Humbled AC Milan rebuilds team using 70 mln from selling midfielder Tonali
MILAN – A ton of player signings have made for a hectic summer at Casa Milan as club managers splurged on a new foreign legion funded by 70 million euros garnered by selling Italian midfielfder Sandro Tonali to Newcastle. Half back Tijani Rejinders from Netherlands club AZ Alkmaar was prominent among those joining the Rossoneri, adding to the list of Dutch-players at the club. If his predecessors are anything to go by, Reijnders could have a great time in Northern Italy in his slot replacing the legendary Tonali in the midfield.
Also Noah Okafor and Samuel Chukwueze from RB Salzburg and Villarreal respectively were signed up by Milan as much-needed reinforcements for the Milan frontline of strikers. Chelsea-midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek also signed for the Rossoneri, and we’re not even there yet.
Finally, two Americans put pen to paper at Casa Milan: Valencia’s Yunus Musah and Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic. The latter might be the biggest name to have joined Milan this summer reputation-wise. Both Luka Romero and Marco Sportiello already joined the Rossoneri at the start of the summer.
A large part of these transfers was funded by the lucrative transfer sale of Tonali. The 23-year-old Italian midfielder was destined for greatness at Milan and many of the Milanisti loved him dearly. This, however, did not stop the club from selling Tonali to Newcastle for a staggering 70 million euros. That wasn’t the first blow the Milan tifosi got this summer. Directors Paolo Maldini and Frederic Massara were fired by the club and a revolution started in full force.
So, even though the summer started off with some major drama, Milan have managed to surprise both friends and rivals with the way they reinvested the money earned by Tonali’s move. So much so, that some have even put them ahead of Napoli as potential Champions of the upcoming Serie A season. While that might be a bridge too far, it shows that selling Tonali wasn’t Milan throwing the towel in the ring, they simply saw the opportunity to re-invest the money wisely, commentators say.
Milan’s reshuffle of the pack came off the back of a disappointing 2022/23 Serie A campaign. The Rossoneri, Scudetto-winners in 2021/22, defended their title without a lot of success -- ending up in fourth place. That was just enough to qualify for the UEFA Champions League. However, if Juventus wouldn’t have been hit by a points deduction for match fixing, Milan would have been denied a Champions League spot.
Their season was saved by an exciting run in last year’s edition of the Champions League. Milan reached the semi-finals of the tournament, beating English giants Tottenham Hotspur (1-0) and the now almost unbeatable Napoli (2-1), amongst others. The Rossoneri stranded in the semis against city rivals Inter (0-3). Unfortunately for Milan, they weren’t able to make the final and get a chance to win the biggest club tournament for a dazzling eighth time.
Now, Milan have strengthened their squad for the upcoming season, and the new acquisitions are evidently slotting into the team comfortably. Milan faced fellow Serie A team Monza in the Trofeo Silvio Berlusconi. Reijnders, Loftus-Cheek and Pulisic all started the friendly game, with the latter even finding the net. The game went to a 1-1 draw, with Milan taking home the trophy after a penalty shoot out.
Whether Milan can really challenge for the Scudetto in the upcoming season remains to be seen.
What is certain, however, is that they’ve had the best transfer window out of any of the top teams in the league.
It’s up to coach Stefano Pioli and his men to put that into results. The first hurdle will be playing Bologna on Aug. 21.
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