Coming into the final day of the summer transfer window, Milan were riding a 3-1 victory over Lazio on the first match day for Serie A. With most of the voids filled already, Milan still had some work to do in order to set Pippo up with the best squad possible to succeed in hist first season as Milan manager. Milan still coveted a right winger and another midfielder despite the addition of Chelsea’s young Dutch midfielder Marco van Ginkel on a season loan deal. Well, today was one of the more shocking, exciting and confusing transfer deadlines in recent memory for Milan. Let’s dive into each move involving Milan. Parma’s explosive winger Jonathan Biabiany has been a target for Milan for a few weeks now as primary target Alessio Cerci was too expensive for the club’s liking and Adel Taarabt hasn’t kept himself in fit form. Earlier today, Milan had agreed to a deal that would bring the French winger to Milan while sending Cristian Zaccardo+ €4M to Parma.
So the deal was done and Milanisti rejoiced heavily as they saw Biabiany arrive to fill a need and waved goodbye to Zaccardo who has been the suspect for several of Milan’s moves that never went through. Biabany arrived and was now infamously holding up a Milan scarf while Zaccardo met with Parma officials. However, something didn’t fancy Zaccardo in this deal so he decided to call off the move.
He immediately became Milan’s biggest headache as he caused this deal to fall through. Biabiany remains with Parma and Zaccardo with Milan. The pitchforks were equipped. But this was only the beginning for Milan in what turned out to be a chaotic day. Bryan Cristante, arguably Milan’s most promising young talent, was subject of transfer rumors over the past week as Benfica expressed their interest in him. Benfica wanted him on a season loan but Milan management quickly said publicly that he will remain with the club. Looking for minutes and a chance to shine for his club, Cristante appeared to have had his last button pushed when Milan acquired van Ginkel yesterday. The squad was already filled with midfielders higher on the pecking order than Cristante and with captain Riccardo Montolivo set to return later this year, he didn’t see himself getting the minutes he desired. As a result, he requested a permanent transfer abroad to a foreign location. Out of respect, he didn’t want to be caught playing against his former club so he was sold to Benfica for €6M on a permanent move.
Galliani tried to convince Cristante to stay but he wasn’t having it. Cristante, a player Pippo managed as leader of the Primavera, never really got the chance to showcase his talent which was one of a few issues with the sale. Milanisti were also angered, perhaps confused, because most believed he had the ability to man the Milan midfield for years to come. Also, Cristante was sold for a mere €6M, which could be a small percentage of what Benfica could sell him for in a few years. This move was the one that left Milanisti fuming for answers.
After selling Cristante, Milan still had work to do in order to acquire a viable right winger and midfielder in the dying hours of the window. Giacomo Bonaventura, 25, was coveted by Inter and some believed he could be valued at around €12M. The Atalanta playmaker can play as an attacker or as a traditional midfielder making him a useful talent. In the final hours of the deadline, Bonaventura had agreed to a Milan move for €7M which is a steal given his value. The player has signed on with the Rossoneri until June 2019 so he will be here for quite some time. Bonaventura’s agent confirmed that his player was in tears as he made the switch because the move meant a lot to him. This surely is a good way to show your love for the team.
Here are my thoughts and reaction to each move or non-move:
Starting with Biabiany, he was a player that could have helped but he wasn’t seen as a “must have” by Milan fans. Good crosser but his main attribute is his quickness. More people are mad about Zaccardo not leaving as he has become one of the more despised players on the squad. He is last or near the bottom on the pecking order when talking about the defensive unit and he should receive little to no playing time so its confusing as to why he would reject a move back to Parma, who he played for prior to arriving at Milan. Hopefully, he gets sold in January as he is seen as one of the last remaining “must go” players on the squad.
As for Cristante, I am confused and pretty frustrated for a few reasons. 1. He rose through the ranks with Milan and it looked like he would finally play this season. 2. The club intends to implement youth yet sells what most would consider the best young talent they have. 3. They sold him for peanuts compared to what Benfica could sell him for down the road. 4. It leaves a sour taste in our mouths and his because he wasn’t treated properly and it got to the point where he needed to request a move. This isn’t good for the club because it shows the lack of character and respect for players. Everyone including myself wasn’t happy with the sale even though he is still a raw talent and they did wind up using this money on Bonaventura. Cristante has the potential to be a star for years to come and make his appearances for the Azzurri along the way. Its a shame we never got to experience him at his full potential here at Milan and I think it will come back to haunt the club down the road. This move also speaks volumes about how serious they are about a so called “youth movement.” I think the club has the urgency to try and win now as oppose to down the road. This move shows that Champions League qualification is the goal for this year and next year, not 3 years from now. Cristante is now a player to be compared to former Milan youth products Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (now playing for Dortmund) and Darmian. We look on as spectators of Bryan Cristante at Benfica to see if he will become what Milan fans thought he could be.
As for Giacomo “Jack” Bonaventura, I am pleased with the move. He fits the bill of what we were looking for. Can play as a winger or alongside de Jong and Muntari in the midfield providing more speed which is lacking in the current midfield under Pippo. He gives Milan added depth and versatility that can be deployed at multiple positions. You factor in the fee he arrived for and its icing on the cake for Milan. Good, young Italian playmaker that is controllable for years and truly understands just how special Milan is as a club. Tears of joy as he signed on? That is awfully good to hear. Oh, and because we stole an Inter target makes it that much more satisfying.
The Summer Transfer Window has closed across Europe so we can officially observe the final piece put together for Inzaghi. Milan’s next game will be against Parma the following weekend as international play begins. We have a good squad for this year so I am optimistic that Inzaghi can bring us back to Europe. Now, we watch on. Forza Milan.