
2. Find a Good Young Centre-Back
This summer Milan lost Cristian Zapata after his contract ran out. There is a need for an additional reinforcement at centre-back as there are question marks over the fitness of Mattia Caldara and Mateo Musacchio has been average. Milan had been chasing Kabak - a huge prospect - however, the young Turk opted to stay in Germany with Schalke 04. Currently, Milan have been linked with Dayot Upamecano from RB Leipzig, but he would enter the team as a starter and not a depth player thus raising questions over the faith the management has in Caldara. Either way, Milan need to focus on bringing in a young centre-back who has room for development but could potentially start alongside Alessio Romagnoli.
Milan have taken a step forward in the negotiations with Fiorentina for Veretout, as the Rossoneri are slowly approaching the demands of Fiorentina. Milan presented a higher offer than the previous one, also without a counterpart. [@DiMarzio] pic.twitter.com/PLhShIreTz— TheMilanBible (@TheMilanBible) July 12, 2019
3. Find a Quality Left Central Midfielder
This summer was a midfield exodus with Jose Mauri, Andrea Bertolacci and Riccardo Montolivo leaving the club and simultaneously Milan have shifted to a midfield-intensive system under Giampaolo. The current crop of midfielders are lacking an LCM and CM given Giacomo Bonaventura is still injured and Bennacer has not been finalised. The major rumours circling have been focused on Jordan Veretout from Fiorentina. He could slot in as a CDM or as a LCM but seems rather expensive. Milan could possibly explore other options such as Dennis Praet to ensure that the team has the quality and the depth to sustain and possession-based 4-3-1-2. The current roster would feature Lucas Paqueta as CAM, Franck Kessie as a RCM, Lucas Biglia as a CDM and Bonaventura as a LCM.
4. Sell A Winger or Two
Moving on from acquisitions, Milan are still liable to balance the books given recent infractions with FFP. Milan have switched from a 4-3-3 to a 4-3-1-2 thus a number of wingers are now obsolete at the club. Milan currently have Suso, Samu Castillejo, Fabio Borini and Hakan Calhanoglu on the squad. Calhangolu is the only player who can naturally transition into either a CAM or LCM thus still fits in the system. Suso can be used as a second striker or a CAM but he has shown that he struggles in central positions in the past, he also represents a big capital gain if sold. Borini and Castillejo realistically should be sold as they do not really fit anymore and Milan need to generate some money from sales whilst shaving off the wage budget.
5. Sell Two Left Backs
Lastly, the left back spot at Milan is overpopulated and costing a fortune in wages. Milan currently have Ricardo Rodriguez, Diego Laxalt and Ivan Strinic but have also acquired Theo Hernandez in this window. The wage bill is just under €7 million net per annum. Laxalt looks to be on his way out with a number of Serie A clubs interested in him but Strinic is more complicated given his health issues over the past season. The Croatia international has yet to feature for Milan but earns about €2 million a year thus the focus should be on finding a way for the player to leave the club. Generating sales from player who realistically will not get any game time should be a priority at this point.
Let me know which centre-backs or central midfielders Milan should be looking at in the comments below.