AC Milan find missing muscle with Adriano, Bertolacci, Bacca buys
AC Milan’s summer spending has reached around £40m before new head coach Sinisa Mihajlovic is even officially presented to the media and partisan public of the Lombardy city on July 3rd.
Shakhtar Donetsk and Brazil frontman Luiz Adriano’s San Siro arrival swiftly followed that of Sevilla and Colombia counterpart Carlos Bacca.
While the latter is the big money buy at a reported €30m, Samba Boys striker Adriano is a more modest capture at around €7m-€8m.
— AC Milan (@acmilan) July 2, 2015
This fee reflects that 28-year-old Adriano was out of contract at Shakhtar this coming winter, and the Ukrainian outfit were keen to recoup some money now rather than lose him for nothing later.
Splashing out on double Europa League winner Bacca, also 28, is major business, but he’s never played Champions League football unlike his soon-to-be strike partner.
Only household names Lionel Messi, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo netted more times in Europe’s elite club competition in 2014/15 than Adriano. Admittedly, his continental campaign was heavily skewed by eight goals against Belorussian whipping boys BATE Borisov during the group stage (relive below), but his highly consistent displays in Donetsk led to international recognition.
In each of the last six seasons, Adriano has scored 15 across all competitions or better, and on three occasions he broke the 20-goal barrier. Purchasing two proven poachers, although from foreign leagues, means the Rossoneri are finally making a serious statement of intent to stop their domestic decline.
Current Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri steered Milan to the Scudetto four years ago, but what followed was the sale of big names like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva. The Rossoneri fell behind the Old Lady, reaching a modern day nadir when they recorded their lowest Serie A finish since that infamous mid-90s slump (1996-98).
Instead of relying on mercurial maverick Mario Balotelli, who has flopped spectacularly at Liverpool since living the San Siro for the second time, and a desperate winter window loan deal for Roma’s Mattia Destro up front, attacking options are now plentiful in the red half of Milan.
Leading marksman Jeremy Menez was a bright light during a dismal campaign for the Rossoneri this past season, showing flexibility across the frontline. Long-term loan signing Alessio Cerci and wildcard talent Stephan El Shaarawy are the other wide options open to Mihajlovic.
Japan ace Keisuke Honda is also on the books, but at present it’s difficult to see where he fits into the new manager’s plans.
Mihajlovic and the Milan hierarchy are also in the process of effecting a midfield makeover, brilliantly begun by a €20m swoop for box-to-box player Andrea Bertolacci, who caught the eye at Genoa.
Dutch hatchet man Nigel de Jong’s new Rossoneri deal also shows ambition, with Champions League clubs thought to have been keen on his experience. Former Portsmouth and Sunderland player Sulley Muntari, plus compatriot and fellow Premier League alumnus Michael Essien, meanwhile, have both been moved on.
If prime talents Adriano and Bacca bed in and replicate their success in Italy, then a 16/1 price with Coral for Milan to reign in Serie A again and experience a real renaissance is well worth taking.